Excerpts from the lists we’ve seen. More as they come in.
Chris Valazco, Engadget: Apple’s grand convocation of geeks. Curiously enough, the rumor mill has been churning more quietly than usual. It’s tough to say whether Apple is doing a better job keeping its juicy WWDC details under wraps or if this is just a low-key keynote compared to previous years.
Jordan Kahn, 9to5 Mac: Siri. Siri will almost certainly be a highlight of the event. We reported earlier this year that the company was planning a debut for Siri on Mac as a flagship feature for version 10.12, the next major OS release for Macs expected to get an unveiling at WWDC as usual. And a later report detailed Apple’s plans for a new SDK for Siri as it reportedly develops dedicated hardware for the voice assistant that would compete with Amazon’s Echo device and the recently unveiled Google Home platform.
Ben Thompson, Stratechery: iMessage for Android. I’ve long considered iMessage one of the most valuable services of the world, but contra many commentators who say that Apple is undervalued because iMessage isn’t accounted for in the stock price, I would contend that iMessage is accounted for: specifically, the value from iMessage is a part of the value of the iPhone franchise. It is a reason to own an iPhone, and one of the biggest things that makes it hard to leave. To take it cross-platform would both open up big new opportunities even as it weakens Apple’s most valuable franchise. It very well may be a bet worth taking — that the iPhone will hold onto users all on its own, without the iMessage lockin, and that Apple can build iMessage into a meaningful platform — but make no mistake, it’s a bet.
Yoni Heisler, BGR: Amazon Echo competitor. Even though WWDC will have a decidedly software-focus, as is normally the case, The Information last month reported that Apple has been working on a standalone device designed to compete with the Amazon Echo and the recently announced Google Home. With a number of new Siri announcements on the agenda, there’s a small chance, however slight, that we might see Apple introduce a new piece of AI-powered hardware next week.
Curtis Silver, Forbes: Rumors and rumbling. Steve Jobs’ hologram will make a special appearance (due to Apple fanboys continued disapproval of Tim Cook’s overall demeanor and inability to pull off a turtleneck) to make the watchOS, tvOS, OS and iOS announcements during the WWDC Keynote. [/s]
Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge: Siri, iOS 10, Apple Music, and what else to expect. Apple Car: Oh come on. Give it a few years.
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray: An Appetizer for Fall. We believe the main news out of this years WWDC will be around opening up Siri for deeper voice control in iOS and updates to Apple Pay (either at WWDC or in the fall) with more incremental updates to iOS, OS X, WatchOS, and tvOS. Overall, we view WWDC as a warm up to more meaningful announcements in the fall including iPhone 7 and an updated Apple Watch.
Jan Dawson, Techpinions: Make Siri and Spotlight a major focus in the iOS segment. There’s been a strong narrative recently of Apple falling behind in AI and Apple needs to come out strongly and demonstrate why it isn’t true. That means showing off better performance, both in terms of voice recognition and natural language processing, but also in the range of things Siri can do.
Dan Moran, Six Colors: Siri on the Mac is an obvious addition, and it’s been rumored for a while now. I’d love to see Siri tie in with the Mac’s existing automation infrastructure—including Automator—so that I can use voice control to perform complex tasks on my Mac. If Siri on the Mac is a black box that can’t be extended by the richness and power of the Mac platform, what’s the point?
Mark Gurman, Jay and Farhad Show. Send money using iMessage. I heard that iMessage is going to be a big part of what’s to be announced. A very big part. Rumors that you will be able to send money to people, between people, through iMessage via ApplePay. So it’s basically Venmo on steroids. Again, these are whispers that I’ve heard. Nobody report this.
Oscar Raymundo, Macworld: Apple Music divorced from iTunes. Rumor has it that Apple Music is getting a major redesign to be announced at WWDC. Its Connect feature will reportedly be downgraded, the album art will get bigger, and the app will opt for a black-and-white interface. But Apple Music’s biggest issue is its complicated relationship with iTunes. So instead, we think iOS 10 should divorce the streaming service from the bloated desktop app.
Zak Hall, 9to5Mac: Give Siri a voice! Apple Watch has a speaker and VoiceOver shows how this could work. I imagine most people would leave it off by default or want to control it with the mute alerts toggle. Siri gaining a voice on Apple Watch would only enhance the hands-free, eyes-free experience and be a step closer to the ideal scenario of having an always-listening virtual assistant.
Steven Troughton-Smith, 9to5Mac. Drag & drop on iOS. It seems like an obvious thing to add, on the surface, but when you think it through there are a lot of ways it could be detrimental to the OS. Finding a way to enable drag & drop without screwing over all the existing gestures in the OS, whilst still making it faster than copy/paste – that’s not as easy as you think. Despite that, I do think it’s worth figuring out, and makes so much sense on a touchscreen with its direct manipulation model.
Staff, Vokal. Split screen of the same app, twice. iOS 9 allows you to run two apps side-by-side, but not one app next to itself. This probably doesn’t make sense in most scenarios, but imagine writing an email in one half of the screen while referencing another email thread in the other half. Or, two Messages windows side by side to easily chat with multiple people simultaneously.
Susie Ochs, Macworld: Overhauled apps. Each iteration of OS X has brought an extra layer of polish to Apple’s big apps, like Safari, Mail, Messages, Maps, and Calendar. This year, MacRumors predicts that Photos will get upgrades (which is good, because questions about how Photos and iCloud Photo Library continue to flood the Mac 911 inbox every week). And iTunes should get yet another coat of lipstick—maybe Siri support will make Apple Music easier to use. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Michael Simon, Macworld. Improvements to services like iCloud and Apple Music. Last year’s confusing and unfocused Apple Music introduction set the unfortunate tone for its launch. In short, the Apple Music experience didn’t improve on any of the streaming services that were already available, and in some cases made it worse.