WWDC 2016: What Apple plans to announce

We've assembled a list of what we expect Apple to announce at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including Siri improvements, person-to-person Apple Pay, renaming of OS X and new MacBook Pros

apple wwdc 2016 intro
What we expect Apple to announce at WWDC 2016

In just a few hours, Tim Cook and other Apple executives will take the stage and officially kick off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2016. Per usual, WWDC provides Apple with a forum to give us all an exciting glimpse into what the future of Apple software looks like. Hardware is, of course, important, but Apple's intuitive software has long been the driving force behind the company's success.

This year at WWDC 2016, Apple will provide us with long-awaited updates regarding iOS, OS X and more. While the company has managed to keep product leaks at bay, there's good reason to believe that WWDC this year will be filled with many surprising announcements.

That said, we've combed through every Apple rumor we could find and assembled a comprehensive rundown detailing every new item that might be on the docket later this afternoon. Suffice it to say, this year’s WWDC will be eventful.

apple wwdc 2016 1 siri improvements
Huge Siri improvements

Siri in recent years has been outclassed by rival AI software, but at WWDC this year, Siri will finally get up to speed. In fact, there's a good chance that Siri will be one of the key topics discussed at WWDC.

Specifically, we've seen reports indicating that Apple will at long last open up Siri to developers and enable support for third-party apps, a feature that has helped the Amazon Echo grow in popularity. What's more, it's a safe bet that Apple will announce that Siri is finally coming to the Mac. Will Siri be more efficient than a quick Google search? Perhaps not, but nonetheless, it's nice to see some uniformity across Apple's product lines.

Other Siri-related rumors we've seen point to Siri being able to understand and handle more complex queries than it is currently capable of today.

apple wwdc 2016 2 Apple Pay
Person-to-person Apple Pay payments

Building on the success of Touch ID and Apple Pay, Apple this year may introduce a new feature that lets iOS users make payments to other iOS users via Apple Pay. If this rumor pans out, it will be especially interesting to see how Apple plans to implement this feature.

apple wwdc 2016 3 Apple Music
Apple Music overhaul

Apple Music has a great selection of features, but truth be told, there are so many things going on within the app that it's become increasingly frustrating to use. Not to despair, Apple later today will likely showcase a complete overhaul of its Apple Music app. According to reports, the overhaul will feature improved navigation controls and an easier-to-use interface.

apple wwdc 2016 4 MacBook Pro
New MacBook Pros

This one might be a long shot, but we've seen reports that Apple may have a hardware surprise in store for us. Specifically, we might see the unveiling of a brand-new MacBook Pro with a thinner form factor, faster internals and an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display bar located above the number keys. Additionally, the rumored MacBook Pro will sport USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports. Whether or not this announcement comes today at WWDC, it's a safe bet that new MacBook Pros will be released before the year is up.

apple wwdc 2016 16 iMessage
iMessage for Android

Late on Thursday, a new rumor emerged claiming that Apple at WWDC plans to announce that iMessage will be coming to Android. Apple, of course, isn't a stranger to the Android platform given that it released its Apple Music app for Android a few months ago. Still, iMessage for Android is certainly a head scratcher, but perhaps privacy lies at the heart of Apple's alleged plans. Specifically, the report notes that iMessage for Android would make it possible for users of the opposing platforms to "communicate securely" via "end-to-end" encryption. We're a bit skeptical that this rumor will pan out, but if it does, it will be a huge about-face in strategy for Apple.

apple wwdc 2016 5 OS X
OS X will get a new name

OS X has been around for well over a decade, and in some ways its practically synonymous with Apple itself. But at WWDC, there are speculative reports indicating that OS X will be re-named MacOS. Is this a big deal in and of itself? Not really, but it will perhaps add a bit more uniformity across Apple's product lines given that we already have iOS, watchOS and tvOS.

apple wwdc 2016 6 App Store
New App Store rules

Not much of a secret anymore, Apple executive Phil Schiller last week told a number of publications that Apple has some big plans in store for the App Store this fall. First and foremost, the company will open up subscription pricing to apps across all categories. Second, Apple will for the first time support sponsored ads for search, an exciting proposition for developers looking for efficient ways to market their applications.

apple wwdc 2016 7 iOS apps
Built-in iOS apps will no longer be permanent

Apple's built-in iOS apps are certainly useful, but let's be honest—not everyone has a need for the Stocks app or the GameCenter app. As it stands today, though, every single built-in iOS app is impossible to remove. And even though they don't take up much space storage wise, this has long frustrated many an iOS user. Not to fear, Apple will likely remove this restriction with iOS 10.

apple wwdc 2016 8 Photos
Updates to Photos

Because taking photos remains one of the most oft-used features on iOS, Apple over the past few years has showed a concerted effort to improve its photo apps. That being said, a report from early May hinted that Apple at WWDC will showcase completely revamped Photo apps for both iOS and OS X. While details are a bit hard to come by at the moment, there's a good chance we'll see more efficient performance when dealing with large photo libraries and more advanced editing tools.

apple wwdc 2016 9 iTunes
Major iTunes overhaul

In conjunction with a revamp to Apple Music, Apple at WWDC may also take some time to introduce some major UI changes to iTunes. According to well-connected Apple blogger Mark Gurman, Apple will show off a new version of iTunes today ahead of a fall launch, alongside a new version of OS X.

apple wwdc 2016 10 OS X
Credit: itpro.co.uk
OS X 10.12

Undoubtedly, WWDC will provide us with our first look at what Apple has planned for the next-gen version of OS X. Truth be told, we haven't really heard much about what Apple has in store for us aside from the addition of Siri and a retooled version of the OS X Photo app.

apple wwdc 2016 11 MacBook Air
New MacBook Air

The MacBook Pro may not be the only piece of hardware getting a long-awaited upgrade. There are also reports that Apple today will begin phasing out the 11-in. MacBook Air model, upgrade the current 13-in. model and introduce a new 15-in. model.

apple wwdc 2016 12 Siri
Standalone Siri hardware

We've also seen reports that Apple has been working on a standalone piece of Siri-oriented hardware, similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. While a WWDC unveiling might be premature, it would certainly be a welcome surprise. Notably, conflicting reports suggest that Apple may simply integrate Siri into a next-gen version of its Apple TV.

apple wwdc 2016 13 iPhone
iOS 10

Rumors regarding iOS 10 have been hard to come by, which is why the iOS 10 portion of the keynote will be especially interesting. Aside from a rumored Dark Mode, we'll have to wait to see what new features and enhancements Apple will bring to the table with the next-gen version of iOS.

apple wwdc 2016 14 watchOS tvOS
WatchOS and tvOS updates

It might be a longshot, but it wouldn't be that far-fetched to see Apple announce some minor updates to both watchOS and tvOS.

apple wwdc 2016 15 apple tv
TV Media Content

With reports that Apple is more interested than ever in developing its own media content, it will be extremely interesting to see if Apple makes any announcements about original programming later today. Indeed, we've seen a number of reports over the past six months indicating Apple has been engaging with top Hollywood executives to hash out new content deals.