What to Look for From Apple's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-31
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What to Look for From Apple's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference
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    What to Look for From Apple's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference

    At WWDC 2016, Apple is expected to announce upgrades to iOS and OS X. But with a lot riding on this year's event, expect much more from Apple.
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    We'll Hear a Lot About iOS 10
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    We'll Hear a Lot About iOS 10

    Apple each year uses WWDC to showcase the latest update to its mobile operating system, and 2016 will be no different. This time around, Apple is expected to unveil iOS 10, an operating system that is expected to feature a revamped design, improvements to Apple Music and some tweaks to Apple News. Perhaps most importantly, Apple is expected to announce that for the first time users will be able to remove Apple's built-in apps saving screen space and storage capacity for their own favorite apps.
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    OS X Is Due for Its Annual Update
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    OS X Is Due for Its Annual Update

    Apple has kept an annual release cadence with OS X, which is why the company will showcase the next version of its desktop operating system at WWDC. There haven't been a lot of rumors circulating about what will be in the next OS X upgrade, but some analysts believe Apple will bring more iOS features to the operating system, including enhanced touch gestures, Apple News and more. This year might also be one where Apple enhances the operating system's design, though no concrete details are available right now.
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    Tim Cook Will Hit the High Points
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    Tim Cook Will Hit the High Points

    Apple CEO Tim Cook kicks off each WWDC the same way—by talking about his company's success. Expect Cook this year to talk about how many apps are now available in the company's marketplace, how many iPhones Apple has sold and why Macs are still so popular. Cook will also likely discuss Apple's efforts to expand into emerging markets to convince more developers to think globally when it comes to app development.
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    Apple Loves to Tout Developer Payout
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    Apple Loves to Tout Developer Payout

    One of the key figures Apple enjoys mentioning at WWDC is its developer payout. That's the amount of money the company has paid to developers since the App Store launched. Expect Apple to talk about the revenue developers earn in various ways, including in-app purchases, which have quickly become the lifeblood of mobile apps.
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    Apple Will Take a Hard Line on Encryption
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    Apple Will Take a Hard Line on Encryption

    Although the case with the Justice Department is over, Apple is not done talking about data security and encryption. Expect Apple to provide details about its plans to improve encryption and security across its operating systems. Apple wants to be viewed as on the consumer's side and as the most secure software maker even in the face of government demands to access mobile users' data. Boosting its encryption features in operating systems can help the company achieve that goal.
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    Encryption for iCloud Will Also Be on the Agenda
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    Encryption for iCloud Will Also Be on the Agenda

    There has been rampant speculation that Apple's iCloud is getting a security makeover, and Apple could announce that at its developers conference. Right now, iCloud doesn't come with the same end-to-end encryption and security features found in Apple's iMessage. Apple is expected to change that in the face of its recent FBI fight, which could make it much harder for law enforcement to access the many things, including photos, stored in iCloud.
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    Apple Will Downplay iPhone Sales Worries
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    Apple Will Downplay iPhone Sales Worries

    Apple will need to do some explaining during its WWDC keynote address about why, for the first time, iPhone unit sales were down year-over-year in its last-reported quarter. While Apple has already said that it's a short-lived problem that will get better, developers will be looking for Apple to talk iPhone enhancements that will get sales back on track.
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    What Apple Will Say About Stagnant iPad Sales
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    What Apple Will Say About Stagnant iPad Sales

    Apple simply cannot say that the iPad, and the tablet market in general, will undoubtedly turn around. The market headwinds are strong, and there are no signs of a tablet sales turnaround. So it will be interesting to see if Apple has a plan to get people buying more of its tablets. Right now, it's hard to see how any improvements in features or apps will persuade more consumers or business people to buy more iPads.
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    Will The Long-Rumored Video Streaming Service Appear?
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    Will The Long-Rumored Video Streaming Service Appear?

    Rumors have been swirling for months that Apple is nearing the launch of a TV program streaming service that will compete with cable and satellite companies. Perhaps the launch will finally come at WWDC. There have been some rumors pointing to that possibility, and even major media companies say they're in talks with Apple. If the company can ink deals in time, it might showcase a new streaming service for its Apple TV. It certainly has been a long time coming.
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    There Should Be Some Hints About 2016 and Beyond
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    There Should Be Some Hints About 2016 and Beyond

    It's unlikely that Apple will have a "one more thing" announcement, but the company could provide some hints at what's to come. Again, to head off iPhone concerns, Apple could provide some hints on what it'll deliver in the iPhone 7. Apple could also talk about the many other markets it's reportedly exploring, including virtual reality and vehicles. The company likely won't make any major announcements in those areas, but a few hints at how developers could expand their horizons could be enough to keep them interested.
 

Now that Facebook and Google have tried their hands at wooing developers, it's Apple's turn. The iPhone maker on June 13 will convene its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where it's expected to announce upgrades to its mobile and desktop operating systems, iOS and OS X, respectively. It's also likely that Apple will talk about device and data security as well as encryption, along with software enhancements that will improve the overall user experience. As usual, Apple will deliver a surprise or two. But perhaps more than anything, the company will have to quell concerns about a maturing smartphone market and flagging iPhone sales in the wake of a first time decline in shipments in its more recent fiscal quarter. Market watchers are looking for a sign that iPhone feature upgrades will return iPhone sales to a growth path. Apple will also need to prove the iPad has a future. There is, in other words, quite a bit riding on WWDC 2016. And the event could be critical to the company's future success as it heads toward a new iPhone launch later this year. Read on to find out what to expect at WWDC 2016.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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