OS X 10.11
Similar to iOS 9, OS X 10.11 may be a refinement release that introduces a new few new consumer features, several security features, and the typical bug fixes and stability improvements. The rumored improvements include a revamped Control Center, a new kernel-level security system called “Rootless” and the adoption of the San Francisco font.
New Apple Watch SDK
Apple released the Apple Watch earlier this year with limited third-party app support. Currently, third-party apps are tethered to the iPhone, which means that they run on the iPhone, and stream the content and user interface elements to the Apple Watch. This is the reason they take time to load. Apple is widely expected to use WWDC to introduce a new version of WatchKit, the software development kit to develop Apple Watch apps, which will allow third-party Apple Watch apps to run directly on the Apple Watch. It will also allow third-party apps to access the sensors. These improved watch apps should begin debuting this fall alongside iOS 9.
Apple Music with Beats
It is widely believed that Apple will use WWDC to unveil a new music streaming service called Apple Music. Apple reportedly developed the music streaming platform using the technology and expertise it acquired when it purchased Beats last year for $3 billion.
The service is expected to be competitively priced at $10 per month for unlimited streaming. Unlike its competitors, Apple will not include a free ad-based tier for its Music service, opting to promote its existing iTunes Radio as the free alternative. iTunes Radio also may be expanded to include more local content and additional stations hosted by DJs.
Previous rumors hinted at the unveiling of a new Apple TV and bundled TV service, but this new product is not expected to debut at WWDC. Apple reportedly shelved the announcement because the product was not ready to be demonstrated, according to people familiar with Apple’s plans. The holdup allegedly is content with Apple still in talks with TV networks and other content providers about pricing and availability of their TV shows and movies.
Apple may expand its iCloud Drive platform and bring applications such as Notes, Reminders, and Calendars into the fold. This new iCloud drive support will increase security and improve syncing between the iPad, iPhone and Mac versions of the app. It will work behind the scenes and will not affect the consumer portion of the apps.
Introduced at WWDC 2014, HomeKit is Apple’s platform for connected home devices such as thermostats, lights and more. Apple is expected to debut a new “Home” app in iOS 9 that will control compatible HomeKit devices. Ahead of WWDC, several companies already have announced the launch of their first HomeKit-enabled devices.
Still a US-only product, Apple may use WWDC to announce the expansion of the mobile payment service to additional countries, including Canada. Apple also may unveil a new rewards program for Apple Pay that will offer perks to customers who use Apple Pay during checkout.
Are you looking forward to this year’s WWDC? What would you like to see from Apple during its WWDC keynote? Let us know in the comments and join us next week for non-stop coverage of the event as it happens.