Apple WWDC 2013 / Pre-Keynote

Today, in a few hours in fact, Apple's WWDC is happening. Last year I was 'there' in San Francisco and experienced the excitement surrounding that event. The event itself (going there, getting your ticket, waiting for the keynote, attending sessions and labs, meet people, etc.) deserves a own post, but what I want to talk about in this post are things that would get me excited, if Apple revealed them today.

iOS 7

Putting thoughts on visual changes aside, I am more interested in features and changes in interaction design ...

  • Cross App communication & App switching: There is room for improvement how apps can (and should) interact with eachother. Currently the only way to let two (third party) apps work with eachother is through URL-Schemes and that's cumbersome and limited. To the user it should be easier to switch between apps (that communicate with eachother), get back to where they came from, get data from one to the other and so on
  • Functional Notifications or Widgets: I am looking for a way to have the user interact with an app without having to open it. This could be achived with (what I would call) functional notifications or widgets.
  • Location tracking & mapping: There's quite some room for improvement and possible directions Apple can go. Google is, no question about it, ahead in this area and showed some neat stuff at their I/O conference. Besides the usual stuff (energy efficiency, higher precision, faster and easier tracking); I am really looking for new stuff in the area of indoor navigation and tracking.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) and Cross-Device Communication: I think NFC or a similar solution would allow for quite a few new interesting apps for consumers. Proximity relevant content presentation or interaction is something to look out for. Also, cross device communication would need some 'love'. Make it easier to have two or more devices (and secondary/companion devices) communicate and interact with each other... and if you include communication with OSX devices, I am an even happier panda! ;)
  • Improved Multi-Core & CPU/GPU processing: I think it's still not applicable enough for developers to do propper multi-core processing or use the GPU better.
  • Access to more private APIs: Having my 'CardSkid'-hat on for a moment, I'd have to say, that more access to iBooks would realy excite me, but there are other APIs I am sure the developer community would like just as much to be made available. More accessibility to Siri?!
  • Apple TV & [nano]-iOS SDKs: Give developers access to Apple TV, iPod nanos and upcoming iOS devices. There are a lot of possibilities for new apps here... not just stand-alone, but especially companion-/secondary-screen apps that work with a 'master'-app on the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

OSX

First off... I am not really a OSX developer, so the things I'd like to see are biased a bit

  • Narrow the gap between iOS- & OSX-development: There's a bit iOS-developer community out there, but only very few are also OSX developers. Myself I haven't written a OSX app yet and think I'd have quite a struggle doing it. I'd love to see that Apple narrows the gap between iOS- and OSX-development and make it easier for iOS developers to also write software for Macs.
  • Cross-Plattform Communication: I already hinted at it in the last paragraph. What I'd love to see is OSX and iOS hardware work closer together.

iOS Hardware

Not going to list dimensions, capacity or the likes here, but actual new stuff...

  • iPhone 5s: I think so... mainly boosting some specs, make it more energy efficient and have NFC (fingers crossed)
  • iPhone with lower price point: Not 'cheap', but cheaper than current iPhone. I think of it as a 'Consumer' and 'Pro' line, just like what we have on the Mac side.
  • iPad: I'd be surprised to see a retina iPad mini. I think the iPad 4 will be replaced, since it has shortcomings Apple needs to address. An additional bigger iPad for professionals (e.g. Designers, Presenters, Teachers, etc.) would be interesting, but I doubt it will be revealed today.
  • Apple TV: I think we'll get some new stuff here. The device itself might just get a performance boost, new bluetooth and maybe NFC. More interesting will be to see it's SDK be made available and maybe have some cool peripherals (or at least better integration with iOS devices).
  • Wearable iOS device: The highest bets are on getting an iWatch. I am hesitant to call it a watch, though, since the way I imagine such a device, it has much more capabilities than what we associate with a watch. However, it's probably 'the easy way to go' for Apple: "Watch? Ah, an accessory I put on my hand... and tells me time and date."
    I see it as a device that has certain stand-alone features, but reaches its true potential when it's connected to other devices such as your iPhone or Mac. The iPhone/Mac would benefit from its (hopefully included) sensors that provide more information about the wearer and his/her condition and doings. I'd call it a sidekick.
  • New radio chips: Near field communication (NFC), ...?
  • Redesign of hardware buttons & interfaces: Might not be in this hardware iteration and maybe just include certain models (e.g. iPads) at first, but I've a feeling, that Apple will revisit the available hardware buttons & maybe even interfaces. Currently we have a home-, a volume-, a power- and a mute-button; as well as a headphone jack and a lightning connector. What they'll change and when... I don't know.

Mac/OSX hardware

I'll keep this one short...

  • New MacBook Pro: Yes... although I see mainly performance boosts. New radios.
  • New MacBook Air: With Intel's announcement last week, there's a chance that we'll see (some but not all) Airs "retinafied". New radios.
  • New Mac Pro: Following the news and Cook's talks, I think there's little doubt we'll see a Mac Pro successor... although I have now idea what to expect.

All of the things I mentioned are pure speculation, but I thought it would be funny to write it down before the keynote happens and check afterwards how far off I was. It's three more hours before the keynote happens, so let's wait and see. I am excited!

Cheers,
H