WWDC starts tomorrow. Like last year, there’s an overall sense of mystery going in. We expect OS X to get redesigned, but we don’t know how far Apple will go. Last year no one guessed iOS 7 would diverge so fully from the past. Likewise, this year the argument goes that because OS X has windowed, overlapping applications, a complete change will be ugly until every app is updated to the new look. Surely, a change as drastic as iOS 7 won’t fly. Thing is, I don’t think Jony cares. And don’t call me Shirley. Are Mr. Ive and Mr. Cook going to let third party developer resentment hold them back from their “ideal” Mac OS? Nope.
Let’s get down to predictions. Here’s what I expect to be announced tomororow:
OS X 10.10
“Yosemite”: I’d like to thank Apple for going with a place we recognize and a name without an awkward non-plural ‘s’.
New interface, full-Jony: I think it’ll be drastic, on the scale of change iOS 7 was from iOS 6. Apple’s not afraid.
AirDrop to iOS: I’ve been emailing photos to myself for far too long.
Notifications from your iOS device (which was announced last year for Mavericks but never shipped)
Healthbook: I have a lot of questions about this, chiefly will it work on iPhone 5/5C?
AirDrop to OS X: I’ve been emailing photos to my- ah fuck it.
New wallpapers: why not?
Same Safari icon
Better “Open In” system for inter-app communication: I also think we might see an extension of the “photo picker” interface for more types of files.
Finally, here are the things I’m crossing my fingers for (but aren’t likely):
Swype-style keyboard: I used Swype years ago when I had an Android phone, but it is unquestionably better than poking each letter. It’s faster and more accurate. I think this kind of input is in-line with many of iOS 7’s design philosophies, and it’d be awesome if Apple copied it.
Beats Music channel: this one’s more of an expectation than a wish, but tomorrow is probably too soon.
A new box with an A7 chip and 16 GB+ storage
Bluetooth LE remote
New system software (or a beta) with iOS 7/8-style design: how hard was it to update Apple TV’s skin to match iOS 7? The fact that it hasn’t happened already leads me to believe something big is coming. One thing I’d really love is the ability to keep watching something while browsing other channels. Cable figured this out years ago.
An SDK: it’s overdue.
Some new accessory that’ll work with the Macs or iPhone I already own so I can buy new Apple products, because I’ve been in a bit of a drought since I got my iPhone 5/5S dock. Maybe an 802.11ac AirPort Express?
That’s all I got. I think there will be more, maybe something new about the Beats acquisition, and hopefully new hardware, but I really don’t know. I don’t think anybody does, and that’s great. Last year’s WWDC was the most exciting Apple keynote since January 2010. I love not knowing.
For fun, I’ll be liveblogging the keynote this year. No, I won’t be in San Francisco but I’ll be on my couch in front of my Apple TV pretending I’m in San Francisco, and really that’s almost as good. That’ll go up tomorrow a few hours before the keynote starts, so if you’re around you can tune in.
I haven’t been as excited for an Apple event as I am for tomorrow since January 26, 2010. There really haven’t been any leaks concerning tomorrow’s keynote, and that’s really awesome. It should be a surprise for all of us. At the end of it, we’ll either be really disappointed or really, really excited. I’m betting, hoping, whatever on the latter.
With my track record, you’d be forgiven for expecting a “Predictions Post”, but not this time. This time I’d like to talk about my modest hopes for the WWDC keynote tomorrow. The list that follows is ordered from top to bottom in increasing likeliness.
Any update at all to iWork and/or iLife. It’s been two years since iLife was updated and four for iWork. These are so past due, but realistically it isn’t going to happen.
Apple TV apps. While inevitable, the lack of any rumors to the sort seems to indicate it isn’t happening just yet. I’m confident the black hockey puck really is Apple’s TV strategy, but with better software. I anxiously await that software.
iTunes breakup. I’d love it if 10.9 broke up iTunes into distinct apps such as it is on iOS. A podcasts app for podcasts, a videos app for videos, and a music app for music. This is basic Unix philosophy folks, c’mon.
iBooks for Mac. If you’d have asked me at the first iPad event when I thought iBooks would come to OS X, I would have said that summer. That was three summers ago.
Maps for Mac. Say what you will about Apple’s maps, but every time I’m on my Mac and I think of something I need to find an address or search for a point of interest or get directions, I momentarily consider the Google Maps website and then immediately reach for my iPhone. The native Maps app is so much more convienent than Google Map’s website. I’d love to see Maps brought to the Mac.
Notification syncing. When a new iMessage comes in, I get notified on my phone and my Mac. When I view the new message on either device, it disappears from Notification Center on both. That’s great, so why doesn’t Facebook do it? Or Tweetbot? I’d love to see an API in iOS 7 (and 10.9, I suppose) to fix this.
While we’re on the topic of cross-device protocols, it’d be great if Apple could make it so both of my devices don’t light up for each and every iMessage that comes in. The way they could do it is pretty simple: delay the notification on non-active devices by a minute or two. Apple can tell which device I sent the last iMessage from. They should push the notification to that device first, and if I don’t clear it after a couple minutes push it to my other devices.
“iRadio”, or whatever Apple’s streaming music service is called. I really hope it integrates into the iOS music app seamlessly. If it’s a separate app, I’ll go on the record saying it’ll flop. I hope iRadio is different than Spotify or Rdio or Google Play Music All Access in some innovative way. I don’t know what that is, but the fact that it (reportedly) took Apple until a few days ago to sign with all the major labels indicated to me this isn’t your average streaming music service.
Refreshed laptops. I don’t expect much beyond Haswell chips, but hopefully that alone can deliver battery life improvements. I secretly hope for some awesome new thing1 because I’ll be purchasing a new laptop after the event, but I’m trying to be realisitic, OK?
Not flat, not skeuomorphic. I don’t like how Find My Friends or Game Center looks, and I’m looking forward to the UI refresh that’s almost a certainty in iOS 7. But please oh please do not make it flat. Flat UI’s are boring an uninspired, and one of the best things going for iOS is its character.
Leather. Books. Leather books. Begone with them. Let Calendar and Contacts have their standard UI elements back. This gawdy skeuomorphic business had a nice run, but let’s get back to elegance. That goes doubly for Game Center and Notes.
In all honesty, most of these will probably be wrong. What I’d love even more than every single one of my wishes coming true would be for Apple to unveil insanely great products I couldn’t even dream of.
I didn’t guess so well this time. I was banking on Apple going iPhone/Macs in September and iPad mini/iPods in October, so I suppose I had those mixed. You can’t win them all.
Everything Apple announced today look great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. I’m also secretly hoping iTunes 11 is more than the visual overhaul they’ve shown us thus far. This is going to be a great holiday season for Apple.