WWDC 2016 Expected to Bring Big AI Improvements and Small Software Bumps for Apple

Apple’s Annual Worldwide Developer Conference is about to get going and as always, it promises to be loaded with software improvements and new OS announcements to go along with the company’s product launch for fall.

For the first time the event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco instead of the Moscone West Convention center a mile away. Proceedings are scheduled to being at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 13, 2016 and run through June 17.

If you haven’t been bestowed with an invite to the prestigious event, it’s now easier than ever to stream it to your device.

  • Mac and iOS device users can stream the event via Safari on Apple.com
  • A dedicated WWDC app on the App Store can also stream the event as well as lab sessions with engineers on any iOS device as well as your Apple TV (2nd generation and up)
  • The event can also be streamed on Microsoft Edge on Windows 7 and onwards
  • The WWDC also features timings and dates of sessions and labs throughout the course of the event.

The 27th WWDC is rumoured to heavily focus Apple’s future as a company in the AI business. With its competitors like Google and Amazon speeding ahead when it comes to virtual assistants in terms of both wider control and functionality, Apple’s presence in this sector or rather lack thereof hasn’t gone unnoticed by the company.

Other expectations include new releases for the various Operating systems that run Apple devices and a few app announcements. Let’s break it down:

Apple is going to continue its software integration across the board. Siri will probably be featured more heavily in Apple’s product line in the future with the release of watchOS 3, tvOS 2, iOS 10 and OS X 10.12 ‘Fuji’.

Furthermore, Touch ID and by extension, Apple Pay is also going to be available on the Mac according to a report by Macworld. iPhone users will be able to unlock their Mac via Touch ID and also use Apple Pay on the web. Whether this will mean a new fingerprint sensor in future Macbooks like the one in the Surface Book isn’t certain yet.

iMessage for Android
Apple’s popular web messaging app is rumoured for an Android release. Since people mostly use universal apps like WhatsApp or Facebook’s Messenger App or Snapchat for communication across platforms and because it is slowly but surely going to kill off the SMS, Apple understandably wants a piece of that action.

There is also a rumour that Apple Pay might be used to carry out person to person transactions via iMessage.

Tougher Security
Apple’s heavily publicized tussle with the FBI has divided people. Some look at it as the champion of the right to privacy and some (lookin’ at you Donald Trump) think that it is a renegade corporation refusing to cooperate.

Either way, Apple is rumoured to be beefing up security as an aftermath. It might even be going for encrypted iCloud backups even though this might mean the backups would be harder to restore. Apple has even stated that it’s going to build devices that even ‘it can’t hack’, building on the statement made this year by CEO Tim Cook that said that there is certain “data out of (Apple’s) own reach”.

Siri & A.I.
This is the big one. Apple’s voice assistant has been maligned as less effective in its reach and capability than Google Now and is even facing some competition from Amazon’s latest device, the Echo speaker. While there is a very slim chance that Apple might deliver an answer to the latter in the form of a beats speaker with a face recognition camera it’ll be a shocker if any hardware at all is released at the WWDC.

More focus is on the rumoured Siri SDK that will give software developers more control over the voice assistant. This will extend Siri’s reach over third party applications so you can use it to call a cab or order a pizza and even listen to your favourite playlist on Spotify.

To do this, Apple acquired ‘VocalIQ’ and ‘Perceptio’ last year. The former, according to the Financial Times, is a company dedicated to using Machine Learning in order to recreate the type of talking computers that we’ve seen in movies like ‘Her’ and ‘Iron Man’. It is mainly focused on in care applications.

The latter is a company that focused on developing A.I. without having to access large repositories of data collected by smartphones. This is likely another way that Apple seeks to champion privacy rights while still making leaps and bounds in A.I.

Siri is slated to make its way in to the Mac Line, the Apple TV and even on the Apple Watch.

Apple Music
Apple Music is also slated for a new look with more emphasis on black and white backgrounds to shift focus on the album art. Apple is also rumoured to be removing the ‘Connect’ tab due to reports of unpopularity with users.Other improvements may include more 3D Touch options and an easier way to access song lyrics.