Apple’s yearly WWDC event is where it announces the latest updates to the software running on its Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Apple TV and other devices; the WWDC 2016 press conference featured updates related to
OS X, now known as macOS.
In this article we round up all the important announcements from WWDC 2016. For the latest news and predictions, read our
WWDC 2019 article.
WWDC 2016 announcements: iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3 and tvOS
There were four main areas in Apple’s WWDC 2016 press conference – tvOS, macOS (formerly known as OS X), watchOS and, of course, iOS. There were updates across the board, but the most impressive updates come in the form of iOS 10 – but we’ll get to that.
Arguably the biggest feature announcement of watchOS 3 was Instant Launch which, as the name suggests, launches and loads an app as soon as you tap on it – a godsend for many Apple Watch users. Dock is also a new feature of watchOS 3, allowing you to multi-task on the Apple Watch in a similar windowed fashion to the multi-tasking window on iOS.
There’s a flurry of new watch faces including a Minnie Mouse watch face and an Activity watch face that displays your exercise tracking data on-screen at all times. Activity Sharing is now a thing, too – simply swipe to the left within the Activity app to see updates on your friends’ progress and hopefully motivate you to exercise.
Finally, watchOS 3 will enable the Apple Watch to function as a fitness tracker for users in wheelchairs. We discuss the wheelchair-focused features in watchOS 3, as well as looking at alternative fitness trackers for disabled users, in a separate article:
Best smartwatches, bands and trackers for wheelchair fitness tracking.
watchOS 3 is set to launch in autumn 2016, and is available to download today for developers.
Out of the bunch, we have to admit that tvOS 10 features the least impressive updates – but that’s not to say they’re not needed. First up, the Remote app for iOS is being completely redesigned to mimic the Siri Remote for the fourth generation Apple TV, and can perform all tasks including using Siri and playing games.
Siri has had a bit of an update too – you’ll be able to search for movies by genre i.e. “Find High School Comedies from the 80s” via iTunes, Netflix and other service providers, but that’s not all. You can also use Siri to search for a video on YouTube!
There’s also a dark mode for those that need it, and will be available to download this autumn. For more information on the latest tvOS update, take a look here:
tvOS 10 release date and new features
macOS Sierra (formerly OS X 10.12)
Next up is OS X, which got rebranded to macOS – more specifically,
macOS Sierra. It features Auto Unlock, which allows you to quickly unlock your Mac without typing in a password simply by using your Apple Watch. We were also introduced to Universal Clipboard, which allows you to copy something on one Apple device and paste it on another. This allows users to, for example, draw a picture on an iPad, copy it and paste it directly into a document on a Mac.
Last, but by no means least, is
iOS 10. Because it’s such a big milestone for Apple, the presentation concentrated on ten new features of iOS 10. These include a completely redesigned lock screen and notification system along with enhanced 3D Touch shortcuts that implement widgets. That’s not all though – oh, no.
The Music app (or should we say Apple Music app?) has had a complete redesign, bringing a much simpler design that is easier to navigate and use.
Complete guide to Apple Music’s features |
How to use Apple Music in the UK
Siri’s intelligence has taken a step up in iOS 10 as the virtual assistant is now baked into QuickType, providing better predictive text as well as prompts to required information like your current location or a recent email address. Developers can now make use of Siri too, allowing users to reply to messages via WhatsApp or perform an action within the Tumblr app, for example.
There’s so much more to iOS 10 than that though, and those interested can head here for the breakdown of tonight’s announcement:
iOS 10 release date and feature rumours.
iOS 9 vs iOS 10
Keep reading on to experience the event as it happened, along with our predictions prior to the event.
How to watch WWDC 2016 live
For those who can’t attend WWDC 2016, the main attraction will be the opening keynote speech and press conference. On 1 June 2016 Apple
sent out invitations to members of the press, asking them to come to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco at 10am Pacific Time (which translates to 6pm UK time). That’s a change from previous years, where the opening keynote (as well as the rest of the conference, like this year) would be held at
If you want to hear about the announcements as they happen, along with expert analysis of what they mean for you, then this page should be your first stop – bookmark it now! Come here tonight (13 June) at 6pm to read our liveblog, embedded below, which will be feverishly updated throughout the night with all the announcements and our independent analysis of their significance for developers and Apple fans alike.
Watch the WWDC 2016 video livestream
You can also watch the WWDC 2016 announcement via Apple’s official live video stream, which has now been set up on Apple’s website:
head to this page at 6pm (UK time) to access the live video stream. Obviously it’s not showing anything just yet.
The live stream uses Apple’s HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) technology which requires either an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with Safari running iOS 7 or later, or a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later running OS X 10.8.5 or later. Those with an Apple TV (second/third/fourth generation) can also stream the video via the dedicated Apple Events app. Even Windows users haven’t been left out: you can stream via Windows using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.
As well as the press conference, you can watch a lot of the other events live. Many speeches and workshops will be streamed on Apple’s website, and it’s worth downloading the
WWDC app for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch for schedules and videos.
WWDC 2016 dates: When is WWDC 2016?
Apple’s famous week-long WWDC 2016 event starts tonight, 13 June 2016, and carry on throughout the week. You can get confirmation of the dates by asking Siri, by the way.
Apple will host an opening press conference and keynote speech tonight at 10am Pacific time, or 6pm UK time – the company has now sent out invitations for this event, which we discuss in the
How to watch WWDC 2016 section, and has set up a dedicated page on its – where it’ll showcase the latest versions of iOS, OS X, tvOS and watchOS. And then a week of developer training courses (and awards ceremonies) will follow.
Those interested in attending can do so, but it’s quite expensive and the tickets are distributed in an… interesting manner, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
WWDC 2016: How to get WWDC 2016 tickets
Back in 2012, all 5,000 WWDC tickets sold out within two hours of being released. The release of the tickets came as a surprise to developers who’d had no prior warning from the company and, understandably, many of those who missed out were far from happy. Particularly because Apple decided that 5:30am PDT was a good time to release them, so many developers woke up to find that the tickets had been and gone.
Then, in 2013, Apple decided to let developers know when the WWDC tickets for that year were going to go on sale in advance. The time would be 10am PDT/6pm UK time on 25 April, and everyone who wanted one knew that. Upon release, it took only two minutes for the tickets to sell out, which left even more developers feeling angry.
The ticket lottery
So, in 2014,
Apple took a completely different approach to its ticket sales – one that, as we predicted, has become Apple’s way of distributing tickets ever since. Instead of issuing tickets on a ‘first come first served’ basis, Apple offered everyone a chance to win a ticket (or rather, to win the privilege of being charged for a ticket) by registering for a lottery. In years past, 5,000 developers were randomly selected as attendees from those who applied.
So, how do you apply to Apple’s WWDC 2016 lottery? Well, it was pretty simple really – those interested in attending went to Apple’s WWDC 2016 website and applied for tickets before 22 April 2016. Winning tickets weren’t cheap either, with those selected to attend this year’s WWDC event charged $1,599 (around £1,082) for the pleasure. Ouch.
But as you can see above, the ticket lottery is now closed. If you didn’t hear from Apple by the end of April, you weren’t one of the
lucky winners. But cheer up: at least you’ve saved yourself a thousand quid. And you can still watch a lot of the event – take a look at the next section.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: Apple Music overhaul
Bloomberg, one of Apple’s focuses at WWDC 2016 will be its music-streaming service, which launched at WWDC 2015 and has received mixed reviews ever since.
As we approach its first anniversary, most analysts would agree that
Apple Music has been a qualified success. Apple has established a solid subscriber base –
passing 10 million paying users earlier this year – but complaints remain about the service’s interface and sometimes sketchy integration with users’ personal music libraries, and the rival service Spotify continues to prosper and grow. (See
Apple Music vs Spotify.)
Bloomberg (citing “people familiar with the product who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public”) predicts that WWDC 2016 will see Apple unveil a more intuitive user interface for Apple Music, and announce plans to improve integration between the company’s streaming and download businesses.
9to5Mac offers more detail about the updated version of Apple Music that will accompany iOS 10. The current interface is visually busy, with translucency effects and a colour scheme that alters to match the album artwork. The new interface will retain the artwork – indeed this will be given “huge” prominence, in a look that a source calls “bolder, yet simpler” – but the rest of the interface will be graphically stripped back and remain black and white regardless of the album. Menu text will be larger and bolder.
There will be new features:
3D Touch shortcuts; automatically integrated lyrics, on a “good amount” of songs at first and more later on; and the New tab will be replaced by a better-organised section called Browse.
Apple is also expected to expand its online radio service and commence a high-profile marketing campaign to bring in more paying users to the Apple Music service. While unveiled at WWDC 2016, Apple Music 2.0 will become available alongside
iOS 10 in the autumn.
For more information, check out our
Complete guide to the Apple Music update.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: iTunes update
iTunes is one of the least glamorous of Apple’s products – it would not be an exaggeration to say it’s reviled in some quarters, even though a great many of us continue to use it every day regardless – but the company may endeavour to change that perception at WWDC. It’s rumoured that a major overhaul of iTunes, affecting its fundamental purpose as much as its interface and way of working, will be unveiled next week.
Digital Music News has posted a
thoughtful dissection of Apple’s music business and the way it’s likely to change in the next two to three years. The site’s sources claim that, within the company, there have been discussions about the idea of removing permanent downloads from iTunes entirely within that approximate timeframe – although nothing has been decided so far – and suggests that we may see changes to iTunes at WWDC next week (“architecting iTunes differently”) which are designed to make it easier to remove downloads when and if the time comes.
Digital streaming revenues recently passed digital download revenues, and the future clearly points to the former increasingly eclipsing the latter, so it makes sense that Apple would consider its options. But Digital Music News stresses that Apple is not planning to phases out downloads just yet.
The site further predicts that Apple will simplify iTunes, addressing “widespread complaints of ‘bloatware’ and a nightmarishly complicated interface”.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: New Apple 5K display
This might be a long shot, but sources predict that Apple will finally replace or update its elderly 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor some time this year – and WWDC would be as good a time as any.
This is expected to offer a 5K resolution (Apple certainly needs to improve on the current 2560 x 1440, which is lower than the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro). Interestingly, it’s also been suggested that the new display could feature an integrated GPU, enabling it to bring 5K graphics to lower-powered Macs that haven’t got their own GPU. On the down side, syncronising graphics between the two devices would likely require Mac OS X updates; and if the new display can only work with Macs equipped with OS X 10.12, Apple would need to hold it back until the autumn. Boo!
New Apple display release date rumours
What to expect at WWDC 2016: Siri
Apple’s WWDC 2016 announcement has convinced us that Siri is about to get a big update. Siri knew when WWDC 2016 before anyone else did, revealing the dates of the annual event ahead of Apple’s official announcement later that day.
Asking Siri: “When is WWDC?” resulted in the revelation that the developer’s conference would take place between 13 and 17 June, and that Siri “can’t wait!”
The invite itself is themed around the Swift coding language used in iOS apps, and references popular apps like Snapchat, Tinder, Crossy Road, Instagram and more, so there’s not much to be garnered there as it is a developers conference after all.
But it does make us think that Siri and third-party apps are about to get a lot more friendly. Siri could be about to open up to developers, who’ll be able to integrate the voice assistant into their apps for iOS and watchOS to take things to the next level.
Siri could also be on its way to the Mac, if rumours are to be believed. You can find out more about said
Siri on a Mac rumours here.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: iOS 10
Apple historically announces the next generation of iOS software at its WWDC events in June, and this year doesn’t look to be any different – although some rumours suggest otherwise.
Our colleagues at Macworld US suggest that iOS 9 is the first in a new iOS lifecycle at Apple, with the company concentrating on more important ‘point’ updates rather than a completely new version of iOS. iOS 9.3 is a good example of this – iOS 9.3 came with a number of new features including Night Shift mode, which many believe is more of a ‘flagship’ software feature that should be announced with a completely new iOS update. iOS 9.3 also went through a rigorous public beta testing period too, something (generally) exclusive to new iterations of iOS software.
However, if our colleagues aren’t correct (sorry, guys) then what could we see from iOS 10? One key feature of the software – according to current rumours – is that users will finally have the option to hide unwanted preinstalled apps. That means you can wave goodbye to default apps like Stocks and Compass, two apps that we can honestly say we’ve never used on our iPhones. Other significant software rumours include iCloud Voicemail where Siri handles all unwanted calls, and possibly some kind of ‘Contact availability status’ where your phone will tell you if your contact is available to speak at that time.
For all the latest iOS 10 rumours, take a look at the following:
iOS 10 release date and feature rumours.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: Mac OS X 10.12 ‘Fuji’
As well as announcing the latest iteration of iOS at WWDC events, Apple also showcases the latest version of its Mac OS X software, this year named ‘Fuji’ (according to reports, anyway – we discuss
possible names for Mac OS X here, and one of our suggestions is mocked up below). Apple usually announces the software in June, then releases it in the autumn after thorough beta testing, usually around September or October.
What do we expect from Fuji? Current rumours suggest that Siri will finally make an appearance on the Mac operating system in a bid to compete with OS-baked virtual assistants like Cortana in Windows 10. The report claims that Apple has been testing the feature internally for three years, and it’s now finally ready to be rolled out to the public.
Other rumours suggest that Apple may rename the ‘Mac OS X’ operating system to ‘macOS’, bringing the Mac operating system branding in line with Apple’s general operating system branding (iOS, tvOS, watchOS, etc).
For all the latest rumours regarding OS X 10.12 Fuji, or macOS as it may be called, take a look at the following:
OS X 10.12 Fuji UK release date and feature rumours
What to expect at WWDC 2016: tvOS 10
We think there’s a fair to middling chance that WWDC 2016 will see Apple give us a glimpse of the first major update to the fourth-gen Apple TV’s operating system.
tvOS could grow to fit the pattern of iOS updates: announced and demonstrated at WWDC each summer, rolled out to a public beta programme, then launched officially in the autumn alongside a new generation of hardware. tvOS 9 was launched alongside the new Apple TV in September 2015 (and went on sale in October), so will be due for a refresh this autumn.
tvOS 10 release date and new features rumours
What to expect at WWDC 2016: New Mac laptops
Here is where things get a little bit confusing. Apple usually updates its Mac laptop range around this time of year, and while Apple released an
update to the 12in MacBook weeks after the
iPhone SE and
9.7in iPad Pro event back in March 2016, the same can’t be said about the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Rumours now suggest that the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines will be updated during WWDC 2016 in June. Why is that confusing? Well…
Some rumours suggest that the entire MacBook Air line may be discontinued, leaving users with a choice between the (already thinner than the MBA) MacBook and MacBook Pro, simplifying the Mac laptop range. However, counter reports suggest that only the 11.6in variation of the MacBook Air will be ditched, and will instead be replaced by a larger 15in model to sit along the more popular 13in model. Whatever you believe, those interested in the fate of the MacBook Air can take a look at our
MacBook Air rumour roundup, where we discuss and where necessary debunk the latest MacBook Air rumours.
The 13in MacBook Pro could see an update at WWDC 2016, a laptop range that is over a year old at the time of writing. The larger 15in MacBook Pro could also see an update, but due to the company releasing an update at the back end of 2015, we’re not sure that is true. Rumours suggest that the new MacBook Pro could have significant gains in graphical performance due to new AMD/NVIDIA GPUs, and of course will feature Intel’s latest Skylake chipset. To keep up to date on everything to do with the MacBook Pro, take a look at the following:
Retina MacBook Pro 2016 release date, spec and feature rumours.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: New Mac Pro
Apple’s current Mac Pro design made its debut at WWDC – WWDC 2013, to be exact – so there’s a fair chance that’s where we’ll see the update. And with mysterious snippets in the code of El Capitan pointing to a new Mac Pro model in the pipeline, we think that WWDC 2016 may be Mac Pro-flavoured.
We discuss the rumours surrounding an upcoming Mac Pro launch in a separate article:
New Mac Pro 2016 release date rumours.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: watchOS 3
Given watchOS 2 was released last year at WWDC 2015, we expect to see a refresh of the software with watchOS 3 at WWDC 2016. There’s only rumours and speculation so far around the updated watchOS.
However, we do see a few likely features included in the upcoming update, such as the custom watch faces, stability and speed
improvements and even a user interface update. For more details on watchOS 3, see our dedicated article here:
Apple watchOS 3 UK release date and new feature rumours.
What to expect at WWDC 2016: Mac mini
The Mac mini is Apple’s smallest (and also cheapest!) desktop Mac with prices starting at £399, providing users with an inexpensive way to use OS X. Yes, it’s not the most powerful Mac on the market and it doesn’t come with a display, but the built-in HDMI port provides users with an easy way to plug it into their living room TV. The Mac mini was last updated way back in 2014, and is starting to look a little bit long in the tooth with a lack of updated internals.
While the appearance of a new Mac mini hasn’t been confirmed at WWDC 2016, we hope that Apple shines the spotlight on the
smallest of desktop Macs and breathes some air into the lineup. For more details on the Mac mini, see our dedicated article here:
Mac Mini 2016 release date, specs and new feature rumours
What to expect at WWDC 2016: Apple Watch 2
The successor of the first generation Apple Watch has been a hot topic of debate recently, with many believing that Apple was going to unveil the second generation smartwatch during its March 2016 event, a year after the original Apple Watch went on sale. That, sadly, didn’t happen and now some suggest that we could catch a glimpse of the Apple Watch 2 during the WWDC 2016 keynote. The second generation Apple Watch is rumoured to include cellular connectivity, multi-function watch straps, and upgraded internals.
We’re not too sure about this one, as opposing rumours suggest a launch alongside the iPhone 7 in September which we feel is more believable. After all, the first generation Apple Watch was initially announced alongside the iPhone 6 in September 2014. To find out more about the upcoming second-generation Apple Watch, take a look at our dedicated article here:
Apple Watch 2 release date, specs and pricing rumours