WWDC 2017 is only weeks away at this point. Apple’s annual developers conference is known for its keynotes that unveil the next major release of iOS and macOS, plus some occasional hardware goodies. This year, WWDC is shaping up to be a packed event. The rumor mill is churning out new speculations every day like butter.
It’s exciting that so much hardware and software is in the pipeline. That said, Apple has gotten better with keeping details of the event under wraps in recent years. To help you sort through which rumors are looking credible and which are a stretch, we’ve created this guide for what to expect at WWDC 2017.
It’s a given at this point that Apple will announce iOS 11, the next major release of the iPhone and iPad operating system. It’ll likely be compatible with all recent iPhones and iPads from the past four or five years.
Among some of the expected changes is a design refresh. It won’t be of iOS 7 caliber, but the updated UI in several apps should reflect the recent redesigns of the News and Music apps. Expect larger fonts, bolder text, and more clearly defined buttons.
Updates to improve Siri’s capabilities are highly expected as well. With the likes of Google Assistant and Alexa gaining more functionality while Siri gets stale, Apple will likely remedy that situation. It’s unclear just what those new features are. Leaks have indicated Apple might allow you to type to Siri and could even release a Siri Speaker similar to the Amazon Echo.
Among some of the expected changes to iOS 11 is a design refresh.
Other rumors include a Dark Mode for all of iOS (but this has been rumored in previous releases too), group FaceTime calls for up to five people, multiple user accounts on iPad, peer-to-peer payments using Apple Pay (like Venmo and Square Cash), plus more. As with iOS 10 last year, it seems Apple has kept a tight seal on the majority of features, so plenty of surprises should be in store.
The next version of macOS 10.13 is due out this summer. While there has been plenty of speculation surrounding what the new OS will feature, there haven’t been any noteworthy claims. Siri improvements do look likely since they’re expected to come to iOS. Group FaceTime is rumored for iOS and as such should hopefully extend to the Mac as well.
The rest of the “rumors” for now have just been optimism and wish lists. For years, everyone has been hoping Apple would ditch the iTunes app and split the services into separate apps like on the iPhone. It doesn’t look promising for this year though. It’d also be nice to see health integration with the Mac and especially HomeKit integration.
Just know that the lack of rumors does not indicate an unexciting release. It’s only indicative of Apple’s heightened privacy when it comes to new software announcements.
Yes, tvOS 11 is coming for third-generation Apple TVs. It’s possible we’ll see Siri improvements here too. BuzzFeed also reported with certainty that Apple will be announcing the addition of Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV. It’s likely this will be part of tvOS 11 specifically.
What else is coming in tvOS 11 remains to be seen, but it probably won’t be a huge update. Apple tends to put more focus on Mac and iOS.
Like tvOS 11, watchOS 4 will probably be a fairly small update. There is a good chance we’ll see new Watch faces and new health features, but rumors have been surrounding new hardware instead of software. Apple is apparently gearing up to launch a new Apple Watch with new bands and added sensors like a glucose monitor. Whether this will get an announcement at WWDC or later is uncertain.
iPad Pro 10.5
The most prominently rumored hardware announcement is for a totally redesigned iPad Pro. While it should have roughly the form factor of the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Apple is supposedly removing the home button for the first time and expanding the display size to 10.5 inches to fill the space. We’re still not entirely sure where Touch ID will go on the device, but it’ll either be on the back or embedded into the display somehow.
Apple is supposedly removing the home button for the first time and expanding the display size to 10.5 inches.
Aside from this redesign, expect the iPad Pro to get thinner, a faster processor, and perhaps display and sound improvements. Pricing should start at the same $599 as long as Apple doesn’t release a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro too.
Refreshed MacBook Pro
Don’t expect yet another huge redesign for the MacBook Pro. Instead, Apple will probably give it a small spec bump with Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors. This should improve speed and battery life, two areas critics have panned for the current 2016 MacBook Pros. Hopefully Apple will fix that sticky key situation too. And maybe lower the price, since the Touch Bar models start at a staggering $1,799. (Seriously, please lower the prices, Apple.)
WWDC 2017 is right around the corner. Apple’s keynote is expected for June 5, so we’ll know all the answers then. Stay tuned.