WWDC 2016 pre­view

Lewis Painter reveals what we’re ex­pect­ing at WWDC 2016

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

WWDC, or the World­wide De­vel­op­ers’ Con­fer­ence, is a high­light of Ap­ple’s yearly cal­en­dar. Due to run from 13 to 17 June, the an­nual get-to­gether for the com­pany’s soft­ware part­ners (not to men­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the world’s me­dia) al­ways sees Ap­ple un­veil a range of new prod­ucts. This year we’re ex­pect­ing the lat­est ver­sions of its op­er­at­ing sys­tems, up­dates to Siri and Ap­ple Mu­sic, and po­ten­tially new lap­tops.

Ap­ple Mu­sic

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, one of Ap­ple’s fo­cuses at WWDC 2016 will be its mu­sic-stream­ing ser­vice, Ap­ple Mu­sic, which launched at WWDC 2015 and has re­ceived mixed re­views ever since.

As we ap­proach its first an­niver­sary, most an­a­lysts would agree it has been a qual­i­fied suc­cess. Ap­ple has es­tab­lished a solid sub­scriber base, pass­ing 10 mil­lion pay­ing users ear­lier this year, and its small but grow­ing Ser­vices rev­enue, the non­itemised sec­tion of its earn­ings that in­cludes Ap­ple Mu­sic as well as the App Store and other paid-for soft­ware prod­ucts, was one of the few high­lights of its Q2 2016 re­port. Yet com­plaints re­main about the ser­vice’s in­ter­face and some­times sketchy in­te­gra­tion with users’ per­sonal mu­sic li­braries, and Spo­tify con­tin­ues to pros­per and grow.

Bloomberg, cit­ing “peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the prod­uct who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the plans aren’t pub­lic”, pre­dicts that WWDC 2016 will see Ap­ple un­veil an up­dated and more in­tu­itive user in­ter­face for Ap­ple Mu­sic, and an­nounce plans to im­prove in­te­gra­tion be­tween the com­pany’s stream­ing and down­load busi­nesses.

9to5Mac, a re­li­able source of pre-re­lease Ap­ple leaks, of­fers more de­tail about the up­dated ver­sion of Ap­ple Mu­sic. The cur­rent in­ter­face is vis­ually busy, with translu­cency ef­fects and a colour scheme that changes to match the al­bum art­work. The new in­ter­face will re­tain the art­work – in­deed, this will be given ‘huge’ promi­nence, in a look that a source calls “bolder, yet sim­pler” – but the rest of the in­ter­face will be graph­i­cally stripped back and re­main black and white re­gard­less of the al­bum. Menu text will be

larger and bolder, in a style that is re­port­edly more ap­pro­pri­ate to Ap­ple’s San Fran­cisco font, which it­self will be rolled out to a wider ar­ray of ser­vices and prod­ucts this sum­mer.

There will be new fea­tures, too: 3D Touch short­cuts; au­to­mat­i­cally in­te­grated lyrics; and the New tab will be re­placed by a bet­ter-or­gan­ised sec­tion called Browse.


Ap­ple’s WWDC 2016 an­nounce­ment has con­vinced us that Siri is about to get a big up­date. Ask­ing it “When is WWDC?” re­sulted in the an­swer be­low.

The in­vite it­self is themed around the Swift cod­ing lan­guage used in iOS apps (see page 4), and ref­er­ences pop­u­lar apps in­clud­ing Snapchat, Tin­der, Crossy Road, In­sta­gram and more, so there’s not much to be gar­nered there as it is a de­vel­op­ers con­fer­ence af­ter all.

But it does make us think that Siri and third-party apps are about to get a lot more friendly. Siri could be about to open up to de­vel­op­ers, who’ll be able to in­te­grate the voice as­sis­tant into their apps for iOS and watchOS to take things to the next level.

Siri could also be on its way to Mac if ru­mours are to be be­lieved. (See page 10 for fur­ther de­tails.)

iOS 10

Ap­ple his­tor­i­cally an­nounces the next gen­er­a­tion of iOS soft­ware at its WWDC events in June, and this year doesn’t look to be any dif­fer­ent, although some ru­mours sug­gest oth­er­wise.

Our col­leagues at Mac­world US, for ex­am­ple, be­lieve that iOS 9 is the first in a new iOS life cy­cle at Ap­ple, with the com­pany con­cen­trat­ing on more im­por­tant ‘point’ up­dates rather than a com­pletely new ver­sion of iOS. iOS 9.3 is a good ex­am­ple of this – iOS 9.3 came with a num­ber of new fea­tures in­clud­ing Night Shift mode (see page 61), which many be­lieve is more of a ‘flag­ship’ soft­ware fea­ture that should be an­nounced with a com­pletely new iOS up­date. iOS 9.3 also went through a rig­or­ous pub­lic beta test­ing pe­riod too, some­thing (gen­er­ally) ex­clu­sive to new it­er­a­tions of Ap­ple’s mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

How­ever, if they aren’t cor­rect (sorry guys) then what could we see from iOS 10? One key fea­ture of the soft­ware, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent ru­mours, is that users will fi­nally have the op­tion to hide un­wanted pre­in­stalled apps. That means you can wave good­bye to de­fault apps such as Stocks and Com­pass, two apps that we can hon­estly say we’ve never used on our iPhones. Other sig­nif­i­cant soft­ware ru­mours in­clude iCloud Voice­mail where Siri han­dles all un­wanted calls, and pos­si­bly some kind of ‘Con­tact avail­abil­ity sta­tus’ where your phone will tell you if your con­tact is avail­able to speak at that time.

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