WWDC 2017: What could we see from Apple this year?

Apple’s annual WWDC conference is around the corner, but what could we see revealed this year? We explore Siri, iOS 11, macOS, and more!

Apple has traditionally used its Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) to debut new software improvements in the form of either an iOS or macOS update, but news surrounding the company’s plans for 2017 have been eerily quiet.
For one, it’s generally accepted that we could well see either iOS 11 or an update to macOS Sierra this year, but news has proven to be scarce on what features either release could include.
Read: Leaked! Is this Apple’s next-generation iPhone SE?
Ahead of June 5th, what hardware or software can we expect to see? We unpack!

iOS 11: A smarter Siri

There’ve been few reports revealing what Apple has in store for iOS 11 – iOS 10 brought with it a renewed emphasis on 3D Touch and a visual overhaul, and arguably left the company lacking in the one field its competitors have advanced in – AI.
Given that Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and (heck) even Samsung’s Bixby have debuted on the world stage on various devices, Apple has yet to reveal a sizeable update to its own digital assistant, which is beginning to show some wear.
In recent weeks, we’ve heard rumours that Apple has significantly expanded its machine learning groups, hinting at the arrival of a smarter Siri. However, the arrival of this upgraded digital assistant might only be applicable to a new iPhone or a Siri-powered smart speaker (more on that later) if some rumours are to be believed.
What else could debut? It is imagined that a new version of iOS might cater specifically to support a forthcoming iPhone with hardware additions such as edge-to-edge glass, facial recognition technology, and the presence of a new dual-camera array.

macOS: What gives?

If there’s a talking point around Apple’s development of macOS, it is arguably that the company hasn’t paid as much attention to the operating system as it would have liked – the company’s officials revealed to journalists in a closed meeting that the firm was working to redouble its efforts on the Pro market after consumer dissatisfaction with the incumbent Mac Pro.
It’s worthwhile to assume that macOS will now benefit from any changes heading to Siri on either iOS or other platforms, giving those who cherish the digital assistant’s presence on the platform something to look forward to.
It remains possible that a future version of macOS might be similarly prepped for the arrival of a new Mac Pro in the future, given that Apple has hinted at a modular design with varying hardware functionality.
near bezel-less iPad

A new iPad Pro

You’ve either loved or hated the idea of Apple’s 12.9″ iPad Pro, and it would seem – according to rumours – that Apple is working to prepare a somewhat smaller model with a larger display footprint to circumvent the heft involved in travelling with the company’s premium slate.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, there is a 70% chance that Apple will use WWDC to debut a 10.5″ iPad Pro model.
According to Kuo, “The newly designed 10.5” iPad Pro will have a similar form factor to the 9.7” model, but will feature a larger display thanks to narrow bezels. The new design should improve the user experience and help gain traction in the corporate/ commercial sectors. We forecast 10.5” iPad shipments of 5.0-6.0mn units in 2017F, accounting for 15% of total 2017F iPad shipments.”
Apple’s long-rumoured 10.5″ iPad has been rumoured to sport an edge-to-edge design that might herald the arrival of a similar iPhone model later this year, and it remains to be seen if the Cupertino company will use its tablet line to give a taste of its trajectory with the iPhone.

Siri might invade our lounges

If it seems like the only sizeable improvement to arrive on both iOS and macOS is the presence of a smarter Siri, there’s good reason for it.
Rumours have suggested that Apple is preparing not only a smarter digital assistant, but further a Siri-powered smart speaker that will debut with a touchscreen attached.
The speaker – an odd departure for Apple’s strategy in the lounge, considering the presence of Siri aboard the Apple TV – will apparently be designed to compete directly with the Amazon Echo – particularly the Show model the company recently debuted.
Read: Apple is on track to become the world’s first $1 trillion USD company

Have your say!

What are your thoughts? What are you looking forward to seeing at WWDC in June? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA