WWDC 2018: Last Minute Predictions

In short, all software and 1-2 hardware announcements at most.

It feels slightly weird going into this WWDC compared to the past few, because we don’t know anything major that is happening and that iOS which always gets the most attention, will not be getting much development work this year.

Back in February this year (god feels a long time ago), I did a post every day about what I wanted to see at WWDC 2018 when it comes to software.

Based on recent rumours/leaks, we should be expecting at the very least when it comes to software:

  • iOS
    • Digital Wellbeing focus like in Android P.
    • Focus on stability and bug fixes, even if the initial betas are not that reliable.
    • Landscape support for Face ID
    • More Animojis (YAH!!!! – Said no one ever).
    • Animoji option on Facetime calls
    • Improved Do Not Disturb Mode
    • ARKit 2.0 Mode with Peer-to-Peer Multiplayer Support
    • Expanded NFC Capabilities
    • Redesigned Stocks App
    • Revamped iBooks app to be called Apple Books and look like iOS 11 App Store.
  • macOS
    • Name that is not related to Sierra but based in California.
    • True Dark Mode support
    • Apple News App Included
    • Apple FileSystem added for Fusion Drive Macs.
  • watchOS
    • Pride rainbow coloured watch face being available on your watch after the keynote has finished.
  • Development
    • Xcode 10/X
    • Swift 5 Released

At the time of posting being 15hrs away from the opening keynote, I want to go over my top 10 things I want to see at WWDC taking recent rumours into consideration, which I did not have much to base it on back in February.

1. True Dark Mode on macOS AND iOS

In a recent leak by developer Steve Troughton Smith, shows a short video of Xcode 10 running on macOS in what looks like an improved Dark Mode.

There are at least five ways you can tell that an improved Dark Mode is coming compared to what was introduced in OS X Yosemite.

  • Top Menu Bar of macOS is Darker.
  • Dock has an almost black background to it.
  • The Rubbish Bin is darker than before. Even in Dark Mode on High Sierra it’s an off-white colour.
  • The top row in Xcode is dark, which even if you set the source editor to be a dark background.
  • The storyboard background behind the view controllers shown is black, which can only be White in Xcode 9.4 and earlier.

None of this is showing that a Dark Mode is not coming to iOS, but if they are putting this much work into it for macOS, then the same team could likely be doing this for iOS.

I have been thinking lately, why has Apple not done this before now. It’s also rumoured that WebKit will support Dark Mode, so I suspect we might also see a JavaScript API to detect if the user is running Dark Mode therefore changing the look of the website to accommodate the dark looking OS. Worst thing of having a Dark UI is seeing a bright webpage.

Chance of Happening: macOS – 90% and iOS – 75%

2. iOS Apps on Mac or UIKit for Mac.

A lot of developers have been requesting heavily ever since rumours started, to get either iOS apps to be more easily ported to macOS, or allow macOS apps to be developed using the same UIKit used to build iOS apps in Xcode.

If they add one of these, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be doing the other. Doing so might mean the official Twitter app might come back to macOS, some stock iOS apps can more easily be ported, and popular apps like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube can get dedicated Mac apps with very little extra development work from the developers end. This alone would be the biggest disruptor to my day-to-day routine on my MacBook.

3. Any improvements what Siri is capable of doing

Siri is expected to barely get a look in this year, but I hope that we at the very least see some improvement to Siri.

If Apple does nothing or add one or two small features, it’s still going to get bashed by the developer community more so than the general public, but I see it as though Apple needs a stop-gap addition to Siri to tie then over until the true Siri 2.0 gets released, possibly next year.

We know Apple recently hired a top Aritificial Intelligence specialist from Google, so we know they’re aware that Siri is not that strong but major changes will take time. So I expect substantially more to be added to Siri next year than even the last 2 years combined, all likely next year. But please do something at the very least with it this year.

4. iPhone X Software Improvements

I still love my iPhone X. I do not regret getting it and next to never bothered me.

There are still a few things that Apple could do to the iPhone X which will be important for all the new phones they’ll announce in September. This includes:

  • Optional battery percentage inside the battery icon to the right of the notch.
  • Relocate Control Centre to the Multitasking screen with opened apps being at the top of the screen. Single swipe up to go home, swipe up and hold for control centre & multitasking.
  • Improved Face ID frequency for scanning your face or button to press to rescan manually.
  • Changeable icons on the lock screen. Camera one makes no sense.

Relocating Control Centre like I said would also help with people transitioning from their Touch ID based iPhone to one without because that is another gesture that will be very similar, even if not identical.

5. Redesigned Volume HUD for iOS and macOS

There is nothing more annoying than when you are watching a video or reading an article and you need to alter your phone’s volume for various reasons, it covers the content.

Especially on the iPhone X, it should be relocated to the left or right of the notch for the couple of seconds it’s needed.

On macOS it should probably be moved to the top right corner where notifications come in, or even in the top menu bar with the volume icon being extended horizontally for a couple of seconds.

I understand having it in the middle makes it more obvious for users, but if you alert them to the change, you’ll get a lot of people supporting the decision, even if they did not think of the idea beforehand.

6. Xcode 10’s storyboard being re-engineered in Swift

In Xcode 9, the source editor where you type your Swift code was re-engineered from the ground up with Swift to get faster performance etc.

I am hoping this year that Apple does the same to the Storyboard because that I feel needed more performance improvements compared to the Source Editor, especially if you have more than half a dozen view controllers on the screen, it can some-times take 5-6 seconds to switch to it on my computer. It’s that slow, it’s made me even look into upgrading my MacBook even though it’s perfect for everything else I do.

I sometimes even get quite a bit of lag when it comes to dragging elements around the screen etc., so yes the storyboard needs to be rebuilt.

7. Opt-in Always On Display for OLED Devices

One of the biggest recent differentiators between iPhone and the majority of Android flagship smartphones is an Always On Display.

I would imagine Apple has not added this to the iPhone X because of battery life concerns, but I can tell you straight up now, I’m getting 2-2.5x more out of a single charge compared to my iPhone 5s.

I practically find it impossible to full diplete the battery in a single day, so I’d be more than happy to use a little extra juice for a feature I could benefit from. Heck, it could even save me battery not having to wake up the phone every few minutes. Not to mention it would also make a great bedside clock.

8. Xcode 10 re-adds collapsable methods to the Source Editor

In Xcode 8 and earlier, you could click a little button to the left of methods in the source editor and will minimize that method to take up only one line, regardless of how long it is.

This is more useful for developers that have thousands lines inside each file and especially when they only need to focus on a couple of methods and not the dozens that are in each file, making scrolling to the right content that much faster.

9. AirPower Release Date/Window Announced

I’ve only really put this on my list because I’m getting sick of people saying “When’s AirPower being released??”

AirPower allow you to charge up to 3 devices at the same time on one charging mat.

I predict that this will not be announced on stage but silently on their website, unless the first product in the next section is announced and will probably cost around as much as the AirPods.

10. Hardware: iPhone SE 2 and Beats Speaker with Siri

Lots of people are predicting the iPhone SE 2 will be announced at WWDC 2018.

I thought it was certainly a possibility it would happen, but didn’t really believe it was coming with the iPhone X like design for a iPhone SE design.

Rumours suggest that the next version of the iPhone SE will have the iPhone X design, but if they did this and release it at WWDC, the price will have to go up to more like current iPhone 7 pricing, which is a few hundred dollars in your local currency roughly than the current iPhone SE.

Gene Munster also predicts a Beats Speakers is coming that has Siri support built-in, essentially being a cheaper HomePod.

I struggle to understand why Apple would do this, if anything I would understand a HomePod Mini but not a Beats Speaker that has Siri integrated. The Beats brand should just be kept to selling dedicated speakers and headphones that don’t have an interactive Apple technologies besides the W1 chip for better pairing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the next Xcode be X or 10?

I’m predicting Apple will call it Xcode X but pronounced Xcode 10, as they have a history of the iPhone X and OS X being called 10 instead of X. When they go back V11 presumably in 2019, it’ll likely then be called Xcode 11 instead of Xcode XI.

Will there be any hardware updates, including Mac upgrades?

I’m all for wanting upgraded Macs to come, but I somehow don’t see it happening given the late rumours.

If iOS 12 is not meant to be a feature heavy release, what will be their tone in presenting it?

I suspect Apple will present it as though iOS 11 has a lot of great features and they want to build on that for iOS 12. E.g. turn a negative into a positive.

In terms of features announced, iOS 11 had 15+ which was more than normal, but this year they might do 5-7 key features, even if they aren’t very big ones, they’ll talk them up to add more padding to the keynote presentation.

What time does it start?

The opening keynote starts at 10am Monday 4th June in San Jose California USA, but here in Australia on the east coast, it starts at 3am Tuesday 5th June.

The developer community seem to have what I believe is a very different view on Apple today compared to the general public, because if the general public sees about 20 things that need fixing, we as developers see more like 100-200 things that need fixing.

Whilst this list may look like I’m desperate for changes, I’ve learnt that we all should keep our expectations low in the lead up to the opening keynote.