In just over a week, Apple will be holding the 2018 edition of WWDC. The event has revolved around the company unveiling the latest version of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. And sometimes, Apple also ends up unveiling a new hardware at the event. With no major announcements from Apple in the first five months, the company’s fans are eagerly looking forward to the event to see what it has in store for the next version of iOS and macOS.
Thankfully, rumors and leaks have already given us a fair bit of idea as to what to expect from Apple at WWDC 2018. Some might say that leaks act spoil the whole fun of the event, but this time around, the leaks surrounding iOS 12 and the next release of macOS are relatively minor. Some of these rumors will help in keeping our expectations in check, while their lack presents Apple with an opportunity to genuinely surprise everyone with its software innovation.
WWDC 2018: What to Expect
The highlight of WWDC 2018 is without a doubt going to be the next version of iOS. iOS 11 might be less than a year old right now, but compared to the improvements that Google has unveiled as a part of Android Oreo and Android P, it feels awfully dated now. Some of the shortcomings of the OS are now more obvious than ever and its high time that Apple gets around to fixing them for good this year.
Codenamed internally as “Peace,” Apple does plan on addressing one major issue with iOS 12: stability and performance. It is no secret that newer releases of iOS are simply not as stable as the initial versions which were released during the Steve Jobs era. The newer releases have been ridden with bugs that have sometimes ended up affecting millions of iPhone users out there. With iOS 12, Apple is seemingly keeping stability and performance as its utmost priority. Apart from a far lower number of bugs, this should also mean that iOS 12 should perform the same or even better on older devices. However, in a bid to improve stability, Apple has reportedly ended up delaying many of the features that were initially a part of iOS 12 to iOS 13. This includes a redesigned Home screen for the iPhone and iPad, a new Photos app, and more. These features will now be a part of iOS 13 which should be released in 2019.
Apple is also going to improve many features which it initially debuted with iOS 11 in iOS 12. The biggest update will perhaps be to ARKit which Apple strongly pushed with the release of iOS 11. The company will also make improvements to the Health app, Do Not Disturb Mode, tighter Siri integration across the OS, and even include a revamped Stocks app as a part of the update. Apple also plans on opening up NFC on iPhones with iOS 12 thereby allowing your phone to act as a virtual transit card and hotel room keys.
iPhone X owners will be glad to know that reports point to Apple adding a new set of Animojis to iOS 12 with a new menu design that is going to be easier to navigate. Additionally, the company is also planning on adding Animoji support to FaceTime video calls. FaceTime calls are also expected to gain multi-party support, though there are rumors that this feature might be delayed until 2019.
Like Android P, Apple is also going to focus on digital wellbeing with iOS 12. For this, it is going to improve the built-in Parental Controls of iOS to provide parents with more options and ways to limit their child’s iPhone/iPad use.
iOS 12 wishlist
The highlight of iOS 12 will be its unification with macOS. Apple is seemingly working on a project codenamed “Marzipan” which would allow developers to write one app that would automatically work on iPhone, iPad, and macOS with minor changes. The company is hoping to make this change to make it easier for developers to manage multiple iOS and macOS apps whilst ensuring the same app quality across platforms. This move will also allow developers to frequently update their macOS apps which is usually neglected by most after the initial month of its release.
There are, however, contradictory rumors that Apple might not release this unification project with iOS 12 and delay it until 2019. So, its better you keep your hopes in check.
Apart from iOS 12, Apple will be heavily focusing on Siri this year. Apple might have been the first company to release a digital assistant to the public but the company’s offering is now behind its competition by a huge margin. The gap is so huge that I think if Apple does not announce some major improvements to Siri this year, it might never be able to catch up with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
While we do know (or rather expect) Apple will be announcing a smarter and powerful version of Siri at WWDC 2018, it is unclear what these improvements are going to be. Siri itself did hint at it getting a brand new voice and that it is going to get “a lot smarter” but that’s about it. There’s no detail on what these improvements are going to be. There are numerous areas where Apple needs to improve Siri including improved voice recognition, deeper integration with third-party and system apps, and more. So, let’s hope Apple gets around to doing that and announces a brand new and powerful Siri at WWDC 2018 which ends up wowing us just like the original Siri did when it was first announced.
There’s not much known about the next release of macOS 10.14. At one point in time, macOS was the staple of Apple’s software efforts but that is no longer the case. This year, we might see macOS get a native system-wide dark mode but then again, there have been rumors regarding this in the previous years as well. Like iOS 12, we should see macOS 10.14 feature tighter Siri integration along with improvements to some of the key system apps. The Mac App Store is also going to get an iOS 11-like redesign which is probably going to be the highlight of the update.
watchOS 5 and tvOS
Apple will possibly also announce a major new release of watchOS and tvOS at WWDC 2018 next week. These new releases will pack a few major features but none of them should be earth-shattering. For watchOS 5, Apple is expected to add support for third-party watch faces and improve the health tracking aspect further, while tvOS will probably gain even tighter Siri integration.
New Macs, Cheaper HomePod?!
WWDC is primarily a developer focused event from Apple but the company has used the event to unveil minor refreshed variants of its hardware. The company is expected to unveil a refreshed MacBook Pro lineup at the event this year featuring Intel’s Coffee Lake chips as suggested by the delayed shipping estimate of the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro. The upcoming refreshed MacBook Pro models are unlikely to gain any other improvements.
There’s also a rumor that Apple will unveil a cheaper $199 HomePod at WWDC 2018. An even wilder rumor claims Apple will launch this $199 HomePod under the Beats branding. The latter definitely seems unlikely, and if Apple does plan on unveiling a cheaper $199 HomePod, I’d expect the company to announce it at its September event. This is because HomePod in its current form is severely limited by Siri which should be resolved by September if Apple ends up unveiling a smarter Siri at WWDC 2018.
What are your expectations from WWDC 2018? Are you looking forward to Apple unveiling iOS 12 and a smarter and more usable Siri?
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