Everything we expect to see at WWDC 2017

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wwdc
From iOS 11 to a standalone Siri.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac/Apple

WWDC is almost upon us. Ahead of Monday’s keynote event we’re running down everything we’re expecting for the annual developers extravaganza. You can watch the keynote live, and follow coverage here at Cult of Mac.

From software to hardware, here’s what we are predicting for next week:

iOS 11

One of the big two WWDC guarantees is that Apple will give us an iOS upgrade, most likely named iOS 11 if it sticks to past naming conventions. Some reports have suggested that we’ll see an upgraded interface, which could make a lot of sense given that this is the 10th anniversary of iOS and the year of Apple’s biggest iPhone upgrade since 2014.

Other rumors suggest that an upgraded FaceTime may be in the cards, along with the usual upgrades one would expect — such as improved Siri, upgraded default apps, and more.

The nicest thing about the iOS upgrade is that you should be able to download a developer beta virtually right away, although the finished version won’t ship until sometime in the fall.

macOS 10.13

Like a new version of iOS, an update of macOS is all but guaranteed for WWDC. There haven’t been a whole lot of leaks regarding the 2017-era macOS upgrade, so any possible updates are more a matter of guesswork and wishful thinking than anything else.

One logical assumption is that Apple will have been working to integrate Siri more deeply into macOS, after debuting the feature in last year’s version. A “Hey Siri” feature, similar to iOS, would definitely be a positive, for example.

Beyond this, an overhaul of iTunes is way beyond overdue, FaceTime group calls have been rumored, a standalone Apple Music app would be well-received, and HomeKit support is still absent. Any guesses on the name Apple will choose for this year’s entry? Rumors so far point toward a name beginning with “M” like Malibu.

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We’re expecting a new version of watchOS.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

watchOS 4

Last year we got watchOS 3 at WWDC, and so this year it makes sense that Apple offers us a sequel. As with all of Apple’s software updates this year, however, rumors have been few and far between.

One possibility is that Apple will include a sleep-tracking app, based on its recent acquisition of sleep-tracking app Beddit. Another is that Apple will add new trackable activities, such as skiing and snowboarding.

tvOS

It’s unlikely that Apple will spring its rumored fifth-gen Apple TV on us at WWDC, but a tvOS upgrade could certainly be on the cards. Like watchOS, all we’ve really got here is a wishlist, since virtually nothing has leaked so far.

Amazon Prime Video has been rumored to be on its way to Apple TV sometime this year, so maybe WWDC will turn out to be where Apple announces it.

10.5-inch iPad Pro

Although Apple has steered clear of hardware updates at WWDC in recent years, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks there’s a good chance Apple will debut its 10.5-inch iPad Pro at this year’s event.

In keeping with the iPhone 8’s redesign to allow a bigger screen without having to enormously increase the size of device, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro may boast a smaller bezel to retain the same dimensions as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Along with various under-the-hood improvements, we may even get a second-gen Apple Pencil thrown in! Hopefully with a slightly more sensible charging mechanism this time round…

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The new iPad Pro may feature smaller bezels.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

New MacBooks

New MacBooks could also be making their debut at this year’s WWDC. Compared to the massive upgrade of last year’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, expect these to be only minor improvements, such as a processor upgrade to Intel’s faster Kaby Lake processors.

Siri speaker

Whether Apple announces this at WWDC is a toss-up, but if they do it will be the most talked-about announcement of Monday’s keynote. A standalone Siri speaker has been heavily rumored in recent months, with the idea being that this will allow Apple to compete with similar smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple smart speaker will offer up high-end audio thanks to “one woofer and seven tweeters.”  It will also boast computing power similar to the iPhone 6s, be aimed at the high-end entertainment market, and carry a higher price than the $179 Amazon Echo.

Other reports suggest that Apple’s smart speaker will resemble a “fat” version of the Google Home speaker, with mesh fabric covering the majority of the device and a concave top similar to that of the Mac Pro. It could additionally include a built-in camera and facial recognition technology for identifying users, as well as an Amazon Echo Show-style touch panel.