Apple WWDC Rumor Round-Up and Predictions

This post is re-blogged from Jack Freeman’s personal blog. Opinions reflected here are his own.

As usual, several Apple rumors are circulating around WWDC this year. Since I’ll be attending the conference for MailDeck, I figured I’d do a quick rundown of some of the most prominent rumors and whether or not I think they are true.

iOS 8 – Definitely

I think there is no question as to whether or not iOS 8 will be revealed at WWDC. Compared to inventing new product lines or attempting to create societal paradigm shifts, updating software is fairly easy. Also it’s software; it always gets updated.

Now that people are done freaking out about how different iOS 7 is from 6, Apple can focus on finishing it the way they intended. iOS 8 probably won’t differ too much from 7 and should probably be called iOS 7.5 instead, but that’s not very exciting and doesn’t help share prices. Not to mention this will allow Apple to get away from the animosity created by 7. People don’t like change and 7 was buggy. Apple wants us all to forget 7 and move on to 7.5…. er I mean 8.

iWatch  – Not yet

This is a tough one. iWatch has been rumored for quite some time, and it is probably in the works. It is believed that Apple has trademarked the name in several countries using a potential shell corporation known as Brightflash. Apple even openly trademarked the name in Russia and Japan. So we know Apple is at least somewhat interested in a potential iWatch. Lastly it fits well with another Apple rumor: Healthbook (see below). Healthbook is probably real as well, but for the purpose of aiding the iWatch rumor, it makes perfect sense to have a wearable device that records vitals and activity to populate Healthbook. If Healthbook exists, iWatch will and vice versa.

Reports indicate that the iWatch will not be revealed at WWDC. I have to agree. Apple hasn’t revealed a new product line since the iPad in 2010, so even though I think they should reveal the iWatch, chances are they will announce it later this year instead. Rumors indicate that the device is already in production but will really ramp up in Q3, so I think it is too early to reveal this product. That said, I’m not sure how they can reveal Healthbook without the iWatch.

Healthbook – Likely

Healthbook seems very likely to be revealed at WWDC in conjunction with iOS 8. I’m not sure how Apple is going to pitch this without revealing the iWatch, but maybe they will hint at future wearables. It’s also possible that they are looking to create a market for companies to create products that interface with Healthbook.

Passbook was a technology that was revealed by Apple before companies had the infrastructure to support it. Apple gave companies the technology first and then companies decided to implement it to provide their customers with an easier way of managing tickets. Before companies were on board its value proposition was limited (though some could argue it still is). I could see Apple attempting the same thing with Healthbook. It may not be too useful at first, but products will emerge whether they are made by Apple or not. Also, the iPhone can already report some limited health statistics. It can be used as a pedometer for example (how exciting!!!).

iPhone 6 – Definitely

An iPhone 6 is very likely to be revealed…. since 6 comes after 5. In all seriousness though, there have been some leaks from manufacturing plants and I’ve even heard a few rumors myself from some connected people. Also it would fall in line with Apple’s history of announcing new phones now and releasing them in September or October.

A bigger question is the larger display. Based on the manufacturing leaks, and the obvious demand, it is very likely the iPhone 6 will feature a larger screen. This sucks for developers like myself as it creates yet another variance to have to design, code, and test. That said, having a larger screen does sound quite nice. Apple has put a lot of work into their Autolayout feature of the iOS SDK, which allows developers to handle resizing and layout of components more easily. It makes sense Apple would be willing to change the screen size, especially since developers had to accommodate for the same thing when the iPhone 5 was released.

The iPhone 6 is also rumored to have rounded edges on the display.

Apple TV – Not Yet

It doesn’t look like Apple will be announcing a new Apple TV at WWDC based on reports. Expect to see a new Apple TV announced in Q3 instead. My hope would be that Apple eventually opens up the Apple TV SDK to developers so we can really leverage the possibilities of connected televisions, phones, and tablets.

NFC – Never

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is frequently used for payments between devices. I’m going against the reports and popular opinion on this topic. I’m very skeptical Apple is going to include an NFC chip in the new iPhone 6. Apple just announced iBeacon, wouldn’t it make sense for them to leverage their own technology instead? NFC might be the standard for payments currently, but Bluetooth LE could accomplish the task. Apple also seems to dislike NFC quite a bit, with their head of Marketing Phil Schiller saying NFC is “not the solution to any current problem” in 2012. Maybe a lot has changed since 2012, but I don’t think we will see NFC in the new iPhone.

 Smart Home Tech – Likely

This rumor popped up fairly last minute, but seems to be confirmed. The idea is that Apple will license their technology to companies in order for their appliances to work with iOS devices. This makes sense for Apple since they are a hardware company after all. Also I believe a smart home is in the future, and apparently so do Apple’s competitors like Google who recently acquired smart home company Nest.

Remember these are only my predications based on rumors, so in less than a week we will see how both myself and the rumor mill faired.

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