Apple WWDC 2017 preview: What to expect


Tim CookGetty

Apple’s major annual event, the Worldwide Developer Conference
(WWDC), kicks off on Monday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives will deliver a keynote in
front of thousands of developers, journalists, and Apple
employees. 

Apple holds this summit once a year to speak directly people who
make software for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and announce what new
capabilities Apple has been building into its products. 

So WWDC is usually about Apple’s software — not its new hardware.
But this year, there’s a possibility it launches a few new or
updated products, too. 

This year, WWDC will take place from June 5 to 9 in San Jose.
What’s Apple planning? Let’s break it down: 

Tim Cook’s keynote 


Tim CookReuters

Apple always kicks off WWDC by having CEO Tim Cook and his
executive team run through a high-level overview of Apple’s
announcements.

Then, during the week, paying attendees can attend workshops and
other classes with Apple employees that walk them through the new
features that were discussed at the keynote.

This year, you can expect Cook to give the audience a good idea
of how many devices Apple has in use, and other milestones Apple
has hit throughout the year.

You can also count on an awkward demo or two, a couple of dad
jokes, and a bunch of new stats.

Like most Apple events, the keynote will be streamed live on
Safari, on Apple TV devices, and on Microsoft’s Edge web browser
for Windows 10. 

iOS 11


ios 10Skye
Gould/Tech Insider

The biggest reveal for most people will be the latest version of
iOS, the software that runs on iPhones and iPads.

Apple typically reveals the changes and updates to iOS during
WWDC, distributes the beta versions of that software over the
summer, then pushes those updates to people’s phones in the fall
when the new iPhone comes out. 

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Not much about Apple’s planned software updates has been leaked,
so a lot of it could be a surprise. 

One thing we’re expecting is a slight Apple Music redesign to
focus more on original video. It’s also possible that Apple will
use this to launch two of its video projects in development, the
Shark Tank-like “Planet of the Apps” and the James Corden-spinoff
“Carpool Karaoke.”

It’s also likely that Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, will get a
lot of love. Apple will likely open Siri up to additional
developers so they can integrate their apps with Siri, in the
same way developers can build “skills” for Amazon’s Alexa
assistant.

Currently, Siri can answer questions that Apple has programmed it
to, plus a few queries from selected apps — like Uber. If you’re
an app developer and not in the few categories that work with
Siri, like messaging or payments, you can’t integrate your
software with Siri. 

Another long-rumored feature that could be debuted is a dark mode
for iOS — bits of code and assets for an iOS dark mode have
surfaced in the past, and if Apple is planning a new iPhone that
can display darker blacks this fall, then it would make sense to
introduce the feature now. 

iPads


iPad ProStephen
Lam / Getty

One recurring rumor is that Apple may launch a 10.5-inch iPad on
Monday. This iPad model was first suggested last fall by Wall
Street analysts from firms
including Barclays
and KGI Securities. 

This model has been called “revolutionary” by the analysts but
it’s still unclear how Apple will talk about the device’s
improvements and advantages over its other iPads. 

If Apple does launch an new iPad or two, expect the company to
spend some time going over how the iPad Pro can be used as a
desktop replacement, focusing on multi-tasking and
productivity. 

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MacBooks


Tim Cook macbook (smaller)Getty

Apple is preparing to update all three of its line of laptops
with new processors, Bloomberg
reported last month

These computers won’t be redesigned, but they will get a faster
chip that will help them last a little while longer before
becoming outdated. 

Expect the MacBook Pro to get a new Intel processor in the “Kaby
Lake” family, the most recent generation of Intel PC processors.
The 12-inch MacBook will also get an update, but it’s unclear
whether that will be a Kaby Lake chip. Finally, it’s possible
that the MacBook Air might get an update as well — its first in
two years. 

As for MacOS, in recent years Apple’s desktop software has taken
a backseat to iOS in terms of major new features. Since WWDC is a
developers’ conference, expect big changes and updates to Xcode,
the software everyone uses to make apps for iPhone and
iPad. 

Everything else 


apple watchos 3 updateApple

We’re expecting an action-packed WWDC so there will probably be a
lot of surprises on Monday, with new hardware chief among
them. 

But there lots of smaller bits that Apple will also spend some
time on. Apple will launch the newest version of its Apple Watch
software, WatchOS, so that will gain new capabilities. Some
possibilities include sleep tracking, or other sports activity
tracking. Expect Apple to spend a little bit of time talking
about its health software like HealthKit, too. 

Apple will also likely spend time on Apple TV, which it called
its fourth platform last year.
Reports recently
have suggested that Amazon may launch its
Prime Video app for the Apple TV at WWDC. Apple will also
likely reveal new features, such as an expansion of its TV
automation app. 

Apple could also give a look inside its new $5 billion campus,
Apple Park.

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… one more thing  


ipod hifiThe last
speaker that Apple launched, back in 2006.

The biggest question going into WWDC is whether Apple will launch
its smart speaker to take on Google and Amazon.

Bloomberg said earlier this week Apple could reveal the speaker
next week ahead of it going on sale later this year. That would
make sense, especially as an incentive for app developers to work
on their Siri integration over the summer. 

The idea behind the rumored speaker is that users could talk to
it and tell it to, say, turn on lights, or answer basic
questions. 

This speaker was described by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
in a late April note distributed to clients:

We expect Apple’s first home AI product will have excellent
acoustics performance (one woofer + seven tweeters) and computing
power (similar to iPhone 6/ 6S AP). Therefore the product is
likely to be positioned for: (i) the high-end market; (ii) better
entertainment experience; and (iii) higher price than Amazon
Echo.

We’ll see if Apple reveals the Siri Speaker on Monday. It’s
unclear right now. We’ll learn on Monday as Business Insider
covers the WWDC keynote live from San Jose. 

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