“Hi, Speed.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

Apple Keynotes are now coming thick and fast, and this is the big one, the iPhone Keynote, but what should we expect to see?

iPhone 12

4 Models

The iPhone lineup is set to grow from 3 to 4 models this year, with 2 iPhone and 2 iPhone Pro models. The iPhone Pro’s will retain its stainless steel rim edging, and an extra camera when compared to the non pro models.

Industrial Design

The iPhone lineup is set to gain the flat edge design of the iPad Pro and the more recently updated iPad Air. Ironically this design takes cues from the iPhone 5, which was released 8 years ago in 2012. This flat edge design will enable Apple to squeeze in a larger display into the same sized device, and when accompanied with a smaller notch will have a noticeable albeit small increase in screen real estate.

Touch ID

Last month the iPad Air was introduced with a Touch ID sensor integrated into its Top button, allowing the iPad Air to have the edge to edge display without incurring the cost of integrating Face ID sensors. On the iPhone Touch ID will added as a secondary biometric authentication option to compliment Face ID, which is super useful now we are all wearing face coverings. Unfortunately with the long lead times of iPhones, this is not a given but something that would of been worth delaying the iPhone for!

ProMotion

Apple introduced ProMotion, Apple’s marketing term for a high refresh display, on the iPad Pro 2 years ago. This not only gave the iPad Pro better scrolling performance, but also to improve the experience when using the Apple Pencil.

Last year’s iPhones failed to get ProMotion as the technology wasn’t ready for the iPhone Pro’s OLED display (the iPad Pro’s display is still LCD). This year the iPhone is set to miss out on ProMotion simply due to a lack of components, which will now doubt be the biggest let down of this years models if the rumours hold true.

5G

This years iPhone lineup is set to integrate 5G antennas, but as with the rollout of any wireless technologies the iPhone 5G antennas will include only a subset of the 5G bands. Due to 5G still being rolled out, this feels more like a checkbox exercise rather than an iPhone with excellent 5G support for the next few years.

LiDAR

The iPhone 12 Pro lineup is set to gain the LiDAR sensor that was added to the iPad Pro earlier this year. LiDAR is obviously another building block in their AR strategy, but as a major focus of every iPhone update is the camera, expect to see the LiDAR integrated to Apple’s image processing pipeline for effects such as portrait mode.

HomePod mini

The reception to the HomePod has been mixed. It is a fantastic speaker, with an average smart assistant, at a hefty price. Amazon with its every expanded Alexa product line up is the current king of the smart assistants, and Sonos with its wealthy of integration and home theatre companion devices, means that the HomePod has a pretty niche audience of Apple fanatics and privacy focused consumers.

Apple are hoping to widen their market with a lower cost HomePod mini retailing at $99. The HomePod mini is set to feature the same smart assistance functionality as its larger sibling, but with a reduced amount of tweeters and therefore loosing a bit of its punch when it comes to sound and volume.

Apple Silicon Mac

During the WWDC Keynote, it was announced that the first Apple Silicon Mac would be available this year, with the full transition completing within 2 years. The unveiling of the first Apple Silicon Mac is significant enough that it doesn’t make sense to share the limelight and media coverage with the iPhone. I would expect Apple to do an unprecedented third Keynote in 3 months, and unveil the first Apple Silicon Mac in November.

macOS Big Sur

macOS 10.16 Big Sur was announced at WWDC back in June, and although we are not expecting to see any new Macs at this event, we are expecting to see macOS Big Sur to get its release day announced for sometime this month.

“Time flies.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

It’s September which means it is time for an Apple Keynote! Unlike every Apple September Keynote since 2012, this Keynote is not expected to see any iPhones unveiled at it, but there still should still be a lot to see.

Apple Watch

Apple is set to unveil the Apple Watch Series 6, which will maintain the 40mm and 44mm designs introduced with the Series 4, and the always on display introduced in the Series 5. The Series 6 is set to gain a blood oxygen sensor, leaning into both the health and fitness aspects that have made the Apple Watch so popular, and unlike the Series 5 it is also set to get a small albeit minor speed boost.

In addition to the Series 6, Apple is also set to unveil a low cost Apple Watch model, which is currently being occupied by the Series 3 in the lineup. Although the new low cost model will use the internals of the Series 4, it will get a bit of rebranded akin to the iPhone SE, so it isn’t considered the old watch in the lineup.

iPad Air

The iPad Air is set to get a redesign to match the iPad Pro’s thinner squared off bezels and curved display. Unlike iPad Pro, the iPad Air is not set to get Face ID support, instead offering Touch ID through the sleep/wake button. This revision to Touch ID will more than likely make its way across to this iPhone’s this year, which will be particularly beneficial with us all wearing Face Masks at the moment.

In addition to the chassis and screen update, the iPad Air is also set to make the switch to USB-C, reiterating that the iPad is a viable platform to get work done on.

Apple One

Now that a lot of people’s free year of Apple TV+ is coming to an end next month, Apple is set to announce an Apple Subscription bundle consisting of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News and Apple Arcade for one monthly fee. Naturally you would expect that the bundle comes with a discount in addition to the convince of one monthly bill, but I would still expect Apple One to be around $25 per month but we can hope for less!

iOS 14

Although there are no new iPhones being unveiled at this event, watchOS 7 which will ship pre installed on Apple Watch Series 6 will require iOS 14. This means for the first time ever we will see a major version of iOS released without a new iPhone (give or take a couple of days anyway). I would expect iOS 14 to get its release date announced for next week, without any additional functionality from what we have already seen in the betas.

Apple Tags

Apple’s UWB and Bluetooth emitting tags have been a rumour for over a year now, but it looks like we are finally going to see them get unveiled. Competitors to the Apple Tag are priced in the $20 - $35 range, so one would imagine that Apple will sell a 3 pack for $99.

WWDC 2020 Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

The Mac’s Transition to ARM

It has been 15 years since Steve Jobs announced Apple’s last major processor transition, taking the Mac away from PowerPC to Intel’s x86 processors, and the arguments this time round are pretty much the same as then. Intel’s x86 processors, like the PowerPC processors of 15 years have stagnated, the performance increases for the last 5 years have been mediocre to say the least, and the efficiency, or as Steve Job’s reiterated throughout his presentation, Performance Per Watt, also isn’t improving. Meanwhile Apple’s A Series ARM based chips found in their iOS hardware has gone from strength to strength, so in addition to Performance Per Watt Apple will also gain control of its own destiny, which we know Apple will love.

Unlike the last transition the majority of apps compiled on Mac’s are for ARM already, that is apps compiled for iOS. I expect the transition to be painless for all apps written in high level languages, the bigger question is around apps that have a lot of low level or legacy code. macOS (or Mac OS as it was then) 10.4 & 10.5 featured Rosetta, which dynamically translated PowerPC instructions into Intel, and with Intel processors being so much faster than the existing PowerPC processors they replaced, it went pretty much unnoticed, so hopefully Apple has something similar up their sleeves this time.

The extra Performance per Watt could result in faster, lighter and cheaper Mac’s, but something tells me they won’t be focusing on the later!

Last time around the transition from PowerPC to Intel took around 13 months from when it was announced. I expect it to take a bit longer this time, with the consumer line switching to ARM in a similar timeframe.

iMac Redesign

The iMac got a 5K Display 5 years ago, a slightly slimmer design 7 years ago, but in reality it has looked the same with its Unibody enclosure for 10 years now.

The iMac is set to finally get a design overhaul, loosing the majority of its bezel and chin, and be transformed to a design resembling an iPad Pro held up on the existing iMac stand. Despite the imminent switch to ARM, this is set to be an Intel based machine with an upgraded CPU and faster RAM, but more significantly dropping the Fusion Drive in favour of a SSD as standard across the line.

iOS and iPadOS 14

The most significant changes are set to be in Messages, with improvements to group chaps allowing you to see when multiple people are typing, the ability to mark conversations as read, and a resurrection of the /me command which was a favourite of IM apps in the naughties.

With the iPadOS going out on its own last year, I would expect to see it continue to gain some additional features compared to iOS, with the Home screen set to get a major overhaul.

In addition to this, this year might be the one that Apple allows third party apps to be set as the default ones for email, web browsing and the calendar.

macOS 10.16

Information about macOS 10.6 has few and far between, but one of them is Messages from iOS coming over to macOS using Catalyst. Although this might spell the end for features such as built in screen sharing to another Mac, it will bring feature parity for display effects, Animoji etc, which for the majority of use cases is more significant.

watchOS 7

The majority of watchOS’s functionality usually comes along with a new generation of the Apple Watch itself, with rumours this year that will be blood oxygen monitoring and sleep tracking. That being said, it might be possible that Apple unlocks the sleep tracking capabilities in watchOS 7.

Implementing the Service Locator Pattern using a Property Wrapper in Swift 5.1

The Services Problem

In every app there is typically a few instances of types (what we will now refer to as a service) that you want to access throughout the app, such as an APIClient or NSPersistentContainer.

If you were developing a small app, you might decide to pass these services around as you navigate through the app.

Either through initialisers:

let detailViewController = DetailViewController(apiClient: apiClient, persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer)

Or lazily using properties (especially when dealing with UIViewController subclasses):

let detailViewController = DetailViewController()
detailViewController.apiClient = apiClient
persistentContainer.persistentContainer = persistentContainer

While this works fine, it gets a bit cumbersome when you need to add a new service, such as analytics, as it means you need to add it everywhere throughout your app. Moreover intermediate objects end up referencing services they don’t even care about, just because another object further on in the app might take use of it.

Another approach will be to make these types singletons. The major problem with singletons is testability, as you have to reference a concrete type and not a protocol, which makes it impossible to swap them out for mocking during tests.

How I solved this previously was to pass around a container with all of my services, note that I am referring to my APIClient by the API protocol that it implements:

struct Container {
    var apiClient: API
    var persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer
}

I then pass this around my app, preferably through initializers but sometimes as a property:

let detailViewController = DetailViewController(container: Container)

This avoids the problem when adding a new services and also reduces amount of boiler plate code, but its still not super elegant.

Property Wrappers

When property wrappers were announced, I thought would it be nice if I could just refer to my service using one, such as:

class DetailViewController: UIViewController {
    @Service var apiClient: API
    @Service var persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer
}

But how do we get there?

Service Locator Pattern

I have looked at a lot of dependency injection implementations in Swift and in other languages, but often found them to be over-engineered, but I concluded at this point I was essentially looking to implement the service locator pattern.

From Wikipedia

The service locator pattern is a design pattern or anti-pattern used in software development to encapsulate the processes involved in obtaining a service with a strong abstraction layer. This pattern uses a central registry known as the “service locator”, which on request returns the information necessary to perform a certain task.

API Design

I am going to keep the API design discussion limited to the interface, but you can grab the implementation at the end of the article.

We are going to start off with a ServiceRegistry to register our services with:

var registry: ServiceRegistry = ServiceRegistry()

We can register a service using an instance of a given type:

registry.register(apiClient)

So the service locator can work well with testing and mocking, we also want to be able register a service but refer to it via a protocol that it implements:

registry.register(apiClient as: API.self)

And you can register a service but resolve it later:

registry.register {
    return APIClient()
}

And you can also support referring to the lazily created service by a protocol that it implements, by specifying the protocol as the return type:

registry.register { () -> API in
    return APIClient()
}

This means we end up with a public API for the Service Registry of:

public struct ServiceRegistry {
    public mutating func register<Service>(_ service: Service)
    public mutating func register<Service>(_ service: Service, as serviceType: Service.Type)
    public mutating func register<Service>(_ block: @escaping (() -> Service))
}

Once we have registered our services with our registry we then want to create our service locator:

let locator = ServiceLocator(registry: registry)

We then want the locator (via generics) to return the service back:

var apiClient: API = locator.make()
var persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer = locator.make()

This means we end up with a public API for the Service Locator of:

public struct ServiceLocator {    
    public let registry: ServiceRegistry
    public init(registry: ServiceRegistry)
    public func make<Service>(_ serviceType: Service.Type) throws -> Service
}

Now we have this setup we want to make our property wrapper.

The logical first step in creating a property wrapper would be to pass in a ServiceLocator:

class DetailViewController: UIViewController {
    @Service(locator: serviceLocator) var apiClient: API
    @Service(locator: serviceLocator) var persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer
}

This isn’t very DRY, and also how do we get the service locator there?

To clean this up we are going to add the concept of a shared Service Locator, which we can set on app launch:

ServiceLocator.shared = locator

This will give us global access to our services

We will then use a property wrapper to make this nice an clean.

This means to access a service we can no just use @Service in front of a variable and let are property wrapper and service locator do the work:

class DetailViewController: UIViewController {
    @Service var apiClient: API
    @Service var persistentContainer: NSPersistentContainer
}

This means we end up with a public API for the Property Wrapper of:

@propertyWrapper
public struct Service<ServiceType> {
    public let locator: ServiceLocator

    public var wrappedValue: ServiceType {
        return try! locator.make(ServiceType.self)
    }

    public init(locator: ServiceLocator) {
        self.locator = locator
    }

    public init() {
        self.locator = ServiceLocator.shared
    }
}

Implementation

The implementation is less than 100 lines of code. The only extra implementation detail is my internal ServiceFactory to handle all of resolution approaches. An improvement would be to add a cache to the service locator, so that services only had to be resolved once, but that would of made this example overly complex.

public struct ServiceRegistry {
    public enum Error: Swift.Error {
        case notRegistered(Any.Type)
    }

    private struct ServiceFactory<Service> {
        let block: (() -> Service)

        init(block: @escaping (() -> Service)) {
            self.block = block
        }

        func make() -> Service {
            return block()
        }
    }

    private var factories: [Any] = []

    public init() {

    }

    public init(registry: ServiceRegistry) {
        self.factories = registry.factories
    }

    public mutating func register<Service>(_ service: Service) {
        register(service, as: type(of: service))
    }

    public mutating func register<Service>(_ service: Service, as serviceType: Service.Type) {
        let factory = ServiceFactory { () -> Service in
            return service
        }

        factories.append(factory)
    }

    public mutating func register<Service>(_ block: @escaping (() -> Service)) {
        let factory = ServiceFactory(block: block)
        factories.append(factory)
    }

    internal func make<Service>(_ serviceType: Service.Type) throws -> Service {
        if let factory = factories.first(where: {($0 is ServiceFactory<Service>)}) {
            let service = (factory as! ServiceFactory<Service>).make()
            return service
        }

        throw Error.notRegistered(Service.self)
    }
}

public struct ServiceLocator {
    public static var shared: ServiceLocator = ServiceLocator()

    public let registry: ServiceRegistry

    public init() {
        let registry = ServiceRegistry()
        self.init(registry: registry)
    }

    public init(registry: ServiceRegistry) {
        self.registry = registry
    }

    public func make<Service>(_ serviceType: Service.Type) throws -> Service {
        let service = try registry.make(Service.self)
        return service
    }
}

@propertyWrapper
public struct Service<ServiceType> {
    public let locator: ServiceLocator

    public var wrappedValue: ServiceType {
        return try! locator.make(ServiceType.self)
    }

    public init(locator: ServiceLocator) {
        self.locator = locator
    }

    public init() {
        self.locator = ServiceLocator.shared
    }
}

“By innovation only.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

The summer has flown by, so that means only one thing. The iPhone Keynote, but what should be expect to see?

iPhone

This year we are set to get 3 iPhone Models to replace the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Unlike previous years, all of the models will be refereed to as the iPhone 11, with the later 2 models being suffixed with Pro.

The iPhone 11, the upgrade to the iPhone XR, will continue to feature the same LCD Liquid Retina Display that it debuted with last year, but it will gain an additional wide angle camera for the equivalent configuration of lasts years iPhone XS and XS Max

The iPhone 11 Pro, the successor to the iPhone XS and XS Max is also set to gain an additional camera in the form of an ultra wide angle camera, meaning that they will both feature a 3 camera configuration. The hope of the 3 camera configuration is that the iPhone will be able capture better low light pictures, and hire quality videos.

In terms of other hardware improvements, the iPhone is set to get Bi-Lateral inductive charging, which will allow you to charge your AirPods directly from your iPhone.

Another major hardware change is the subtle removal of 3D Touch, thus making Haptic Touch the universal way to access contextual content across iOS. I have mixed feelings about this as I actually like and use 3D Touch regularly, but I guess Apple have the numbers to back up removing this feature from this years iPhones.

iOS

iOS 13…. 13.1? The iOS 13 Betas have been a rough ride for developers and beta users this year. From a developer’s perspective the major headline features of Combine and Swift UI, have been subject too numerous revisions and changes form Beta to Beta. In fairness this is the right call for Apple to make, as will have to live with these changes for years to come. The more worrying issues where related to some more foundational features such as iCloud, which has caused data loss for a lot ofusers and resulted in feature changes such as shared folders being bumped from the last betas.

I would expect Apple to start accepting iOS and iPadOS app submissions compiled against the iOS 13 SDK,right after the Keynote, with iOS 13.0 rolling out to customers next week.

In addition to iOS 13, I would expect to see iOS 13.1 too also be announced for release at the end of the month. This will include some of the removed features, such as HomeKit triggered shortcuts reinstated. The iCloud changes? Let’s not mention those.

macOS

iOS isn’t the only update getting released this month, with this years annual update to macOS, Catalina, also set to be given a release date at this event. The highlight of this macOS release is Catalyst, the technology that allows iOS apps to be brought to the Mac. Expect to see a lot of good and not so good iOS apps to make their way over to the Mac in the next few months, and I would expect to see these demoed at the keynote.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5 is set to get unveiled, with the major change be the inclusion of ceramic and titanium models. Logically these would be Edition Ranges, something that is currently not in the Series 4 line up, but with this in mid I would expect them to be priced in the £1300 to £1500 range.

AppleTV+

AppleTV+ got unveiled earlier in year alongside the Apple Card and Apple News+, but unlike those AppleTV+ has been released yet, in fact we don’t even know the price. With the world’s tech media taking a keen interest in the iPhone unveiling its seems logical that Apple would take the opportunity to show off its latest subscription service. Will we see some more content? More than likely. Will we find out the price? Im less sure.

Apple Arcade

At WWDC in June Apple Announced another subscription service, Apple Arcade, and like AppleTV+ we are yet to find out a price. Unlike AppleTV+ I am expecting to find out the the price, more than likely $4.99 a month, and will be released along side iOS 13 (or maybe 13.1) this month. The most interesting is what content Apple have managed to acquire for its subscription service, as Apple requires mobile exclusively for all games on Apple Arcade, its is mostly going to be completely new content.

Apple Tag

Although there are rumours of a redesigned MacBook Pro, boasting a 16” display, and even AR Glasses being imminently announced, I think the most likely completely new product to be announced at this event is Apple Tag. Apple Tags are set to be UWD Bluetooth devices that can be attached to items, which periodically broadcast their existence to all iPhone, so that they can be found using the Find My app. Not revolutionary but useful nevertheless.

WWDC 2019 Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

This year’s WWDC looks like it is going to be a big one, and rather surprisingly a big one for the Mac, but what should we expect to see…

macOS 10.5

Marzipan

The major theme of WWDC this year is set to be project Marzipan, which will allow iOS, or more specifically iPad apps, to be recompiled to run natively on macOS.

Apple announced Marzipan, or rather UIKit on the Mac, at WWDC last year, and they have been using it to develop the Home, Reminders, Voice Memo, Stocks and News apps in macOS 10.14.

Logically more of Apple’s own apps make the jump this year, with Reminders and Books being the most obvious candidates. The most interesting side effect of iOS apps coming back to the Mac, will be the start of breaking up iTunes into individual apps, with the Podcast app being the first.

For third party developers I expect it to be as simple as checking a checkbox in Xcode, but for an app to feel truly at home on the Mac, developers will need to add Mac specific touches such as Menu Bar and Touch Bar support. In addition to this, developers will also need to update their app to support this years latest iOS features, in additions to features they may have been neglecting in the past such as Keyboard Shortcuts and Drag and Drop.

Sidecar

Handover support is going to be extend to handing over entire windows between Mac and the iPad, allowing the iPad to essentially act as an extra display for the Mac.

Screen time

Last year Apple introduced Screen Time to iOS, so it would seem natural to bring this over to macOS this year. It would be useful if Apple allowed app developers to break down app usage further e.g. on a per document basis.

iOS 13

Dark Mode

The introduction of Marzipan leads to the logical conclusion that iOS 13 will see the introduction of Dark Mode, using the same implementation as macOS 10.14 has been using for the past year.

Multiple Windows

In addition to Dark Mode, iOS is also set to get support for multiple windows, which allow you to have multiple documents open in split view. macOS introduced automatic Tab support in macOS 10.3 (based on coalescing windows), so it would be to see this carried over to iOS, as tabs are often more suitable than using split view for quickly switching between documents.

tvOS 13

Apple Arcade

It’s going to be bumper year for Apple’s 2 primary platforms, but with Apple Arcade coming later this year it makes perfect sense for Apple to let developers know how they can get involved and who to talk to during WWDC.

watchOS 6

Workouts

Supporting additional workout types seems like a logical addition to watchOS 6, but it is possible for this to come alongside new hardware later in the year.

App Store

Apple Watch apps are set to go independent this year. Until now Apple Watch apps have to be bundle in with their iOS counterpart, but in watchOS 6 they will be available to download, and more importantly buy, directly from the watch.

Mac Pro

With the MacBook Pro receiving an update last week, probably to avoid any comments about the lack of a updated keyboard, it still leaves us with the possibility of the unveiling of the new Mac Pro and Cinema Display.

I would expect the Mac Pro to be unveiled at WWDC, and although an ARM transition for the Mac is on the horizon, I would expect this to be an Intel Machine, and the last one to move to ARM at that. The Mac Pro won’t be cheap, I expect the base price to be $2999 and to be available by the end of the year.

“Its show time.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

Apple’s first keynote of the year is set to be a bit out of the ordinary. Following on from a week of numerous hardware refreshes, it has cleared the way for a keynote that focus solely on services rather than hardware or software, but what exactly should we expect to see get announced?

Apple TV

No not that Apple TV! This is a subscription service akin to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, and will probably actually just be called Apple Video. Apple have been signing up talent and commission shows for over a year now, and is set to launch its own media streaming service this year. The service will obviously be available on Apple hardware, but also on numerous other TVs via AirPlay … I wouldn’t even be surprised to see an Android app!

This keynote is set to feature numerous celebrities and creators talking about their upcoming shows, the question is wether Apple have signed up enough existing content to make the service attractive at launch. More than likely it will launch in US only later this summer for $9.99 per month.

Apple Magazines

Apple is set to unveil a new subscription service in Apple News, which will allow subscribers to view context that normally resides behind a paywall. The major question is how many of the big players will be in on the deal, with the rumoured 50/50 split between publications and Apple, publications would need a lot of page views to make up the numbers. Apple has lots of magazines signed up curtesy of its acquisitions of texture last year, but signing up the major newspaper will represent a more trickier challenge to Apple. This is set to roll out imminently for $9.99 per month.

Apple Games

This one isn’t as nailed on as the other 2 services, but Apple has been rumoured to be releasing a gaming subscription service … the caveat being that the partnering games will give up all their content for free without in app purchases. Unlike the recently announced Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud, the games themselves won’t be streamed, it’s just the free games and content that’s included in the subscription. The release of Mario Kart for mobile was recently delayed, so we can all hope it’s included in this services. I would expect this to roll out with an iOS 12 update this summer for $9.99 a month.

Apple Prime

OK, let’s be serious, this is the probably the only thing it won’t be called, but with all these subscriptions in addition to Apple Music, and indeed iCloud, it would make sense for Apple to bundle all or some these services together. I could imagine getting the magazine subscription for free if you subscribe to Apple Music and Video, but that sounds a bit too generous for Apple!

Apple Card

What if the card in your Apple Pay wallet, was an actual digital representation of your Apple Credit Card? Well this is one of the rumours doing the rounds, and Apple have been doing a trial with Goldman Sachs to make it happen. I think we haven’t heard enough about this for it to be imminent, but if I get cash back on Apple products and services then I’m in!

“There’s more in the making.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

Apple’s fourth and most likely final Keynote of 2018, was announced with over 370 different variations of the invite, but what different things should we expect to see announced at the Keynote itself…

iPad Pro

The iPad Pro is set to receive the most significant update to the iPad lineup to date, with an “Edge to Edge” Liquid Retina display akin to the iPhone XR that was released last week. This means that the iPad Pro will continue to lack 3D Touch support, but will be able to maintain the ProMotion display which didn’t make it across to Apple’s OLED screens found in the iPhone X and XS.

The iPad Pro will also gain Face ID, but unlike the iPhone it will work in both portrait and Landscape orientations. Moreover the iPad Pro will not be gaining a notch to accommodate the sensors, and will simply incorporate it into the rim that will be present the whole way round the device.

The iPad Pro is set to get an update to both of its connectors, with the lightning port rumoured to make way for a USB-C port, which will give it enough bandwidth to connect to 4K external displays. The “Smart Connector”, or shall we say Keyboard Connector, is set to move to the back of the iPad, allowing peripherals … keyboards to click on magnetically.

Apple Pencil 2

Alongside the third revision of the iPad Pro lineup, we are set to see the second revision of the Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil will auto pair with the iPad like the Logitech Crayon, and more interestingly gain gesture support for additional functionality. The Apple Pencil will also move to USB-C so it cab be charged directly from the iPad Pro.

MacBook

The MacBook is set to get a spec bump to the Intels 8th Generation Chipset, but nothing overly exciting.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air was the defacto Mac for a number of years. It was slim, fast and for a Mac, inexpensive. Since then times have changed (unlike the MacBook Air itself) , and with its Non Retina display and huge bezel it has started to show its age.

The MacBook (Air?) that is set to be announced at the Keynote, has been developed to occupy the magical $999 price point that the MacBook Air currently hovers around. Expect to see a device a lot like the 13” MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, just with slightly slower internals, rather than a super slim device as that is already covered by the MacBook.

Mac mini

The Mac mini was originally announced at Macworld 2005 with the slogan BYODKM: Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse. The Mac mini was designed as low cost $499 entry level Mac, to encourage switchers from Windows. Now the Mac mini isn’t a machine for switchers, its the small headless Mac, that people use for variety of things such as running a Media server, a CI Build Machine etc, so expect the update to reflect this, with a higher base price and powerful build to order options.

iMac

The iMac is also set to receive a spec bump to the latest CPUs, which also means an increase of cores at the high end. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it incorporate a T Chip similar to the one introduced in iMac Pro unveiled last year, as Apple slowly migrate all of their Mac’s over to this new security architecture.

AirPower

It has to ship sometime doesn’t it? With it featuring in the iPhone XS manual you have to assume it is still being worked on, so what better time to release it than just before the holidays.

“Gather round.” – Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

Apple’s third Keynote of the year is set to focus around the iPhone and Apple Watch lineups, but what changes should we expect to see?

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

Although everything but the names have already been leaked, we are due to see a spec bump to the iPhone X introduced last year, in addition to a larger 6.5 inch model. In the tradition of iPhone “S” cycles, most of the improvements are internal. The iPhone XS is due to have a faster processor, more RAM, and improved rear cameras. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus will also be available in a new Gold Band colour option, in addition to the Silver and Space Grey options currently available.

Below the iPhone XS in the lineup we are also set to see then introduction of the iPhone 9, which will feature a 6.1 inch LCD display and the now iconic notch. In addition to the lack of the OLED display, the iPhone 9 is also going to lack the ability to charge wirelessly and only have a single rear camera.

The combination of a cheaper price but bigger screen, tends to lend the iPhone to more emerging markets rather than simply adding choice to the lineup. This would be made even more clear if it ships with Dual SIM support as rumoured earlier in the year.

If the this year’s iPhone follows the typical release pattern, expect preorders to start on Friday, with delivery starting the following Friday.

Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch wi see its first screen size change since it was first introduced back in 2015, while maintaining a similar, albeit slightly slimmer form fact when compared to the current Series 3 models. The the 42mm model is set to have its resolution increased from 312x390 to 384x480, giving the Apple Watch an edge to edge display allowing it to display more content and in particular complications on Watch faces. Due to the similar form factor, all of the existing watch bands will remain compatible. The Apple Watch Series 4 will feature a gold stainless steel option to match the newly available colour on the iPhone XS.

AirPower

Announced at last year’s iPhone announcement, AirPower is set be made available alongside this year’s iPhones, alongside the updated AirPod wireless changing case.

iPad Pro

The new rounded screen iPad Pro is set to be unveiled, with Touch ID being replaced by Face ID. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad Pros bezel will mean that it doesn’t have to gain a notch to accommodate Face ID meaning it won’t be restricted a single orientation.

iOS 12

iOS 12 was original shown at WWDC in June, this event will see a recap of iOS 12 headline features in conjunction with some App demos. Expect it to be available for download on Wednesday the 19th of September.

Mac

I am personally expecting to see major updates to the Mac line up this year, but I’m not sure it will make it into this event. The iMac, iMac Pro and MacBook are all due an annual spec bump, but the more interesting Mac’s are the Mac mini and MacBook Air.

Mac mini

The Mac mini, which hasn’t been updated since 2014, is set to be updated to cater for a wider range of customers. It will move away from being the “cheap” Mac and become the small Mac. Expect it to lose the Superdrive but gain Quad and Six Core Options.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is a still a popular machine, predominately due to its price, and because it doesn’t require you to purchase a set of dongles to use all of your old peripherals. I expect Apple to rename the current MacBook to the MacBook Air (as it is the slim and light model after all), and rename the 13” inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar to the MacBook, possibly ditching its P3 display along the way.

WWDC 2018 Keynote Thoughts and Predictions

Following on from Apple’s educational event in March, WWDC is now upon us, but what should we expect to see announced at the event this year?

iOS

A yearly update to iOS is a given at this point, with iOS 12 focusing on stability, reliability and performance.

ARKit already had an update to version 1.5 mid OS cycle in iOS 11.3, so I would expect ARKit to hit version 2.0 at WWDC, with support for object permanence and multi devices.

SiriKit is also set to get some additional domains, but less be honest it needs more of an overhaul than an update

Apple are also set to open up NFC on iOS, which will enable functionality such as using an iPhone or Apple Watch to open NFC door locks in offices and hotels.

Google announced a range of features under “Digital Wellbeing” banner at IO, in regards to curbing smart phone addiction, and it makes sense for Apple to follow suit, even if it is just to limit time spent in apps via using parental controls.

Notifications are in desperate need of an overhaul as they can easily become overwhelming, I would like to see additional controls for filtering notifications and having them automatically group into threads.

Animoji … remember them? I would expect Apple to add some more Animoji’s and add support for them in realtime using FaceTime.

tvOS

tvOS will also get an update, but I think it will just be coming along for the ride feature wise with iOS.

watchOS

watchOS will continue to gain more features in the health and fitness area, such as additional workouts and data tracking.

Always on watch faces sounds like an obvious candidate but I imagine Apple will tie this with a hardware revision.

audioOS

The HomePod has to get smarter, it is as simple as that. Support for more Siri domains is an obvious improvement, but I would like to see support for multiple users this year too, and with stereo support shipping this week that is the next obvious feature to tick off the list.

macOS

As with iOS, macOS is also going to receive its annual update at WWDC, again with a focus on stability, reliability and performance. Unlike iOS, macOS has had a number of security issues during last year, so even if it is not alluded too during the keynote, you could imagine security has also got some attention internally in the last 12 months.

Initial the rumours pointed to a unified UI library between iOS and macOS, code named project “marzipan”, but the rumour mill has thrown cold water on this happening this year.

When it does arrive it will be interesting if it is just a native shim around the iOS Simulator, with additional support for Trackpad/Mouse and the Menu Bar. Another approach would be to release UXKit which Apple use internally for Photos on macOS, to give AppKit UI classes the same API as their UIKit Counterparts. The third approach, and the least likely to see this year is to create a new UI Framework, that not only unifies iOS and macOS (possibly watchOS too) but behaves better with Swift’s type safety and optional handling.

The annual rumoured dark mode is also an obvious candidate to see the light of day this year, along with bringing Apple News back to the Mac.

iPad Pro

Now that the entire iPad lineup supports the Apple Pencil, Apple will want to increase the differentiation between the iPad Pro and iPad lines.

The iPad Pro is set to get its regular performance bump, in addition to a smaller bezel and Face ID. The bigger question is if the iPad Pro will bed updated at WWDC or along side the iPhone in September.

I would also like to see a bigger 15 inch iPad Pro, but I won’t hold my breath on that one!

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is set to receive a processor update, that will see a 6 core option in the 15 inch model and 4 core processor option in the 13 inch model. In addition to this one would hope that the MacBook Pro’s keyboard receives an update that solves its reliability issues that seem to be becoming more and more prevalent.

AirPower

I personally thought this was coming app the last event, but surely at WWDC Apple will announce the price and availability of AirPower alongside the compatible AirPods case.

 
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