We’re now just three days away from one of just a few big events Apple holds each year, and this year’s WorldWide Developer Conference is shaping up to be hugely important for Apple. Despite the fact that Apple hasn’t released a single new device so far in 2014, the company’s stock is soaring to 12-month highs. Why? Because Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly promised investors that exciting new products are coming in 2014.
Apple crushed its March-quarter earnings without having launched any new products since November 2013. Imagine what might happen once all these “exciting new products” finally hit store shelves.
With WWDC 2014, however, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that Apple undoubtedly has plenty to show off on stage during its WWDC 2014 keynote, which is scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. EDT / 10:00 a.m. PDT on Monday.
The bad news is that most of the truly exciting new devices we’re expecting Apple to launch in 2014 are probably coming later this year and won’t be revealed during WWDC.
There’s still plenty to look forward to, of course, and here’s a roundup of what you can expect from Apple on Monday.
What to Expect
Apple’s annual WWDC keynote is closely watched by consumers and investors all over the world, and Apple does a good job of making sure to cater to the masses. The conference is a developer event first and foremost though, and WWDC 2014 will focus mainly on software.
First and foremost, Apple will unveil its next-generation mobile platform, iOS 8.
Apple’s huge mobile OS revamp came last year when iOS 7 brought a reimagining of iOS’s entire interface. Every inch of every app and every screen in the entire operating system was redesigned. The results were controversial at first, but once the shock wore off people calmed down and settled in, as we all knew they would.
Now that the big redesign is out of the way, we’re looking for real innovation from Apple’s mobile software in 2014.
So far, the leaks have painted a mixed picture. Reports from one of the most reliable sources in the world when it comes to the Apple beat, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, have revealed a number of things Apple has in store for iOS 8.
- A new Healthbook app that includes a wide range of activity and health monitoring features
- Big improvements to Apple’s Maps app
- New iTunes Radio features and possibly a standalone app
- Big changes to the iOS Notification Center and Apple’s Messages app
- New Preview and TextEdit apps, carried over from OS X
Also expected in iOS 8:
- Shazam-like song identification capability in Siri
- Split-screen multitasking for the iPad has been rumored, though Brian Chen of The New York Times claims the feature likely won’t be ready until iOS 8.1
Of note, here are the first confirmed iOS 8 screenshots that leaked back in March. Also of note, some of the aforementioned iOS 8 features may have been pushed back to iOS 8.1 in order to free up engineers to work on the next version of OS X.
Beyond iOS 8, it looks like Apple is going to cover two main areas. The first is OS X 10.10, which will reportedly get a major interface and feature update worthy of the jump from .9 to .10.
WWDC 2014 should also feature the debut of Apple’s smart home platform, which will reportedly mark Apple’s official entrance into the connected home/”Internet of Things” market. More recent reports have suggested that the initiative Apple unveils on Monday won’t be quite as grand as was first rumored, however — it might just end up being a program where Apple certifies third-party products for use with iOS devices.
Finally, we can look forward to at least one mystery hardware announcement, and no one really knows what it might be. A 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display is a possibility, as is a new Mac mini or a next-generation Apple TV.
What Not to Expect
In terms of devices, it is beyond unlikely that we’ll see any of Apple’s most exciting products of 2014 unveiled at WWDC.
Don’t expect a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or a 5.5-inch iPhone phablet.
Don’t expect a new iPad Air or a new iPad mini with Retina Display.
Don’t expect an iWatch.
Definitely don’t expect an iTV.
Will Apple have any surprises in store for us at WWDC 2014? We can only hope — and you can follow the action live beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT / 10:00 a.m. PDT on Monday.