The BlackBerry Playbook, Chrome Netbooks, and more Android devices than one can shake a stick at have been released since the last major iOS update. But as Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference(WWDC) draws nigh iOS is expected to undergo major changes. Here are a mix of predictions, suggestions, and expectations for WWDC.
- Cloud Crazy. A billion dollar datacenter sits idly by in North Carolina. The iCloud service has been confirmed by Apple but I expect it to be more than the rumored “music in the cloud" service. Apple is going to bring the mass market to the cloud. A service for remotely accessing personal /rented/purchased content of all kinds is just the start. Leveraging lessons from iTunes home sharing - which allows users to access iTunes content remotely in the home – will help iCloud off to a fast start. MobileMe will change as well likely being subsumed by iCloud. The experience of iCloud will sit at the center of the new cloud experience enabling not only remote access to content but also remote back-up, sharing of files, and synching of contacts in a more open way. Carrier partners will need to be ready for the ensuing crush of data an Apple cloud service could bring.
- Improved Ecosystem. Far too few applications have been created for the iPad and the iPhone. Apple will address this by making it more enticing for developers to build multi-device apps. This becomes even more critical when Apple –we predict - announces iOS on Apple TV. Also add the Mac line-up into the mix as the release of the Lion OS brings a more iOS like experience to the computer. Perhaps Apple may even lower its revenue percentage to convince developers to build apps suited for the Apple ecosystem. Leveraging both the cloud and its position in the gaming world Apple will enable cross device game synch that lets users seamlessly start a game on one device and finish on another.
- Voice Control in iOS. Apple purchased Siri in mid-2010 and is rumored to have extensive agreements in place with voice powerhouse Nuance. With Android, BlackBerry, and other competitors embedding voice control deep in their OS, iOS feels left behind. Look for Apple to add voice control and make it core to the experience - for instance saying “Call XYZ’s mobile” or “Tell me the weather in Boston”. Furthermore, expect Apple to open up voice APIs to usher in a new era of app interactivity.
- Improved User Interface. iOS is beautiful in its simplicity. Videos on the internet show young children capable of using an iPhone or iPad. However the OS is beginning to feel a bit dated. Notifications are woefully inadequate, the lack of personalization closes potential avenues of revenue for Apple and app developers, and the lack of widgets continues to be a missing presence. Expect most if not all of these issues to be addressed.
Oh yes, and there will also be lots more on the new iPhone, Lion, and more.