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What to expect at Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote

By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Gone are the days of an Apple shrouded in secrecy. It’s Tim Cook’s Apple now, and his Apple is an open book—comparatively, anyway.

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off June 13 at 10am PT in San Francisco. Thus far, early leaks and interviews have given us a pretty good idea of what’s to come. At this rate, the only thing left to speculate on is the musical guest. (Our bet’s on Broods.)

Unlike past years, it appears the theme of this year’s keynote is software. Here’s what to expect:

App Store changes

In a series of interviews this week, marketing head Phil Schiller revealed a number of changes coming to the App Store.

  • Perhaps the biggest is how app subscriptions will work. Currently, Apple only lets news, cloud, dating, and streaming apps offer subscriptions to users, but the company will open up the business model to all app categories. Furthermore, Apple’s share of subscription revenue, presently at 30%, will fall to 15% after a user has subscribed for one year. Developers will be able to set prices depending on geography.
  • The App Store will introduce ads that show up at the top of search results (no ads will be displayed to those 13 and younger though), and the featured section of the App Store will exclude apps that users have already installed on their devices.
  • Apple has streamlined the app review process, so apps will make their way to the App Store faster.

Apple Music redesign

In uncharacteristic Apple fashion, its music-streaming app has been labeled “lousy,” “fussy,” and “a usability nightmare.” That (hopefully) will be changing soon. In addition to unveiling a new design that’s more intuitive, Apple Music is expected to integrate downloads (the iTunes business) and expand its radio service. The company might also remove the app’s social feature Connect.

Apple Pay via iMessage

Messaging has been all the buzz at Facebook’s, Microsoft’s, and Google’s developer conferences, and Apple is expected to follow suit. One enhanced iMessage capability will be an extension of Apple Pay that will let users transfer money to other people, similar to Venmo.

iMessage for Android

Here’s a wild card: On Thursday, a rumor started circulating that Apple was planning to bring iMessage to Android. If so, it wouldn’t be the first Apple app on Google’s mobile operating system. Apple Music made its way to Android last year.

Even more secure iCloud

After Apple’s flashy showdown in the US with the FBI, over the status of locked phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, the company reportedly started working on even stronger security measures that would be hackproof. Apple used its stage at the iPhone SE event in March to reassure the public of its dedication to privacy, and it wouldn’t be surprising if some of these new features were previewed at WWDC.

Siri for Mac

Apple’s intelligent assistant is already on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. It’s time now for Siri to make its debut on the Mac. According to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, Siri for Mac will live at the top-right corner of the menu bar. When clicked, Siri will begin listening for commands. On newer versions of the operating system, users will be able to activate the assistant by saying “Hey Siri,” without having to click a button if they enable the feature and their computers are plugged into power.

MacOS

Breaking from Apple’s naming convention for its computer operating systems, the company is expected to rebrand OS X to MacOS. The change will add uniformity to the names of Apple’s operating systems, which include iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

tvOS 2, watchOS 3

Apple’s tvOS and watchOS are both due for an update, but rumors on these fronts have been surprisingly scant.

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