WWDC 2014 rumours: What to expect at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2014
Apple will start is Worldwide Developer Conference for 2014 in San Francisco today, with a keynote speech to kick it off. But what can we expect to be announced at the show based on all the chatter, rumours, speculation, and gossip so far doing the rounds?
Apple likes to use WWDC (pronounced dub-dub-dee-see) to announce new features coming to the mobile OS during its keynote, and we suspect this year will be no different. By detailing some of what's possible (usually the expected headline features), it gives developers plenty of time to look at how the new features work, but also so they can discuss them with other developer across the week at the show.
Rumours and speculation so far suggest a strong push toward letting iPhone users better track their fitness with the introduction of an app called Healthbook, tweaks to the interface to refine it even more that in iOS 7, and an improvement to how Maps work following a series of acquisitions over the last year.
There is also talk of improvements to Siri and better iCloud support to tackle services like Dropbox, Microsoft's OneDrive, and Google's Drive offering.
Update: Apple has dressed the Moscone West in San Francisco for its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, and one of the first event banners to be erected has hinted that we can expect the company to announce iOS 8.
Twitter is erupting with tweets and images about the banners currently going up at the convention centre used for WWDC. A large blue banner with a water-like background and a svelte number eight in the foreground is generating the most excitement and chatter online. That's likely because the banner represents iOS 8 - the next version of Apple's operating system for mobile devices.
OS X 10.10
Apple has confirmed that it will show the latest version of OS X at WWDC as well. Currently dubbed Syrah, there is some speculation, or should that be expectation, that Apple will follow the design look and feel from iOS 7 to the desktop operating system.
We should also expect greater connectivity between the desktop and the mobile operating Systems - however not for OS X to simply become a clone of iOS and purely a touchscreen experience. Apple has gone on record repeatedly over the last couple of years to say that OS X is a keyboard and mouse experience and iOS is a touch one.
Update: Apple has put up a banner for its next Mac OS at Moscone West for WWDC 2014, according to several tweets. The banner has an image of what looks like California's Yosemite National Park in the background with an X in the foreground.
When Apple unveiled OS X Mavericks at last year's WWDC, it departed from the use of big cats in naming schemes and moved to names based on places in California. So, could the next Mac OS from Apple be called OS X Yosemite?
Apple Smart Home
Apple has been tipped, by the Financial Times in the UK, to also announce its own software platform for home automation. The software for the iPhone and, presumably, iPad will allow you to use your device to control connected gear around the home.
It could use features like iBeacon, it is said, which will performs functions such as switching on the lights in rooms as you enter them, because they automatically detect your iPhone.
Like with CarPlay, manufacturers of gear compatible with Apple's smart home system would have their products certified for use.
It is the FT that claims the software will be launched at WWDC.
Retina MacBook Air
The MacBook Air is the only laptops not to have a Retina display, and the hope is that the company will announce a Retina version of the MacBook Air at the conference this year.
New Retina MacBook Pro
Apple announced new MacBook Pros in October, but it does like to have something swanky on the hardware desktop front to announce at WWDC. In 2013 it was the new Mac Pro. While it makes more sense from a high-impact point of view to go with a new Retina touting MacBook Air, a quick low-key update for the MacBook Pro could also be on the cards.
There is absolutely nothing official on whether Apple is making a watch, but that doesn't stop people talking as if it is a done deal.
With Google announcing Android Wear, its watch OS, and it undoubtedly going to be a strong focus at Google I/O at the end of June, Apple could try to use WWDC to steal some of the thunder from Google.
It is highly unlikely, but if the company opts to launch an iWatch earlier in the year, before June, then WWDC would be a great place to get developers excited about the possibilities.
With the streaming set-top box market heating up, Apple needs to decide whether the Apple TV offering is still a "hobby" or something more serious. Apple has always favoured an autumn release for the Apple TV and that could still very much be the case, though it could use WWDC to highlight changes to the software. With Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Roku all pushing hard in this area, is it time for Apple to change its pace if it wants to stay a relevant contender?
iPhone 6 / iPad mini / iPad Air
Incredibly unlikely. Apple in the past has used events later in the year to update the iPhone and iPad. We expect that pattern to remain.