Following last year’s post about my expectations for WWDC14, this year I am going to write a similar article about what I would like to see from Apple in WWDC15. Last year’s conference was a great one for Apple Dev community. We saw many great frameworks like CloudKit, HomeKit, HealthKit, extensions and an entirely new programming language, Swift.
It is difficult even for Apple to keep up with a second straight year with such many new things for developers. Regarding OS X, I expect the next version of the Mac operating system to be what Snow Leopard was for Leopard back in 2009. A release that focuses on performance, stability and new technologies under the hood. There will be some design tweaks in the OS but I do not expect nothing special in the design area. Last year Apple redesigned the entire OS, so this year we can only expect polishing and some new touches exactly like with iOS 8.
Next big thing in WWDC15 will be iOS 9. Note that this is the first WWDC after the release of WatchKit, so I expect a lot of sessions dedicated to developing apps for the Apple Watch. I expect many improvements to the WatchKit SDK and I would love to see an SDK for native apps for the Apple Watch, but it is unlikely to be introduced this year due to the limitation of the Watch hardware (cpu power, internal storage). Access to the Watch sensors a feature that many developers would love to see. According to rumors iOS 9 will bundle few new features and the main focus area in this release will be stability and security. I totally agree with this direction. iOS needs to be refined in terms of stability. Although I do not expect to see many exciting new end user features, I expect to see new APIs especially in HomeKit and CloudKit. I would love to see an Apple TV SDK too but as with Apple Watch, the current Apple TV model has hardware limitations (internal storage), so if we see a SDK for Apple’s set top box, a new Apple TV model will be introduced too (Apple dropped the current model price in March, so a new model is very likely for introduction at WWDC).
Last but not least are the dev tools. Xcode used to be a really stable IDE a few years ago. That is far from reality after the release of Xcode 6. I’ve been using Xcode 6 from day one for large projects that include both Objective-C and Swift classes and the experience is awful. SourceKit crashes are very common (the latest version Xcode 6.3 seems to be a little better) and some times the only way to fix the lack of code highlighting is to manually delete the Derived Data folder. Even when code highlighting works, code completion is extremely slow in Swift. I totally expect Apple to refine Xcode and focus on its stability. The Swift debugger needs to be refined too and provide more accurate and useful information.
In terms of services Apple will probably (all rumors mention that) a music service similar to Spotify. If the pricing is aggressive and given the fact it will come built in with every new iPhone, it will be a huge hit. Spotify is ready to release an SDK for developers. Apple may preparing a similar surprise for its devs too…