What Ap­ple failed to an­nounce at WWDC

Why the an­nounce­ments Ap­ple didn’t make at WWDC might be more im­por­tant than the ones it did. Michael Si­mon re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Now that the WWDC 2018 key­note has come and gone, we’ll be spend­ing the next sev­eral weeks break­ing it all down. Ap­ple had a lot to say over the course of its two-hour-plus key­note, but there were sev­eral apps, fea­tures, and prod­ucts that were con­spic­u­ously ab­sent from the main stage.

Un­like prior years in which Ap­ple ex­ec­u­tives spent lots of time talk­ing up fea­tures to death, there was

a no­table lack of filler dur­ing this year’s key­note. Ap­ple had a lot to say about its four main op­er­at­ing sys­tems – so much so, in fact, that some of iOS 12’s most in­ter­est­ing fea­tures didn’t even make the cut. But even beyond longer An­i­moji mes­sages and Aut­oFill pass­words, there were a few miss­ing an­nounce­ments that point to some­thing big on the hori­zon (and I’m not even talk­ing about MacBooks).

Ap­ple’s an­nounce­ments are cer­tainly im­por­tant to iPhones, iPads, Ap­ple Watches, and Ap­ple TVs new and old, but the things it didn’t an­nounce could make an even big­ger im­pact. Here are some of the things Ap­ple didn’t talk about dur­ing the WWDC key­note and what that means for the rest of the year: Ap­ple Mu­sic, Videos, and Home­Pod Ever since its un­veil­ing in 2015, Ap­ple Mu­sic has been a main­stay at WWDC, but Ap­ple’s stream­ing ser­vice was notably ab­sent from yes­ter­day’s key­note. At a time when Spo­tify is mak­ing a ma­jor push to leave Ap­ple Mu­sic in its dust, we ex­pected Ap­ple to de­vote at least some time to its stream­ing strat­egy, but the iOS 12 and macOS Mo­jave round-ups passed with nary a men­tion.

And Home­Pod was ba­si­cally pro­ducta non grata at WWDC. Not only did Ap­ple pass on un­veil­ing a cheaper Home­Pod – which ad­mit­tedly was a ma­jor long shot any­way – it barely men­tioned its new hi‑fi de­vice dur­ing the show. Home­Pod wasn’t even used dur­ing the demo for Siri Short­cuts, which is an iOS 12 fea­ture that has clear im­pli­ca­tions for a home speaker. And while tvOS and watchOS each got sig­nif­i­cant stage time, Ap­ple was com­pletely silent on Home­Pod’s au­dioOS.

That could mean that Ap­ple is sav­ing some new fea­tures for a stand­alone event down the road, es­pe­cially when you con­sider an­other thing Ap­ple didn’t men­tion: its video ser­vice. It’s no se­cret that Ap­ple is scoop­ing up tal­ent for a slate of TV shows due to re­lease some­time in the next year, and I’ve long thought there was a pos­si­bil­ity Ap­ple would use the WWDC spot­light to tease a lit­tle some­thing about its up­com­ing stream­ing video ser­vice. But no.

Ap­ple hasn’t held a stand­alone mu­sic event since the iPod was sup­planted by the iPhone, but this could be the year it re­turns. With Ap­ple Mu­sic, Home­Pod, and the up­com­ing video ser­vice all miss­ing from WWDC, it seems as though Ap­ple is hold­ing its cards for a big­ger an­nounce­ment down the road. And who knows, maybe we’ll even see a new iPod touch.

iPhone SE, iPads, and AirPower

The ru­mours of an up­dated iPhone SE ar­riv­ing this sum­mer have been so per­sis­tent, I was le­git­i­mately sur­prised Ap­ple didn’t use its patented One More Thing to an­nounce its ar­rival at WWDC. But it would have been out of place. This year’s key­note was so ut­terly de­void of hard­ware, Ap­ple clearly wanted the fo­cus to be strictly on soft­ware. So we’ll have to wait for a new iPhone SE and iPads Pro, as well as a prod­uct Ap­ple un­veiled nearly nine months ago, but hasn’t started sell­ing yet: the AirPower charg­ing mat.

And I think they’re all re­lated. While it’s pos­si­ble Ap­ple could wait un­til Septem­ber to roll out its new iPads – which will likely have Face ID built in – it’s more likely that Ap­ple will hold a July event to tie

up all of th­ese loose ends. That means AirPower will get a price and a re­lease date, the iPhone SE 2 will make its long‑awaited ap­pear­ance (with Qi sup­port, I reckon), and the new 10.5‑ and 12.9in iPads Pro will make their de­buts. And maybe AirPods’ wire­less charg­ing case will make an ap­pear­ance too. Does that mean the iPad Pro will be able to wire­less charge via AirPower too? Only time will tell.

Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 4

Granted, no one ex­pected to see the launch of Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 4 dur­ing the key­note, but the watchOS

5 demo might give us a pretty good idea of what the new model will bring. For one, watchOS 5 still doesn’t in­clude an app for sleep track­ing, one of Ap­ple Watch’s most glar­ing miss­ing fea­tures. It’s hard to imag­ine Ap­ple go­ing an­other full year with­out bring­ing the fea­ture to Ap­ple Watch, so my guess is that sleep track­ing will be a fea­ture of Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 4. That’s likely due to the im­pact it would have on bat­tery life in the Se­ries 3, 2, and 1 mod­els, which is a prob­lem that will be solved with a new chip and a big­ger bat­tery.

An­other thing miss­ing from watchOS 5 are new watch faces. While we got ToyS­tory, Kalei­do­scope, and Siri faces in watchOS 4, the only ‘new’ face to speak of in watchOS 5 is ex­panded ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the Siri face to in­cluded third-party cards. While that could mean Ap­ple has run out of ideas, I think it’s more of a sign that Ap­ple is sim­ply sav­ing them for the Septem­ber de­but of the new watch. And I’m will­ing to bet there will be a big­ger re­veal be­sides new car­toon char­ac­ters when Ap­ple an­nounces Watch Se­ries 4: third-party sup­port. By open­ing up the Siri face to all apps, Ap­ple is sig­nalling a will­ing­ness to let devel­op­ers have ac­cess to more than just com­pli­ca­tion short­cuts on the watch face screen.

There was no men­tion as to when AirPower will be re­leased

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