By Jordan Crook
It’s WWDC time. Like, tomorrow. And we expect to see plenty of fun announcements, not least of which being a brand new mobile operating system, iOS 6.
It’s the type of Apple product every iPhone owner can enjoy, and I’m more than pumped to bring you a full list of expected, rumored, and wishlist features that we’ll soon enjoy.
So how does a silver user interface sound as opposed to blue? What about a departure from Google Maps and a brand new 3D map view brought to you direct from Apple? How about Facebook integration as deep as (if not deeper than) Apple’s beloved Twitter?
- Apple is ditching Google Maps data for its own in-house Maps system
- The app will have a 3D mode
- We’ve been hearing about it from multiple sources for weeks
- We’ve seen it, albeit in blurry form
- Apple acquired three mapping companies in the past few years
- Apple’s new iPhoto app isn’t even using Google Maps data
- In regards to iPhoto, it’s only fair to note that the app isn’t using Apple’s in-house system either. Instead, it uses OpenStreetMap data.
Judgment: This one’s highly likely. There’s really no other reason for Apple’s map tech shopping spree last year. We’ve seen blurry images, heard it from various corners of the blogosphere for nearly a month, and it makes sense for Apple’s general trajectory as a company. Google is a major competitor, and piggybacking off of the search giant in an area where Apple can afford to keep in-house doesn’t make sense any longer.
Plus, most of the top brass one of Apple’s recent map tech acquisitions, C3 Technologies, has left the company for other endeavors. This is usually the case when Apple builds out new features through acquisitions.
- Facebook will be baked straight into iOS 6 the same way that Twitter is in iOS 5
- This will allow for system-wide Facebook authentication services for apps, sharing to a limited extent (links, perhaps photos), and possibly check-ins.
- It would also be possible to integrate Facebook Events with the iOS calendar (iCal)
- Also possible, but even less likely: Integration of Facebook Chat with iMessages
- It comes rather confidently from MG Siegler
- Apple likes Facebook
- Apple wants to keep things as easy as possible for users, and baking in Facebook only makes sense for users of Apple products, Facebook, and developers
- Facebook sharing is already built into iTunes desktop
- When asked about future plans with Facebook, Tim Cook said “stay tuned.”
- Apple has baked in Facebook before and scrapped the idea
- Facebook is a far more complicated network than Twitter: Facebook privacy, Open Graph, etc.
- Concerning the deeper integration (iCal, iMessages, and even Photos), Apple usually takes its time with these big endeavors, like with Siri
Judgment: Likely. As the LA Times points out, all signs point to a Facebook-laden iOS 6. Facebook is usually the most popular social app on the App Store, and Facebook is picking up some serious steam in the mobile realm. Partnering in this way only makes sense, and should only strengthen both companies.
- Blue is used as a complimentary, not primary, color in most Apple products (like the background of File, Edit, etc. in the OS X menu bar when clicked).
- OS X and iPad have silver-based UI
- Apple likes to unify its products as much as possible
- Apple’s WWDC 2012 app has a silver row of buttons, instead of black and blue
- Apple’s really good at not trying to fix it if it ain’t broken
- For example, certain apps like Calendar, Contacts, and YouTube haven’t really changed at all since their debut in 2007
Judgment: This one seems pretty likely, as well. Not only has the WWDC app and iPad UI been silver since their inception, but the newly released iPhoto app has also been dipped in chrome. Everything about Apple is silver, from their hardware on the notebook line to the backside of the iPad to the Apple icon on most of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores. Why was iOS ever blue to begin with?
- Siri support, not just voice dictation, will come to the iPad
- The personal assistant will be accessed through a hold tap to the home button (like on iPhone 4S), whether the iPad is locked or not
- Siri will take up only a small portion of the screen, popping up from the bottom of whatever app the user is currently in
- It may only come to new iPads
- It’s only a matter of time
- 9to5Mac “trusted sources” claim Siri is in testing on second and third-gen iPads
- Again, Apple wants to unify its products
- Siri is used in voice dictation on the iPad, it’s just not fully functional
- The iPad may be too far away to understand dictation, according to some skeptics
- Siri is still in beta. Why jump to a new device?
- “Users aren’t proving adventurous with their usage”
- It’s possible that Apple may not reveal Siri for iPad at WWDC
Judgment: This one’s a maybe, but only because it may not show its face tomorrow, not because it won’t happen. Siri for iPad is only a natural progression. My guess is that it’s unveiled tomorrow and available only to third-generation iPads. Apple is scaling Siri to make sure that quality stays up to snuff with concerns for servers, etc., just like Siri was only available on the iPhone 4S.
- John Gruber and MG Siegler are both betting on it
- Developers were given limited access to Siri in iOS 5.1 for dictation
- It would go over well with developers, and offer an interesting new assortment of applications to users
- There are at least three dozen sessions at WWDC marked TBA. Gotta fill ‘em up somehow.
- As with Siri for iPad (and earlier generation iThings), iPad is still in beta. Perhaps it should graduate before migrating to new territory.
- Tim Cook said on May 30 that we’d see some amazing stuff out of Siri “in the coming months.”
Judgment: I’m entirely on the fence about this one. Gruber and Siegler count for something, especially combined, and it’s a developers’ conference. It would kind of be like Christmas morning for a developer. At the same time, it goes against scaling Siri, and it feels rushed. Yet still, Tim Cook’s hints are ambiguous. The release of a Siri API at WWDC would be a month from his statement, which is discouraging. But amazing Siri-integrated apps would appear in the coming months.
- Apple is syncing new and current OS X features with iOS 6 through iCloud
- This includes iCloud Tabs, Do Not Disturb for Notifications, and Mail VIPs
- iCloud Tabs is said to offer a synchronized list of Safari tabs open across all Apple devices.
- Do Not Disturb would be a toggle under Airplane Mode in Settings that would disable notifications
- An iCloud beta site confirms that new iCloud features will affect iOS 6.
- Mail VIPs is already a feature in OS X Mountain Lion, and it’s much appreciated by users. It only makes sense to include it in iOS 6 Mail.
- iCloud Tabs have been integrated into OS X 10.8 Developer Preview 2 in March.
- Even with rumors of added display real-estate to the next-gen iPhone, horizontal resolution wouldn’t change. With most games played in landscape, the ability to disable not only badges but banners during play is even more needed.
- All three features come by way of anonymous “trusted sources” at 9to5Mac, with no real concrete evidence behind them.
Judgment: It seems like these features only make sense in the new mobile OS. It’s all-but-announced that whatever’s happening with iCloud — and some new things are undoubtedly happening — will be a part of iOS 6. However, the specific features listed don’t have much solid proof to back them up. We could be entirely wrong. Perhaps the Notes and Reminders synchronization shown on the iCloud beta page are on the WWDC menu.
We’re keeping you up to date on everything you should expect from the all-but-announced features to wishlist items. Check out Matt’s rumor round-up on Apple’s Notebook announcements, as well as a forthcoming post on possible OS X features to look forward to. WWDC 2012 is set to be the biggest developer’s conference yet.