What We May or May not See at WWDC 2012, evolving iOS 6, Mountain Lion and Apple TV

Posted on June 6, 2012

Next week Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco kicks-off with their keynote speech. Arguably this is the biggest presentation of the year for Apple, where new operating system features and sometimes new hardware gets announced.

It’s always a bit of fun to try and imagine what Apple will announce, and what you’d like them to announce.

Here is the list from Digital Possibilities:

iOS 6

We don’t expect any new iPhone or iPad hardware at WWDC, that will be announced September 2012 and March 2013 respectively. However, we do expect to see the latest version of iOS being pre-announced, iOS 6.

Here’s what we expect to see in iOS 6:

  • A new maps application removing Google maps. This better be much better than Google maps not just from an aesethic point of view, but also functionality. We’ll be really bummed if we lose live traffic updates (we use this to decide which of Montréal’s bridges we should take) and public transport information (it’s nice being able to plan a route from Brossard to NDG in one foul swoop).

  • Improvements to the mail, reminders and calendars app. Please Apple, get attendee availability into meeting set-ups on iOS! This is a big one!

  • SIRI. Improvements to SIRI will be announced with more services (although we’ve still not got yelp integration in Canada!). I don’t think that SIRI APIs will be available as I think SIRI is still not mature enough.

  • Facebook – integration of post to wall services into the core OS, just like with Twitter. Yes please! (I think iOS already has the code to support this, BTW).

  • Dashboard. There might be an additional screen layer, or the search screen, that can accommodate small widgets, like the dashboard on OS X. Some widgets may even be available on the home screen. This has been requested for some years, but we still haven’t had it, so it’s not too likely.

  • Notifications. I expect the notifications screen, particularly on the iPad, to get some improvements to make it more useful. I imagine there are learnings taken from the inclusion in Mountain Lion.

  • Groovy creative software – because tablets are not just media consumption devices; but can handle increasingly complex creation too.

  • Amazing. What will be the amazing new features in iOS??? We’ll see. I’m not sure there needs to be anything amazing, but a lot of small tidying up would be more than welcome!

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion was initially previewed to the public on February 16th, 2012. Pretty much everything shown will be released, abet with some improvements. There will probably be a few new items too:

  • iMessages beta was great, except that you need to open the buddy plane to log into your services. And do this frequently. It’s a pain. I hope they fix that.

  • Smoothness. Improved smoothness and fewer beachballs are more than welcome.

  • Fix the shift-tab bug. Whenever I shift-tab to an app, and then shift-tab back again, I’m often shown the wrong app page. Really annoying and needs to be fixed. Now.

Mac Hardware

The time for an 8GB RAM 13inch Macbook Air is now. 4GB is the lower limit to run OS X and 2GB is downright painful. Also, there are developer types such as Marco Arment and John Siracusa who really seem to want a new MacPro; and they should be able to get one.

Apple TV

The rumours are that Apple will release a new TV set. I’m still not sure on this one, and not sure the way the wind is blowing. I would certainly expect improvements to the current Apple TV platform. Here are some ideas:

  • Redefine the home screen. That grid of tiles sure doesn’t work.

  • More third parties. Before an Apple TV app store can be announced, more third parties should be allowed access to the platform like MLB and the WSJ live has done.

I think the future of Apple TV is to replace the Nintendo Wii as the family games console, but not be a high-end PlayStation or Xbox. To this end, Apple will need to define a state of the art controller to make this happen. My suspicion is that they current hardware may not be powerful enough yet to assume this role, but I could be wrong (look at how awesome games are on your iPhone!). So this future role may not be shown this year.

iCloud

iCloud was introduced last year, and it seemed obvious that it was just a first step in building out a whole set of cloud-based services. Here are some of the improvements we can expect to see:

  • Better sharing of cloud documents between friends.

  • A standard sharing system for third-party applications.

  • No more dead iWork screens in the iPad. (Seriously, Apple???)

  • Management of family Apple IDs to allow seemless sharing of purchases. (Then I can finally pass those China Mieville books to my wife).

Let us know what you think you’ll see at WWDC!