Enterprise Expectations for Apple WWDC 2015
This year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference begins today, Monday 8 June, at 10 am PST at its regular location in San Francisco, California.
As usual, there has been speculation throughout the media in the weeks leading up to the annual event, with anticipation over new releases and product updates causing predictions to be made on what Apple will use their five-day forum to unveil.
Among the most obvious things to expect is details on the latest iteration of iOS, which is traditionally previewed at the conference, and will likely feature during the opening keynote today.
However, it is entirely possible that following the significant updates to the mobile operating system last year, many of these details on the new iOS 9 will be minor, albeit useful, improvements and corrections rather than any drastic changes.
This coincides with reports that Apple's engineers are putting the majority of their focus on fixing bugs, establishing greater stability and enhancing the performance of iOS, although one or two surprises could of course be possible. Although not hugely inspiring, this will be well received by business users, as delays and poor performance are far more frustrating when using an iPhone or iPad to carry out tasks for work than when browsing consumer apps for personal entertainment.
The announcement will not just be used to show customers what they can expect when the updated OS is released later this year, but to inform developers on opportunities for updating their apps or developing new ideas in the mean time. It is also believed that iOS 9 will be used to further align all of Apple's mobile device offerings, including the coveted wearable device, the Apple Watch.
However, an exciting brand new function will reportedly be added to the Apple portfolio at WWDC named Proactive, which is essentially a tool for delivering contextually relevant information in real-time to users, through a combination of various sources that will adapt to personal behaviour patterns.
This will be an important feature for Apple users moving forward, especially within the business environment, as employees from all professional disciplines continue to demand the most current, up-to-date, predictive data possible from their mobile devices to further augment their ability to work quickly and accurately. The use cases for Proactive could range from calendar appointments and meetings, email services, flight information or even access to useful information that users weren't previously aware of.
Hand-in-hand with iOS 9 is expected to be the next version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X 10.11. There has been less conjecture about what this upgrade will bring for users, although it is widely expected that it will be similar to its mobile counterpart, in that it will be based on improvements and fine-tuning, rather than any groundbreaking additions.
With that said, there has been speculation that Apple will be showcasing a split-screen mode for the iPad which will allow users to run and interact with separate apps simultaneously, side-by-side. This innovative interface will supposedly be able to occupy one third, half or two-thirds of the screen, and could even use both sections for two sessions of the same app. This could be a particularly useful tool for professionals that use their iPad devices for work-related purposes, making a number of desired productivity-boosting shortcuts possible.
Regarding the Apple Watch, a highly anticipated developer kit is set to be released at WWDC, which will allow developers to build their apps specifically for the wearable device. The SDK could also allow apps to access the watch's sensors and other peripheral features, to expand the use cases and capabilities of apps being used on the Apple Watch.
This will be a step in the right direction as native Apple Watch apps will reduce the slow and sometimes error-heavy method of running third-party iPhone apps on the device. As a result, it is likely that many business apps will be released directly on to the Apple Watch, which will be viewed as more positive news for enterprise users.
Of course, the conference will have a largely consumer-focused agenda, but with the iPhone and iPad being extremely popular devices within the workplace, Appleã??s output is realistically going to continue to show signs of accommodating for enterprise customers. A previous example of this is last year's initiative with IBM to create customised mobile apps specifically for businesses.
If this is the case, Apple will take encouragement from the omission of any significant enterprise-related announcements at Google's annual I/O developer conference, which took place at the end of last month. Despite Android being a more secure operating system than Apple's iOS, which has often attracted large enterprises over the usability and aesthetics of Apple's products, Google had little time to entertain business users during their recent event of a similar nature.
However, Google are clearly still taking their enterprise projects seriously, and the competition between the two technology powerhouses is likely to rage on for the foreseeable future.