WWDC 2015 Roundup: What to Expect from Monday's Keynote

On Monday, June 8, Apple will offer a live-streamed keynote address to kick off the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple is expected to announce some exciting new products and services. And we'll get a preview of iOS 9. The purpose of the week-long conference is to introduce developers to Apple's new platforms, or to new features on existing platforms, and to teach them how to program for these platforms. iPhone life will be covering the keynote, and you can follow us on our live coverage page and on Twitter Here's a roundup of what we can expect from the keynote, which will begin at 10 a.m. PST.

New features in iOS 9

iOS 9 is expected to include support for Apple Watch—like Force Touchtransit directions in the new version of Maps, a new system font (San Francisco) that's the same as that in the Apple Watch, a new Home app that will play a major role in controlling HomeKit devices (Apple's new smart-home platform), and the ability to have split-screen apps on the iPad.

Native apps for the Apple Watch

The New York Times has reported that Apple will introduce a new software developers kit (SDK) that will give developers native access to the Apple Watch. As Todd Bernhard describes in the linked post, until now developers have been limited to having their Apple Watch apps work in conjunction with a companion app on an iPhone. The iPhone does most of the processing and pushes information to the Apple Watch. But with native access, developers will be able to create apps that run on the Apple Watch itself. It's possible that this will mean that that Apple Watch will eventually have much more functionality when it's not tethered to an iPhone. It also likely means that the apps will be snappier and have more capabilities.

A new Apple TV platform

Everyone had been expecting Apple to announce a new Apple TV device, new Apple TV software that will open up the platform to developers, and possibly also a bundle of cable channels that Apple would offer via a new streaming service. Apple's event invitation even appeared to show an Apple TV device. But then a number of sources, including the New York Times, reported this week that in mid-May Apple decided that their new Apple TV hardware wasn't ready to demonstrate, so they pulled it from the event. The Times also said that the new software and cable bundle announcements also would be postponed.

However, as I explained in this post, it doesn't make sense that Apple would hold off on announcing their new Apple TV software and platform. If they expect developers to create apps for the Apple TV, they can hardly wait until WWDC 2016 to launch the new platform. In addition, Apple apparently confirmed the Apple TV will play a central role in remotely controlling HomeKit devices when they inadvertently posted a support document that mentioned these things. According to the document, the only way to control HomeKit devices when you're away from home will be via an Apple TV. Plus, it makes clear that this feature will work with the current third-generation Apple TV. Also, we know that HomeKit will be a focus next week, and if the Apple TV is playing a role in HomeKit, then why wouldn't they announce the new software?

In addition, my fellow blogger Todd Bernhard even thinks the Times could be wrong about the other two announcements and that Apple could still announce new hardware and their new cable bundle on Monday, for the reasons I explain in the post.

Streaming music services

Apple is also expected to unveil their new subscription music service at WWDC, based on their Beats Music acquisition. The $10/month service will be part of an extensively redesigned Music app. The Music app is also expected to continue to offer the free iTunes Radio service. One recent rumor is that a new version of iTunes Radio will add stations curated by celebrity DJs, including Dr. Dre, Drake, Pharrell Williams, David Guetta, and Q-Tip. iTunes Radio is also expected to be extensively redesigned. 

Apple Pay rewards program

The New York Times recently reported that Apple will also launch a new Apple Pay rewards program at WWDC. Such rewards programs help foster customer loyalty for participating merchants. Other payment services have this feature, so it makes sense that Apple will also offer start offering perks to those who make purchases using Apple Pay.

HomeKit devices

Now that the first wave of HomeKit devices has launched, it seems reasonable that Apple will talk about that in the keynote. On the other hand, some have suggested that this week's burst of HomeKit announcements may be due to Apple deciding there won't be enough time during the keynote to introduce them. But I'm guessing they'll talk about HomeKit in the context of the new Apple TV software. Also, they'll likely introduce the new Home app expected to be part of iOS 9.


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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.