Bryan O'Malley
“…and if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.”

WWDC 2015 Predictions

We're only a week away from WWDC, so it's time to speculate on what we'll see:

Apple Watch – This one is a no-brainer.  Expect the Apple Watch to be the star of WWDC 2015.  We already know that Apple will announce a native SDK for the watch, so expect to see a parade of featured partners showing off their native apps.  I suspect we'll see a few new watch band announced during the keynote, and perhaps even a couple more Disney themed watch faces as well (Minnie?  Donald?).

Apple TV – Rumors about a new TVKit exploded across the blogosphere a few weeks back, so I expect that it will be one of the big announcements at WWDC.  Hopefully this will mean full-blown native TV apps and not just WebKit shells that just grab content from out on the Internet. What I would really like to see is Apple make a major commitment to this platform, including:

  • A comprehensive offering for cable-cutters.  Something that addresses local news, live sports, all of the popular network shows and maybe even gives equal footing to new-media offerings like popular YouTube channels and video podcasts.
  • Gaming.  Apple has systematically put themselves in position to take on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (remember them?) in the console battle.  They've got robust development tools (Xcode), a distribution platform (the App Store), gaming frameworks (SpriteKit, SceneKit and Metal), hardware controller support (GameController Framework), a match-making service (Game Center) and tons of developers.  All they really need is access to your television and headset support.
  • New hardware.  Imagine a new box with an A8 processor and a half terabyte disc.  It's got the app store, all your favorite movie, tv and streaming content, and a ton of games from all the big name publishers.  Sound compelling?  Well here's how it could get better – Bluetooth game controllers.  Maybe not bundled with the box itself, but $30 or $40 extras.  Now you can play games with your iPhone as the controller if you wish – giving you all the touch and swipe gestures you're already used to – or you can have the joystick and shoulder button gaming experience that hard-core gamers demand.  That's an offering that I think millions of people would love.

Beats Music – Not exactly sure what to expect here, but probably something like a Spotify clone with Apple / Beats branding.  This is Apple hedging its bet.  You want to buy music?  We've got you covered. You just want to stream it?  We've got that too.

HomeKit – I wouldn't be shocked if this one drops out of the keynote, but it's been a year since it was originally announced without much in the way of progress.  It could be as simple as a bunch of partners showing off their gadgets with HomeKit support, or maybe there's a hardware hub that ties everything together.  It might even be the new Apple TV box – further adding to it's utility.

iOS 9 – This prediction is about a risky as saying that the sun will rise tomorrow.  I'm sure there will be one or two snazzy new features to keep us talking, but mostly I expect a few visual flourishes and a lot of bug fixes and performance improvements.

OS 10.11 – Second verse, same as the first.  As with iOS 9 I suspect this will be a lot of tweaks and adjustments (WiFi anyone?), but nothing too Earth-shattering in terms of features.  Just keep the motor running. What don't expect I to see?

iPad Pro – This is an intuition thing, but I just don't see a larger iPad being released yet.  The Apple Watch is the bell of the ball right now.  I suspect that Apple will want to let it breathe a bit before introducing another new portable device.  If anything, they may do another hint but don't reveal move like they did with new iPhone sizes last year – reveal iOS features that would be useful in a huge new iPad (side-by-side apps?), but not actually show off the physical hardware yet.

So there you go, my predictions for WWDC 2015.  Feel free to bookmark this page and tell me how foolish I was once the announcements have been made next week.  Regardless, it should be a lot of fun to watch!

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