You want to know what Apple is planning for its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference? What world-changing technology will be announced? What new gadget will top your letter to Santa next Christmas? Dude, chill! Remember, they just rolled out the watch, they upgraded their computers a few weeks ago, and they don’t usually refresh iPhones and iPads until the fall. So what will they do at WWDC?
The sure things: Streaming music, iOS, and OSX
Streaming music service
Apple is rumored to have a streaming music service in the works that aims to truly compete with Spotify and Pandora. Despite the existence of iTunes Radio and Apple’s acquisition of the Beats streaming music service, this is something different, and Apple reportedly hopes that this $10-a-month premium service will catapult them to the top of the streaming category. Want to know more? See our deep dive of what to expect here.
Expect this upgrade to Apple’s mobile software to involve a lot of back-end nuts and bolts, since last year’s iOS 8 rollout provided a big visual upgrade. Some changes will be security related, such as how devices connect to unknown Wi-Fi routers. And there’s a rumor that Apple is developing a new security feature, called “Rootless,” that could make iOS devices incapable of being jail-broken. They may add transit routes for Apple Maps, provide better iCloud and Apple Watch integration, and create a workable upgrade for older devices all the way back to the iPhone 4s.
Since the big-cat OS naming crisis was averted, and last year’s keynote put to rest the idea of OSX Weed, the heavily favored name for this year’s OSX upgrade is “Mojave.” Expect your traditional bug fixes, security improvements, and performance enhancements; a major visual overhaul is not expected. But font geeks take heart. A new system font is rumored to be replacing the current Helvetica Neue; the San Francisco font looks a little like Arial and is said to read better on retina displays.
Maybe: Apple Pay
The New York Times has revealed sketchy details about a rewards program that will allegedly incentivize consumers to use their phones to pay instead of using credit cards. If Apple does highlight upgrades to Apple Pay, we should also expect to hear about new partnerships with retailers and financial institutions as Apple tries to grow the service.
The wild card: Apple TV
The invitation for Apple’s WWDC shows an Apple TV device: the streaming media “hockey puck” that was last updated in January 2013. The inference was that Apple would release a refreshed device and, more important, a streaming television service on par with Netflix and Amazon. But reports from Re/Code indicate that the negotiations for content have seriously taxed even Apple’s ability to strong-arm distributors. Part of the reason for that delay is Apple’s rumored desire to include live local television in its service. Given that there are roughly 210 local TV markets and myriad owners of stations throughout those markets (the networks don’t own many of their affiliates), one can only imagine the complex negotiations afoot. Add in sports rights, and the issues become even more complicated. It does seem crazy that Apple would put the picture of a device on their invitations and then not announce anything about that device, but hey, legal stuff happens … and remember how long it took for the Beatles’ songs to end up on iTunes?
Yahoo Tech will be live-blogging WWDC’s 2015 keynote on Monday morning. Get a reminder for the event here.