It is May, the hedgerows are full of green and the weather is finally beginning to warm up; it is a great time of year. For a devote technology enthusiast such as myself it is even better because you know that in June Apple will hold it’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference; WWDC.
It is no surprise that I am a huge fan of Apple products, in fact I was an Apple user long before it was cool to be one, I just wish I had made the switch earlier and experienced the older operating systems and machines that I now convert. One day I will find myself a Lisa or SEII.
WWDC was setup by Apple as a means of promoting developers and software houses to get on board with the Apple infrastructure. It became the place that Apple would unveil the next raft of technologies and concepts for the coming year and giving developers a insight on what to expect in the coming months. Over time, as developing became more main stream the event has moved towards the public eye with more and more media coverage, so much so that now it is becoming the place where new hardware and software releases are being picked up general news channels.
For me, it is a week where I can get a feel for what to expect in the coming year and details of all the new tools available to developers.
So what can we expect?
First off there is no doubt going to be a taster of the next operating system for the mobile devices, if history serves us well then it will be called iOS9. The desktop machines should get a new os too, although naming should stick with OSX10.11 the switch to geographical names could be interesting; can I hear ‘San Fransico’?
More to watch
Of course the Apple Watch landed this month and so expect a lot of watch based development. Currently watch development is limited to just displaying screens from a connected iPhone app, can we expect a software development kit that allows installation of native apps?
Research and fitness
One of the most notable releases from Apple recently in my eyes is Research Kit, an open source platform for monitoring health. Couple this with the new fitness tracking provided by the Apple Watch and I think we see a future developing. Activity trackers and fitness trends have been on the increase and whilst it might appear that Apple was late to the party news has broken that they have secretly been working on a total health and fitness program for many years.
My feelings are that we will see a complete eco system to track health, but opening this up to external sources could lead this into a platform that can be utilised by health professionals, which can only be a good thing for improving peoples health and well being.
Swift a year on
Back into the true geeky stuff!
Last year saw the release of Swift, a completely brand new programming language; no one leaked that one! It will be interesting to see where this goes one year on. No doubt iOS9 and OSX will be moving closer to Swift and there should be updates to the core language.
It has already had a lot of development in twelve months for such a new languages, can we hold this momentum and encourage more seasoned developers to move away from Objective-C into the new hotness.
Music to my ears
It has long been discussed about Apple’s place within the music industry. The iTunes store was the turning point for digital music distribution but since then the streaming method has taken over with Spotify leading the way. Last year Apple purchased Beats, whilst that does give them some nice big headphones it also provided a music streaming platform.
Could we see a re-branding of iTunes Radio and Beats Music?
WWDC has long been the place for new hardware announcements. The iPhone and iPad normally get their own events but the Moscone Centre has long been the place to find out about the next big hardware investment.
The new Mac Pro was announced back in 2013, so could we see some refinements here?
The Mac laptop lineup got a new machine with the MacBook back in March so there could be feature trickle down to other models. Of course many developers will be longing to see Phil Schiller stand in front of an updated Apple Display but given the lack of updates I’m not too sure we will see it, keep on using your ‘other’ brand displays for the time being.
Finally my one big wishes for this years WWDC is an update to the AppleTV. Back in 2007 when it was introduced it was claimed to be a ‘hobby’ and nothing more. This made sense as at the time content delivery was not possible with the current internet speeds and infrastructure.
Since then we have fibre connections and services such as Netflix have given us access to a raft of media, without even mentioning the content you already have in place withins Apple’s walled garden. Yet the AppleTV has remained a faceless puck sitting next to your TV that only gets new channels and updates when Apple feels like it. Why not revamp the hardware, give it one of their own processors and a bit of flash memory, top it off with an app sdk and we have a content delivery network.
Finally I could get the iPlayer app running on the device without a clunky AirPlay work around!