What Can iOS App Developers Expect at This Year’s WWDC?

June 1, 2017 - 5 minutes read

This year’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off next week, and as always, iOS app developers are buzzing about what will be unveiled this year. Lately it seems that Apple has been taking a drubbing in the press for falling into a post-Jobs innovation slump, so the pressure is on this year to stir up excitement over all things Apple. So what is expected to drop at this year’s WWDC? Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the rumor mill:

iOS 11

Since the conference focuses on software over hardware, we most likely won’t get to see the iPhone 7 or that 10-year anniversary phone at WWDC. But we might get an idea of their capabilities from what is revealed about iOS 11. Many iOS app developers are expecting a beefed-up Siri, a dark mode for the display, more emphasis on the zany new video app Clips, and updates to iMessage, FaceTime, and Apple Pay. The latest MacOS update is also almost guaranteed to turn up, most likely equipped with more features from iOS than ever before.

New laptops, computers, and tablets

If industry gossip is to be believed, the MacBook lineup may be getting an upgrade at this year’s WWDC. The latest MacBook Pros sold very well, but have generally been considered a letdown. Apple may redeem itself at the conference with a new MacBook Pro — and infuriate a lot of people who just dropped a pretty penny on the most recent inferior model. The relatively affordable MacBook Air hasn’t been refreshed; a new model would be very exciting for the cash-strapped Apple fan.

The company has confirmed that new desktop iMacs are on the way in 2017, but it’s unclear whether or not they will make an appearance at WWDC. iOS app developers are crossing their fingers that a new Mac Pro will be announced, especially now that Apple has admitted that its latest model was a colossal disappointment.

We’ll also be on the lookout for new iPads, including a new iPad Pro, a line that also hasn’t been refreshed since 2015.

A Home for Siri?

One of the pieces of hardware industry observers are hoping to see at this year’s WWDC is a Siri speaker for smart homes. After the enthusiastic response Amazon’s new Echo Show received last month, it feels downright necessary for Apple to get in on the smart home device competition. They have been testing prototypes for a voice assistant speaker since last year — will they have one ready for the conference?

WatchOS 4

Wearables are almost always linked to health and wellness, and this year many Apple experts are anticipating new healthcare functions for the Apple Watch. Tim Cook has recently spoken about Apple’s efforts to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor for the Watch for diabetics, but most iPhone app developers expect that that feature might not be ready in time for WWDC. We’re more likely to see sleep-tracking incorporated into the device, especially after Apple’s recent acquisition of Beddit. It would also be great if the company finally revealed its watch face store.

Apple TV

A tvOS update should be announced, likely with support for Apple’s direct competition Amazon Video. After Hulu and YouTube have announced cable-like packages in recent months, many are wondering if Apple will do the same. We also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a new 4K Apple TV.

Apple Park and the environment

One thing that is surely a lock at WWDC is that Apple will be talking a lot about its sustainability efforts and its impressive new campus. Apple is one of the tech giants that has stood up to the Trump administration’s outright hostility to efforts to curb climate change; expect the company to continue seize the moment to remind the world that its fighting the good fight.

If San Francisco iOS app developers know anything about WWDC, it’s that there are no guarantees. Apple is going to want to surprise us this year — and we love surprises.

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