Mobile Tech Talk

WWDC-2017: what to expect – a developer perspective

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference is scheduled for the week of June 5, 2017. While the event garners global interest every year, it feels extra special this year as it marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.

I still remember the day when Steve Jobs unveiled first iPhone back in Jan 09, 2007. ‘Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along and that changes everything’ was his introductory words. It is not an exaggeration to say that the iPhone (and iOS by extension) did change our world for good.

As developers, we keenly look forward to every WWDC. At this year’s event, the announcements aimed at the developer community are likely to focus on the next version of iOS, some new hardware announcements and if news reports are to be believed a hint of the next big thing.

The next operating systems

To start off, expect to see a preview of the next major update for iOS – the iOS 11. Possible updates to iOS are:

  • Dark theme: according to rumours, Apple is going to release iPhone 8 with OLED display which would encompass higher contrast ratio, less power consumption and more vivid colours. In this context, Apple may introduce Dark theme and possible APIs to accommodate app changes.
  • Major updates to Siri: As this the era of Artificial Intelligence is, competitors like Google and Amazon seem to be way ahead of Siri in terms of ‘staying in the context’ when the user interacts with the phone. We could possibly see a vastly improved version Siri this year, involving the addition of machine learning and artificial intelligence so as to better anticipate user’s demands.
  • In-built Social app: Couple of months ago rumor sites reported that Apple could release a standalone social networking app. By the looks of the image uploaded by Apple for WWDC, one can speculate that Apple might be releasing a Social App, with developer APIs. It may not be a surprise if Apple incorporates many features of Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook in an ‘all-in-one’ app. They could do this by streamlining many of the video features with one-hand control and possibly make video capturing very simple and elegant.

Aside from iOS 11, Apple can be expected to announce macOS 10.13 and the next versions of tVOS and watchOS.

New hardware

We could see a sneak peak of iPhone 8 in the WWDC Keynote. iPhone 8 may incorporate following features:

  • New set of sensors like Iris scanner, facial recognition for securely accessing the device.
  • All new OLED QUAD HD display.
  • An all new A11 processor with efficient and faster chip
  • Improved water resistant model.
  • A change in camera placement in the rear panels.

Apple may introduce the touch panel to MacBook Air and roll out a new version with improved processors and flash storage. Also we are expecting new versions of iMacs as it has been a while since the line was updated.

The next frontier: AI

As Steve Jobs would say, this year’s ‘one more thing’ is expected to be what is dubbed as a ‘Siri Speaker’. It is believed to be an Intelligent Personal Assistant to compete against the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Phil Schiller said in a recent interview: ‘there is a lot of talk in the industry about voice-driven assistants and we believe deeply in voice-driven assistants that’s why invest in Siri… but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations”. It is believed to be an indication of what Apple has in store. Amazon unveiled the wifi enabled Echo Show recently with a seven-inch screen. So it will be interesting to see Apple’s play in this space and the possibilities for the developer community.

So, from a developer perspective, the key announcements will be:

  • iOS 11 and new versions of macOS, tvOS and watchOS
  • Advanced Siri
  • A ‘Siri Speaker’ with a screen
  • A skill set program like Amazon Alexa, which can be coded via Swift.

All in all, it promises to be an exciting event next week.

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