Apple faces heightened scrutiny at software summit
SAN JOSE, California (Gulf News): On Monday, Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iOS software at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.
The tech industry will be watching not just with the usual anticipation — due in no small part to the media build-up — but to see how Apple handles a growing number of issues, ranging from a lawsuit about pricing on the App Store to slowing growth in iPhone sales.
The ongoing scrutiny over Apple’s App Store will be of particular interest to developers attending this year’s show. The company is facing a consumer lawsuit over accusations that it has been driving up app prices on the Store. Apple has denied the accusations, saying “it is confident that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.” Apple has also faced criticism that it “banned or restricted 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps” at the same time it released its own version of that software last year, according to the New York Times.
These issues, along with slowing growth of iPhone shipments (below 1 per cent) caused investors to question Apple’s ability to maintain revenue growth. In August last, the Cupertino-based maker of the iPhone became the first publicly-listed, trillion-dollar company … a title it has since lost.
The company’s current value, based on market capitalisation, is $805 billion.
An added concern for the company is the ongoing US-China trade war, which erased $515 billion off tech stocks in May alone. A number of reports have suggested that China could target Apple with tariffs or other sanctions in retaliation for the US blacklisting of Huawei.
Goldman Sachs estimated that such a move could cost Apple up to a third of its profits. Apple’s response to slowing iPhone sales has been to invest heavily in subscription services, including original television series, a video games service called Apple Arcade, and a news service. The company hosted a huge event in March that featured Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Jason Momoa to launch those services.
Apple’s latest software updates could reveal something about how these new services will be rolled out.
What to expect
The WWDC itself isn’t likely to see any big gadget announcements, although it does have a history of being the launch pad for many of Apple’s accessories, such as the HomePod and the cellular Watch. This show tends to be about software that will usually run on the next-generation of iPhones, Watches, Macs, and Apple TVs.
But ahead of Monday’s show, which will begin at 10pm. Dubai time, we’ve compiled a list of things that we will likely see. To be fair, we’ve added in a few things we’d like to see, too. (You can follow our coverage live on gulfnews.com).
We KNOW iOS 13 is coming. It would be shocking if it didn’t. Apple has rolled out an update to the iPhone’s operating system every year since it was launched in 2007. We haven’t seen a major update since iOS 8 in 2015, and the last few versions have focused more on performance and stability than adding new features. However, Bloomberg is reporting that other services, primarily WatchOS, could see a significant update that makes the iPhone less of a central component to the Apple ecosystem.
This year’s update to the Apple Watch software is expected to further cut its link to the iPhone. Two years ago, Apple introduced a cellular version of the Watch, but WatchOS 6 is expected to put the App Store right on your wrist. There are multiple other companies reporting that Apple will have additional lifestyle and health apps, which is not surprising given last year’s addition of health monitoring software, including ECG functionality.
There really hasn’t been a lot of talk about this software update, but it’s likely to see some announcements given Apple’s push into video streaming. A new app, called Apple TV+, is already available on the AppleTV device, but it will interesting to see if Apple takes it any further.
Many news outlets are also predicting the end of iTunes, with movies, music, podcasts each moving to their own app, so maybe TVOS 13 will also see some changes.
Augmented Reality & 5G
Apple has been pushing augmented reality for two years now, although you’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed it, as no AR app developer has yet come out with anything to really set the tech world on fire. Sure, you can move furniture around with the IKEA app, but for this technology to really take off, it needs the kind of high-speed data that 4G cellular technology just can’t deliver.
With 5G being rolled out now, Apple may give this another push at this year’s show. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though. Apple is not expected to launch a 5G iPhone until 2020. I’ll add this too, although I’m sceptical. Apple is rumoured to have Augmented Reality glasses in the works. I doubt we’ll see those at WWDC, but 9to5Mac is reporting that developers’ tools for those device could be announced.
Another persistent rumour is that Apple will announce an updated Mac Pro, which hasn’t seen an update since 2013. It’s been noted that Apple over the past few weeks has pushed out updates to the MacBook Pro and iPod Touch, giving the appearance that Apple might be making sure that the Mac Pro gets a little more stage time.
An update to Mac’s OS 10.15, which is also expected to be a major upgrade, and will include cross-platform apps and the ability to use iPads as a second screen.