Returning to its San Jose roots after being held in San Francisco for the past 14 years, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to bring some big announcements, including a possible sneak peek at the iPhone 8, expected to launch later this year.
Yesterday, Apple announced that its 28th annual WWDC will run June 5-9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. In addition to a lineup of keynote speakers, the conference will also feature a number of technical sessions, hands-on labs with Apple engineers and "very special experiences around San Jose throughout the week."
There's plenty of reason to expect the iPhone to have a high profile at this year's WWDC, as 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the debut of the iconic device. In addition, Apple will likely take the wraps off the latest version of its mobile operating, iOS 11, as well as announce updates to the macOS desktop system, watchOS and tvOS.
Expect Siri News, 'Premium' iPhone Design
As usual, Apple isn't providing many details about the WWDC lineup and announcements at this point. However, the company noted that developers will be able to register for tickets, to be offered via random selection, to the event starting on March 27. Those who can't nab tickets or make it to San Jose will be able to watch the conference via live-streaming.
With other tech competitors regularly rolling out new digital assistants and bot offerings powered with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Apple is also likely to provide some news about updates to its Siri AI. Unveiled at last year's WWDC, iOS 10 already added a number of new Siri-powered capabilities. At last year's event, Apple also launched SiriKit, which opened up the AI to developers who want to create new Siri-integrated apps.
According to the Apple-focused site MacRumors, "there are already an abundance of rumors hinting at the impressive features coming in the 2017 iPhone." Said to herald a major redesign, the iPhone 8 could include at least one model with a glass, rather than aluminum, body, as well as one with an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display and a "premium" -- possibly $1,000 or higher -- price tag, according to MacRumors.
Virtual Buttons, Brand New Functions?
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who's made numerous accurate iPhone predictions in the past, is reported to have told investors in his latest note that the iPhone 8 could feature new functions enabled by virtual buttons in lieu of the standard home button. AppleInsider reported yesterday that it had seen Kuo's note that said the iPhone 8's "full-screen design will allow Apple to integrate a 'function' area never seen in an iPhone."
Since the iPhone's launch in 2007, it has become the "most successful product of all time," according to an analysis released last month by the firm Asymco. The company predicted that at some point this year, Apple will have earned more than $1 trillion from iOS devices and services in the past 10 years.
In its latest earnings report, released Jan. 31, Apple said it had achieved a "new all-time record for earnings per share" and had more than $27 billion in operating cash flow. It reported second quarter revenues exceeding $51.5 billion, which CEO Tim Cook said was "Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever."