Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s going to have a lot of big news to share Monday.
The company's developer conference, known as WWDC, kicks off with a keynote at 10 a.m. PST, when we expect Apple to discuss new hardware and software.
This is the time of year when Apple typically unveils new software that will power its upcoming Macs, iPhones and iPads — but we may also get a taste of new products we've never seen before.
iOS 11 and macOS
It's almost a certain that Apple will reveal its new iOS 11 operating system ahead of its new iPhone launch later this fall. The tech giant typically unveils the fresh version of iOS during WWDC and then runs it through developer testing to around September when it pushes it out for everyone to use. Little is known about what Apple will include in iOS 11, but we're hoping to see improvements to Siri, which has started to lag behind competitors like Google Assistant and even Amazon Alexa.
Apple will also likely unveil the next version of macOS. The current version, macOS Sierra, was introduced last year when Apple officially departed from the "OS X" moniker for its operating system. Again, like iOS 11, we're not quite sure what to expect in terms of new features just yet. I hope to at least see Siri play an even deeper role in the desktop operating system, too, with more new controls that could make it easier to manage your Mac with voice.
Those two, the iOS and macOS updates, are the safest bets. Now let's talk a bit about hardware, which may or may not happen.
MacBook and MacBook Pro refreshes
Apple's MacBooks are overdue for a refresh to Intel's latest seventh-generation processors, which are already in machines from PC makers. We should see Apple update the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the thin-and-light MacBook with the new chips, Bloomberg said earlier this month.
We might even see the MacBook Air updated with the new chips, though that computer is showing its age with an old display and ports that aren't as fast as newer ones. Apple may just kill it off entirely.
Also, Apple's iMac and Mac Pro desktop computers are desperately in need of a refresh. Apple has said it'll refresh the Mac Pro, but I don't think we'll see it next week.
New 10.5-inch iPad Pro and refreshed 12.9-inch iPad Pro
Supply chain reports have long suggested Apple is working to build a 10.5-inch iPad Pro that would replace the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It's the first time Apple has ever launched a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, so we'll be curious to hear what the company's argument is for boosting the size. Apple is also expected to announce a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, replacing last year's model. Expect more powerful graphics, faster processors and maybe even redesigns where the screen takes up more space on the front of the iPad. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple talked about the Apple Pencil, too, perhaps with a refresh to a newer model.
A Siri smart speaker
The big news could be Apple's entrance into the smart home assistant market. Bloomberg said earlier this week that Apple may unveil a new smart home speaker that's powered by Siri and will compete with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Home and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Alexa. The speaker will reportedly offer surround-sound effects and better audio than the Echo or Home, which suggests it may also be more expensive. Part of me is hoping it'll sound as good as a Sonos Play:1 speaker. Unlike Google and Amazon, however, Siri doesn't really allow for ordering of goods or support for playing tunes through third-party music applications like Spotify. I'm curious to see how Apple will position this if it's locked down to the Apple ecosystem of products, like Apple Music.
tvOS, webOS, watchOS, HomeKit and HealthKit
Given the software focus of a developer conference, Apple may dive into a variety of other topics including its smart home platform HomeKit, its health platform HealthKit, tvOS for the Apple TV, watchOS for the Apple Watch and maybe a bit on Apple CarPlay. Speaking of the Apple TV, Apple has been reportedly trying to establish streaming TV deals for a while now, but I'd be surprised if anything came to fruition next week. Finally, my guess is we'll hear a bit more about original content, like Apple's first shows "Carpool Karaoke" and "Planet of the Apps."
Finally, if you're hoping for new iPhones, you'll need to wait a few more months. Apple will probably stick to its regular schedule of launching new iPhones in September.
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