It is that time of the year again were the Apple rumour mill runs wild in anticipation of the WWDC Keynote and this year is no exception. Unlike years gone by there isn’t a lot of information to go on, so I decided to make a list of the things that I would like to see announced, and the likelihood for each of them.
We will get a release date (even if it is to the nearest month) for the next version of OS X. Mountain Lion has been in beta for a few months now and although there are a few bugs remaining, it feels like it is well on the way to release.
The iPhone 4S introduced the world to Siri and the iPad 3 featured a stripped down version that just handled dictation. I think Mountain Lion will include the dictation aspect of Siri.
I think Apple’s decision to not support true multitasking was correct to preserve battery life and performance of the active app, but there are more and more apps that need to check for data in the background e.g. Email, RSS, Offline Reading Apps. I expect there to be an API to register your app to be awoken to do such a thing at a given time interval e.g. Every hour, Every Day.
Currently apps have to communicate with each other using the rather clunky URL schemes or even the pasteboard. There are plenty of things Apple could do to improve this, such as mimicking the full blown services approach found on OS X, or simply a “Files” App so it is easy to work on a file using multiple apps.
iOS 5 included Twitter Integration so users could easily Tweet from apps without having to authenticate their account every time. iOS 5 also included Twitter Request APIs making it easy to send data to and from Twitter. I see a similar OS Level of integration for Facebook in iOS 6.
Flickr, Vimeo etc Integration
In addition to Facebook I also expect there to be support for popular Photo/Video sharing services such as Flickr and Vimeo. I wouldn’t expect a rich API for these, just a simple interface to upload and download media from the built in apps.
Home Screen Widgets
I just don’t think Apple like widgets, so I don’t expect there to be any support for them in iOS 6 on either Springboard or in the Notification Center.
It is obvious that Apple and Google are not the best of friends at the moment, and it is also clear that Apple doesn’t like to be reliant on anybody, so moving to their own Maps platform is a case of when and not if.
I expect Siri to get a few more features (maybe it will find businesses in the UK!!!), but I don’t expect it to be opened up to developers just yet.
If the Calendar app can update its icon to reflect the date why can’t the weather app update its icon to display the weather?
Apple TV SDK
The last 2 versions of the Apple TV run a variation of iOS (previously it was running a version of Mac OS X forked from 10.4), so it makes sense to unify it with the version of iOS that is on the iPhone and iPad. This will mean an API to handle events from the Apple Remote in addition to some new content APIs. Technically I don’t expect it to be too much of a challenge for developers, and it is an obvious area for Apple to move into.
Game Center Controller
If you haven’t seen Joypad (http://getjoypad.com/) before, it is a very cool idea. It turns your iPhone into a controller for iPad Games, but as Game Center is also coming to the Mac in Mountain Lion, an Apple supplied Game Center Controller App and API make a lot of sense to me.
A large number of apps make use of Push Notifications for a variety of things, but they are not without their problems (and irritations). One of the major issues with Push Notifications is that people often have more than one Apple device, meaning that you get a Push Notification for the same event on all of your devices (which is expected), but annoyingly you have to dismiss notifications on all of the devices. I expect Push Notifications to be unified and synced using iCloud.
Reminders and Notes
I think that Reminders and Notes will now sync to the web based version of iCloud.
Safari Autofill Names & Passwords Sync
The transition from MobileMe to iCloud meant we lost the ability to sync keychain items between our Macs. In Mac OS 10.8 I expect this feature to be reinstated at least for Safari Names and Passwords, logically support for this will also be present in iOS 6.
webOS Synergy like Contacts and Calendars
One of the best things about webOS was how it merged all of your contacts and calendars together from all of the different services you had signed into (e.g. a person’s email address from iCloud, profile picture from Facebook etc). Now that we have iCloud, Exchange, Facebook and Twitter integration why can’t Apple implement a similar solution?
I don’t think we will see “The New iPhone” released at WWDC, simply because if the rumours are true and the only physical change is a bigger screen I don’t think that developers will need too much time to update their apps. Moreover Apple will have to make existing apps backwards compatible anyway (maybe by placing black bars around the edges?), so this reduces the requirement for it to be unveiled at WWDC.
Even though both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro received an update in the latter half of last year, I do expect a refresh and possibly a combining of the 2 lines leaving us with a 11", 13" and 15" MacBook Air. The rumor of a retina display would make this a very appealing update.
The iMac is also due an update, but due to the size of the screen I think the inclusion of a Retina display as standard is extremely unlikely.
The Mac Pro hasn’t been updated for nearly 2 years, so many people think that it is dead. In my opinion it has become like the iPod Classic, whereby it is available to purchase if you need it (some people do), but it simply won’t ever receive a major update again. Saying this I would expect there to be one more minor update of the Mac Pro, but it will be an internals refresh rather than a complete overhaul.