Six things to expect at WWDC 2015

Anthony Caruana
29 May, 2015
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Apple’s 2015 Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off on 8 June and we’re already getting some big pointers to what’s going to be announced.

Stability will be a key

It’s no surprise that Apple will unveil its newest operating systems. However, unlike the last few releases, which have seen significant changes to the appearance of its mobile and computer software, Apple has said the plan is to focus on quality, rather than adding lots of new features.

In particular, the word is iOS 9 will undergo substantial optimisation so that it can run on iPhone 4. However, it won’t support every feature of the updated OS – only applications and features that are supported on older hardware will be installed, so that performance isn’t compromised.

OS X 10.11 will get some new features

Control Center was left out of OS X 10.10 despite appearing in some early releases. This is a pane that will hold some of the controls that are currently held in the Menu Bar. We like this idea, as the Menu bar on our Mac is getting pretty cluttered.

Apple premiered the new San Francisco typeface with the Apple Watch and then included it on the new MacBook. We can expect the OS X system typeface to be replaced with San Francisco in a subtle, but system-wide change.

Security will also get a once-over. A major new kernel-level security system called ‘Rootless’ for OS X, and iOS , will help curb malware and protect sensitive data by prohibiting users from accessing certain protected files on Mac and iOS devices. Using ‘Rootless’ will probably be optional for OS X, but permanently on with iOS. This could be a nail in the coffin for the jailbreaking community.

Many applications on OS X and iOS, such as Notes, Reminders and Calendar, will lose their IMAP foundation, replaced with an iCloud Drive backend.

A new ‘Trusted Wi-Fi’ feature is also being tested. This will enable Macs and iOS devices to connect to trusted wireless routers with no additional security measures, although the integration of this feature is less certain.

 iOS doesn’t miss out

The centrepiece of iOS 9 is likely to be Proactive. This new service will use Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook and third-party apps to act as a virtual assistant. Android users will be familiar with Google Now – an application that learns about your movements and usage patterns to provide advice to you.

For example, Proactive could learn where you live and work and automatically provide driving instructions. With updates to Maps, that will add public transport and traffic information expected, the route could be determined dynamically, so you can be instructed to avoid traffic blackspots such as accidents or roadworks.

Apple Watch apps go native

As we expected, the Apple Watch will be opened up to developers with a new API. This means developers will be able to create apps that run natively on the Apple Watch. At the moment, all Apple Watch apps rely on an iOS app with the Apple Watch acting as little more than a satellite display.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, said at the recent Code conference, “A week from Monday at our developer conference, we’ll release a preview so that developers will be able to write code natively and have access to sensors, and we’re really excited about that.”

Swift integration

The Swift programming language was introduced at last year’s WWDC. In order for a Swift-based app to run, a bunch of Swift programming libraries had to be bundled with the app.

A set of Swift code libraries will be preinstalled with iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. As a result, Swift applications updated for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 will be smaller and will download faster.

Apple Pay incentives

A report by The New York Times says, “People familiar with Apple Pay said that next month, Apple will announce such a program offering perks to consumers who make purchases with the service, though they declined to reveal details.”

What we really want is for Apple Pay to make an appearance in Australia. Major retailers already have contactless payment terminals, so the physical infrastructure is already in place. As yet, there haven’t been any security issues in the US.

We can only surmise that the sticking point is negotiations with banks and credit card companies.

If you’re planning to attend WWDC, you can download the WWDC app from the App Store. If you have an Apple Watch, the latest version of the app will put your conference schedule on your wrist.

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