On Monday, June 8 beginning at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, Apple executives will be taking to the stage at Moscone West in San Francisco to launch the 2015 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). We'll be providing coverage of all of the announcements as they happen through a Google Hangout, but today we're providing you with an idea of what we think will be the top items of discussion.
Mac OS X 10.11
OS X 10.11 is expected to focus on system-level improvements that'll increase the stability of the Mac-based operating system. One area of improvement outside of performance tweaks may be Control Center, which could be overhauled with Bluetooth, WiFi and Do Not Disturb controls similar to iOS.
Similar to OS X 10.11, iOS 9 also is expected to bring under-the-hood improvements for performance and stability purposes. Apple will likely continue its focus on smarter devices by updating its Spotlight search in a new feature rumored to be called "Proactive." Proactive could bring together elements such as search, contextual awareness and third-party apps to produce an intelligent assistant that know what you need before you need it.
Apple likely will update its Watch OS and developer toolkit to support native apps that run on the Watch itself. These apps will likely debut alongside iOS 9 sometime this fall.
There may still be an announcement of a new Apple TV, although Apple's planned streaming TV service may not be part of the picture at WWDC. Recent announcements showing that the 3rd-generation "and newer" Apple TV serves as a home automation hub for HomeKit make it possible that a new device may be announced.
HomeKit devices are being announced left and right this week, and it's likely that Apple will showcase how these devices are used with Siri for home automation. Oddly, no rumors of "one app to rule it all" have surfaced, with current HomeKit documentation showing manufacturer-specific apps being used to change settings, create "scenes," and perform other tasks. Announced last year at WWDC, HomeKit is now ready to take over your home.
Streaming Music Service
With Beats music now firmly under Apple's umbrella, look for further integration of the service into iOS and OS X. Apple likely will keep the existing $9.99 plans and offer iTunes Radio as a free alternative. The streaming music service will feature on-air DJs and human curation.
A response to Google Photo?
Apple's Photos app is now common on both iOS and Mac platforms, but the company charges a ridiculously high amount for storage. Will Apple announce lower pricing for iCloud Photo Library storage? Unlikely, but it seems that Apple would have some response to Google Photo -- perhaps just a statement that "your photos are yours, not Google's".
Apple will likely confirm new bank and retail partners who are now supporting the mobile payment service. The company also may announce the upcoming expansion of the service into countries outside the US, most notably Canada and China.
What are the two Macs that have been ignored over the past few years with just minor upgrades? The Mac mini and Mac Pro. These two models make up just a portion of overall Mac sales with Apple's laptops and the iMac taking the majority of consumer cash, but both the mini and Pro serve specific markets -- the Pro being used by creatives and the mini focused at switchers, small-business server usage, and those who want a small and flexible "media PC."
While the Mac Pro would most likely just get a speed boost, the mini is overdue for a complete redesign. The new 12-inch MacBook shows just how compact Apple can make a fairly powerful laptop; why not take the minuscule internals of a MacBook and stuff them into a palm-sized, SSD-based Mac mini?
Don't expect any updates to iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to be announced at WWDC 2015; those lines have their own special events that occur closer to the important "back to school" and holiday seasons.
WWDC 2015's focus will be on making the operating systems even more easy to use for the broad base of consumers that purchase the devices, as well as integrating iOS further into the realm of home automation and streaming media. We invite everyone to join us in watching the Apple livestream of the keynote and leave an extra browser window open to watch our live discussion of the event as it unfolds.