WWDC 2017

Worldwide Developers Conference

Every year, Apple holds an annual Worldwide Developers Conference, giving thousands of developers from around the world a chance to meet up with Apple engineers and sit in on valuable workshops and software sessions. The event has typically taken place at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, but the 2017 edition will be held Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. It will be the first time since 2002 that Apple has held WWDC in San Jose.
McEnery Convention Center in San Jose (Image via San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Apple typically begins each conference with a kickoff keynote on the first day, where the company makes major announcements and sets the stage for the remainder of the week. Keynote events often include a look at upcoming products and services and a first glimpse at new operating systems.

In 2017, Apple is expected to unveil the latest versions of iOS and macOS, and we may also see new versions of watchOS and tvOS, the operating systems that run on the Apple Watch and the Apple TV. News on additional products that might make an appearance will likely be shared as we get closer to the conference date. Most of Apple’s Mac lineup remains due for an update and some products could potentially see refreshes at the event.
Apple announced the official dates for the 2017 on February 16, several months earlier than usual. The early announcement was likely planned to give potential attendees and others making plans in association with the conference additional time to consider their arrangements given the change in location.
Tickets

For many years, WWDC tickets were available to any registered developer willing to purchase them, but as Apple’s popularity has grown and the size of the conference has remained relatively the same due to space and staffing constraints, tickets have been much harder to come by.

WWDC sold out for the first time in 2008, and by 2013 tickets for the event were selling out in just two minutes. Starting in 2014, Apple moved to a lottery system, and the company has continued to use that system since that time.

In 2017, WWDC tickets are priced at $1,599 and Apple began taking ticket applications on Monday, March 27. Ticket entries were accepted until March 31 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, after which Apple held the ticket lottery. Developers who won a ticket have been notified and have had their credit cards charged.

Apple is also providing WWDC Scholarships to students and STEM members, and began accepting applications on March 27, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. This year, applicants were asked to create a visually interactive scene in Swift Playgrounds that can be experienced in three minutes. Apple judged applications based on technical accomplishment, creativity of ideas, and the content of written responses. Applications were accepted through Sunday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and winners have now been notified.

As has been the case in previous years, developers between the ages of 13 and 17 must have their tickets purchased by a parent or guardian who is also an eligible member. All tickets sold are limited to the applicant and cannot be sold, resold, or transferred.

Expected Announcements

IOS 11

Apple is rumored to be working on a social networking app that’s similar to Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, focusing on giving users a way to share video. The app will let users record video, make edits, add doodles, and send it to friends.

Apple’s goal is to make capturing video simple and easy with one-handed video controls and a streamlined editing process.

We don’t know exactly when Apple will unveil its social networking app, but if development continues, it could be introduced as part of iOS 11.

There are also rumors suggesting Apple has some iPad-specific updates in the works, and with so little focus on the iPad in iOS 10, iOS 11 could include these rumored additions. Specifically, Apple is said to be working on expanded Apple Pencil support for the iPad Pro, which would be combined with hardware improvements to introduce features like smoother on-screen zooming, panning, and scrolling.

Additional detail about iOS 11 will likely come out in the months ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference.

MACOS 10.13

2017 will bring the second iteration of the macOS operating system, which was updated from the traditional “OS X” nomenclature in 2016. We don’t yet know what to expect from macOS 10.13, but it will undoubtedly feature another name that reflects the California landscape.

TVOS 11 AND WATCHOS 4

Alongside iOS 11 and macOS 10.13, we will also likely see new versions of tvOS and watchOS. We have no hints on what to expect from the updates as of yet, but both operating systems will likely continue to receive features that heavily integrate with iOS.

HARDWARE – SIRI SPEAKER

A recent rumor has suggested Apple’s work on an Echo-like smart speaker with Siri and AirPlay could potentially debut in 2017, perhaps as early as June, meaning an announcement would come at WWDC.

The device has been described as “fat” like a Google Home with a concave top that has built in controls, and it could include some form of Beats technology. It will run a variant of iOS. Previous rumors have suggested such a device would serve as a home hub for controlling smart appliances.

‘Steve Jobs’ Movie

 In theaters on October 9


Overview

On October 24, 2011, just weeks after former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer, Walter Isaacson released his best-selling biography, “Steve Jobs.” The book was crafted from more than forty interviews Isaacson had with Jobs over the course of two years, and it provided a deep, introspective look into the life of the man responsible for turning Apple into the world’s most valuable company.

It also provided an honest look at Jobs — Isaacson conducted over a hundred interviews with Jobs’ family members, friends, colleagues, competitors, and enemies — giving the clearest picture yet of the kind of man that Steve Jobs was.

Before Isaacson even published the book, Sony, knowing that it would be an undeniable hit, acquired the rights to produce a moviebased on the biography, and that’s the basis for the “Steve Jobs” film.

A lot of big names are attached to the movie, which is said to be a serious drama that covers three of Jobs’ product launch events. Aaron Sorkin, famous for writing “The West Wing,” “Newsroom,” “Moneyball,” and “The Social Network,” wrote the screenplay, and Danny Boyle, known for films like “127 Hours” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” will direct.

Michael Fassbender, best known as Magneto in the latest “X-Men” movies, will star as Steve Jobs, and Seth Rogen, from “The Interview” and other comedic movies, will play Steve Wozniak.

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Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs and Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak during the filming of the Mac product launch, via The Daily Mail
The movie is currently being filmed in various locations around Silicon Valley and is set to be released in theaters on October 9, 2015.

Trailers

The first teaser trailer for the Steve Jobs movie was released on May 17, giving us our first real glimpse at Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. The trailer also depicts Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley.

 

In July, three months ahead of the launch of the movie, Universal released the first official full-length trailerfor the Steve Jobs movie. Like the teaser trailer, it offers a look at how the stars of the movie are fitting into their respective roles and hints at the tone of the film, focusing on Steve Jobs’ tense interactions with employees and his strained relationship with his daughter.

 

 

Movie Plot (Spoiler Alert)

Across several interviews, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has divulged multiple details about the Steve Jobs movie. It consists of three real-time scenes, with each portion of the film giving a behind-the-scenes look at three major product launches. At the end of each product launch there will also be a scene that features a flashback to an earlier time, potentially showing snippets of the garage of Steve Jobs’ childhood home where the Apple I was first built, the Apple boardroom where Jobs clashed with then-CEO John Sculley, and a dinner with Sculley.

These flashback scenes may be woven into the story through a plot device that will see Jobs being interviewed throughout the film by Joel Pforzheimer (played by John Ortiz), a GQ magazine journalist.

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Steve Jobs at his home in Palo Alto in 1985
According to Aaron Sorkin, the film will cover the launch of the original Mac, the NeXT Computer, and the iMac, three of Jobs’ most important product launches.

Sorkin has said he aimed to avoid the natural “cradle-to-grave” structure of typical movie based on a biography, so it’s not known if the movie will be linear — starting off with the launch of the first Mac, moving on to the NeXT Computer, and ending with the launch of the iMac, but below is a look at the product launches that will be featured in the movie and a few other details Sorkin has shared on the film’s plot.

It’s important to note that while the videos below depict the public-facing version of Jobs’ product launches, the movie will be much more in-depth, covering not only the launches themselves but the preparation for each product launch that was covered in Isaacson’s book, with behind-the-scenes interactions between Jobs and the people around him like employees, family, and members of the media.

MAC

The launch of the original Mac took place in 1984 at a shareholders meeting held at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California on the grounds of De Anza College, where film crews have already been shooting. In the video below depicting the launch, a young Jobs shows the Mac to shareholders after playing the famous “1984” Mac ad that had begun airing on television just a few days earlier.

Amid wild applause, Jobs, dressed in a black suit with a bowtie (an outfit Fassbender has already been photographed in), formally announced the new Mac: “There have only been two milestone products in our industry: the Apple II in 1977 and the IBM PC in 1981. Today, one year after Lisa, we are introducing the third industry milestone product: Macintosh.”

 

The lead-up to the launch of the Macintosh was tense, because Apple engineers like Andy Hertzfeld were scrambling to finish writing the code for the computer. Even up until the night before the event, Jobs was calling for tweak after tweak to make the presentation perfect.

NEXT COMPUTER

The NeXT Computer, commonly called “The Cube” for its black, cube-shaped design, was first introduced in 1988, three years after Jobs was forced out of Apple. Priced at $6,500, it was unveiled at a gala event at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. It was Steve Jobs’ first major appearance in many years as he had largely disappeared from the public eye after leaving Apple.

Jobs was described as working the crowd “like an entertainer” during the event, a showy affair with “all the subtlety of a Hollywood premiere” that included a duet between the NeXT Computer and a violinist.

Prior to the unveiling of the NeXT Computer, Steve Jobs obsessed over every detail of the event, spending afternoons with Macintosh graphic designer Susan Kare, who helped him prepare slides. He oversaw the lunch menu and was personally resonsible for the invitation list.

3,000 people attended the NeXT Computer debut, but a bitter Jobs didn’t invite any Apple employees to see the computer, which he said would “revolutionize” the computer industry. Video of the NeXT Computer launch is not available, but some of Jobs’ enthusiasm for NeXT can be seen in the demo video below.

 

 

IMAC

The iMac made its debut in 1998, as a colorful egg-shaped computer called the “iMac G3,” an all-in-one machine that combined the display with a processor, optical drive, and more. The iMac marked a radical redesign of the Mac line and was the first product designed by now-famous Apple designer Jony Ive.

Launched just one year after Jobs returned to a struggling Apple, the iMac was seen as the product that would “save” the company. Because it marked a symbolic new beginning for Apple, Jobs opted to hold the iMac unveiling at the Flint Center, the same place where the original Macintosh was shown to investors for the first time.

The unveiling of the iMac was dramatic (seen beginning at minute 16 in the video below), with Jobs comparing it to a typical PC of the time. “It looks like it’s from another planet. A good planet. A planet with better designers,” he said.

 

As with the previous two product launches, the time before the launch of the iMac was fraught with tension as Jobs aimed to get every aspect of the debut perfect. He obsessed over the lighting, and practiced the major unveiling over and over again, drawing out rehearsals until every last thing was right.

OTHER DETAILS

Sorkin has said Steve Jobs will be portrayed as “part-hero, part anti-hero” in the movie and that Jobs was a “fascinating guy.” Jobs’ daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, is said to play a major role in the movie, serving as the “heroine.”

Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Steve Jobs had a difficult relationship for many years, starting from the time she was born. Lisa’s mother was Jobs’ girlfriend Chrisann Brennan, and when she became pregnant, Jobs denied that he was the father of the baby. Jobs was uninvolved in Lisa’s life during her childhood, though he did have a hand in naming her “Lisa,” a name that he went on to use for the Apple Lisa.

After Jobs was ousted from Apple, he apologized to Chrisann and re-established a relationship with Lisa. When she was nine, the two were close enough that Jobs signed her birth certificate and had her name changed to Lisa Brennan-Jobs. The blossoming relationship between father and daughter will likely be a focal point of the film, serving to humanize the man who was often described by employees as a short-tempered, relentless perfectionist who obsessed over Apple products down to the last little detail.

 

A young Lisa Brennan-Jobs with Steve Jobs
According to Sorkin, Steve Jobs’ relationships are what drew him to the film. Jobs’ relationship with Lisa in particular intrigued him, and Sorkin was able to get Lisa Brennan to spend some time with him while he wrote the screenplay, even though she did not participate in Walter Isaacson’s book. For that reason, the movie may give even more insight into some of Jobs’ relationships than Isaacson’s book did.

THE ENDING

Aaron Sorkin has said his goal is to end the movie with the tagline from the Think Different ad campaign that Steve Jobs spearheaded, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones.”

Basically my goal is — I don’t remember if you remember the ad campaign he did, the think different campaign, here’s to the crazy ones, but if I can end the movie with that text, with that voiceover, if I can earn that ending then I’ll have written a movie I want to write.

Settings

In a leaked Sony email, Aaron Sorkin mentioned that the Steve Jobs movie could be filmed entirely in two auditoriums, a restaurant, and a garage. The auditoriums will be where the three product launches are filmed, while the restaurant and the garage will likely be sets where the aforementioned flashback scenes take place.

The “garage” refers to the garage of Steve Jobs’ childhood home in Los Altos, California, which film crews revamped with a retro 1970s look in early February ahead of filming at the location. The garage is where Jobs, Wozniak, and other early Apple employees famously assembled the first Apple I computers during Apple’s early years.

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The garage of Steve Jobs’ childhood home, via CNET’s James Martin
One of the auditoriums is the Flint Center, where Steve Jobs unveiled both the original Macintosh in 1984 and the iMac in 1998. Filming also took place at a restaurant in Berkeley, California. Other locations remain unknown as of yet, and it’s possible Sorkin’s “two auditoriums, a restaurant, and a garage” statement was a bit of an oversimplification, so there could be additional filming locations.

Based on casting information, there will also be scenes in a boardroom and a cafe, likely the settings for some of the flashbacks. The boardroom will likely depict Jobs’ ousting from Apple, and the cafe may be a scene depicting a dinner between Jobs, the Macintosh team, and John Sculley ahead of Steve Jobs first tenure at Apple.

In March, filming began at the San Francisco Opera House and the San Francisco Symphony Hall, where Steve Jobs unveiled the NeXT Computer in 1998. A prop poster from the set shows Fassbender as Jobs.

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According to one of the actors in the movie, when shooting the the film, the cast and crew would spend two weeks rehearsing and then two weeks shooting the movie at each location where the product unveilings took place. This shooting strategy “brought the actors together in an extraordinary way.”

Cast and Crew

Because the major focus of the movie is on a single character, the Steve Jobs film has a small cast. Aside from Jobs, other important characters in the movie include Steve Wozniak, Lisa Brennan-Jobs (as an adult and a child), and former Apple CEO John Sculley. The full cast is listed below:

Screenwriters – Aaron Sorkin, Walter Isaacson
Director – Danny Boyle
Steve Jobs – Michael Fassbender
Steve Wozniak – Seth Rogen
Joanna Hoffman (Macintosh marketing chief) – Kate Winslet
Andrea Cunningham (Macintosh marketing) – Sarah Snook
Chrisann Brennan – Katherine Waterston
John Sculley – Jeff Daniels
Andy Hertzfeld – Michael Stuhlbarg
Lisa Jobs (19) – Perla-Haney Jardine
Lisa Jobs (5) – Makenzie Moss
Avie Tevanian (NeXT engineer and Apple engineer) – Adam Shapiro
Burrell Smith (original Mac team member) – Bobby Ysip
Larry Tesler (Xerox scientist) – Scotty Wood
John Jandali (Jobs’ father) – Mihran Slougian
Joel Pforzheimer (Journalist who interviews Jobs) – John Ortiz

In early February, Universal put out a casting call for extras to be included in scenes being filmed at the Flint Center. More than 2,000 people showed up in 80s-inspired attire hoping to take part in the movie.

 

Film Troubles

Finding someone to play Steve Jobs was no easy feat, and the film shuffled through several leading actors before Michael Fassbender took on the role. Leonardo DiCaprio was the first actor attached to the movie, with early 2014 rumors suggesting he’d be playing Steve Jobs. In October of 2014, DiCaprio withdrew from the film.

Rumors soon suggested Christian Bale was in talks to play the role of Jobs, but he too declined to take on the role because he felt he was “not right for the part.” According to Aaron Sorkin, finding an actor was difficult because of the sheer demands of the role. “It’s a 181-page script, about 100 of it is that one character,” said Sorkin in an interview.

Before DiCaprio and Bale were attached to the movie, Aaron Sorkin had his heart set on Tom Cruise for the role, but clashed with director Danny Boyle on Cruise’s age. Other actors like Tobey Maguire and Matthew McConaughey expressed interest in playing the role of Steve Jobs, but ultimately, Danny Boyle campaigned for Michael Fassbender, who ended up accepting the job.

 

Michael Fassbender dressed as Steve Jobs, via The Daily Mail
During the ongoing struggle to find someone to play Steve Jobs, Sony eventually dropped the film after fighting with Danny Boyle about the filming schedule, but the movie was quickly picked up by Universal Pictures and filming got underway just a couple of months later.

In its early stages, there were also significant disagreements over who would direct the picture. Sony producers wanted David Fincher, who directed popular movie The Social Network about the founding of Facebook. Fincher was initially attached to the film, but he ultimately ended up passing on the project due to payment disputes. There was also tension at Sony because Fincher was wanted on several projects, including a Cleopatra film starring Angelina Jolie that would have filmed at the same time.

Shortly after Fincher stepped down from the movie, Danny Boyle, who had directed Slumdog Millionaire,signed on to direct the Steve Jobs film.

The movie was plagued with issues early on, but once it Fassbender was cast in the role of Steve Jobs, production moved along quickly and is on schedule to be completed in just a matter of weeks. According to leaked emails, Aaron Sorkin estimated that filming could be completed in just four to five weeks, meaning initial editing could start as early as March.

Other Steve Jobs Movies

There have been several other movies that have covered the life of Steve Jobs, but Aaron Sorkin still believes his interpretation is worth watching. “I think that you could do ten more movies about Steve Jobs, and I think that if you lined up ten writers and said ‘write a movie about Steve Jobs,’ you’d get ten different movies, all of them worth going to see,” Sorkin said in an interview.

One of the first Steve Jobs movies, The Pirates of Silicon Valley, was filmed in 1999 while Steve Jobs was still alive. Noah Wyle played Steve Jobs and Joey Slotnick played Steve Wozniak. The movie, which aired on television, wasn’t entirely focused on Jobs — it also featured Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer.

 

Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs, next to Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates.
A second major movie, simply entitled Jobs, was released in 2013 with Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak. The movie received mixed reviews, and while Kutcher was praised for his portrayal of Jobs, many critics didn’t feel the film delved deep enough into Jobs’ life.

 

Ashton Kutcher compared to a young Steve Jobs

Release Date

Universal Pictures plans to release the Steve Jobs movie in theaters on Friday, October 9, 2015. It will see an early screening at the 53rd annual New York Film Festival on October 3, nearly a week ahead of the public release date.

‘Steve Jobs’ Movie Timeline

AUGUST2015
Aug 27First Poster for Upcoming ‘Steve Jobs’ Film Debuts
Aug 25Michael Stuhlbarg Speaks on Filming Steve Jobs Movie: ‘Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Done’
JULY2015
Jul 28’Steve Jobs’ Movie Chosen as Centerpiece for 53rd New York Film Festival
Jul 2Kate Winslet Calls ‘Steve Jobs’ Shoot ‘Extraordinary’, Compares Lengthy Takes to Stage Productions
Jul 1Universal Releases Official Full-Length Trailer for ‘Steve Jobs’ Movie
MAY2015
May 17Universal Releases First Trailer for ‘Steve Jobs’ Movie
MARCH2015
Mar 17Michael Fassbender Depicted as Steve Jobs in New Movie Set Poster
FEBRUARY2015
Feb 4Universal Pictures to Release Steve Jobs Movie on October 9
Feb 3Thousands Respond to Casting Call for Extras in Steve Jobs Film
Feb 2First Photos of Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs Surface
JANUARY2015
Jan 16Steve Jobs Biopic Filming Begins at Jobs’ Childhood Home in Los Altos
DECEMBER2014
Dec 19Kate Winslet May Take on Lead Female Role in Jobs Biopic
Dec 11Steve Jobs Biopic Filming to Take Place in ‘Two Auditoriums, a Restaurant and a Garage’
Dec 9Aaron Sorkin Envisioned Tom Cruise as Steve Jobs, Maguire and McConaughey Also Expressed Interest
Dec 9Jeff Daniels in Talks to Play Former Apple CEO John Sculley in Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie
Dec 8Natalie Portman Passes on Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie
NOVEMBER2014
Nov 26Natalie Portman May Take on Role in Universal’s Steve Jobs Biopic
Nov 24Universal Studios Picks Up Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie, Michael Fassbender to Star
Nov 19Sony Drops Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie, Universal May Take Over [Updated]
Nov 15Aaron Sorkin on Jobs Biopic: Casting Announcement Imminent, ‘Heroine’ Will Be Daughter Lisa

Apple Car

Apple’s electric vehicle project


What We Know

The Apple Car is what the media has taken to calling the electric car project that’s rumored to be in development at Apple under the code name “Project Titan.”

Apple is said to have hundreds of employees working on creating an electric vehicle at a secret location near its Cupertino headquarters. Little is known about the car, but sources have suggested it may resemble a minivan. The car may or may not include self-driving technology — rumors have thus far disagreed on this point.

The Apple Car is in the very early stages of development, and Apple is still in the process of recruiting people for the project and meeting with car makers and automotive suppliers. The project is being led by Steve Zadesky, VP of Product Design, who has Cook’s permission to recruit 1,000 employees, many from within Apple.

We don’t know what the Apple Car will look like, but based on Apple’s existing product line and its desire to expand iOS beyond the iPhone and the iPad, we can assume that any Apple-produced car will integrate deeply with the iPhone.

Apple Car History

In early February, a mysterious van leased to Apple was spotted driving around Bay Area streets. The van had a camera rig attached to it with multiple cameras, leading to speculation that Apple was using it to develop a product similar to Google Street View. More outlandish speculation ranged towards the possibility of a self-driving vehicle, but it was later determined that the vans have drivers.

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One of the mysterious vans driving around the Bay Area
Just days after the van was first spotted, an Apple employee emailed Business Insider, suggesting Apple was working on a project that would “give Tesla a run for its money.” The source said that Tesla employees were “jumping ship” to work on a project at Apple that was “too exciting to pass up.”

That tantalizing hint led several media sites to dig deep into Apple’s plans, and in mid-February, Financial Times learned that Apple was recruiting automotive technology and vehicle design experts to work in a “top-secret research lab.” That piece highlighted Apple’s hiring of former Mercedes-Benz Research and Development exec Johann Jungwirth, and pointed out Apple’s efforts to research automotive products.

Financial Times and other media sources speculated that Apple was perhaps developing an advanced software platform to build upon what it introduced with CarPlay because a full-on car project sounded unbelievable, but just hours later, The Wall Street Journal launched a figurative bomb. Apple is indeed working on creating an electric vehicle, said the site, a project that it started exploring last year.

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s sources, Apple has hundreds of employees working on designing a minivan-like electric vehicle under the code name “Project Titan.” Steve Zadesky, Apple VP of Product Design is leading the project and was given the go ahead by Apple CEO Tim Cook to recruit as many as 1,000 employees, many from within Apple, who are working on the project at a secret location near the company’s Cupertino campus. Apple executives have been meeting with contract manufacturers of high-end cars like Magna Steyr, who may work with Apple on creating the car if Apple’s project continues. Rumors have disagreed on whether or not the cars will include self-driving technology.

Some rumors have suggested Apple spoke to BMW about using BMW’s electric i3 body as the base for the Apple Car, but those talks reportedly ended without a deal. The i3 is a small hatchback with a carbon fiber shell and could hint at the design direction Apple is aiming at for its car project. A second rumor has suggested Apple and BMW could resume talks in the future.

Apple has already begun sourcing test facilities for the Apple Car project, suggesting prototype vehicles may already exist or will soon exist.

Apple’s electric car plans are unrelated to the vehicles that have been seen driving around the United States and other countries, with Apple itself confirming that the vans are for a mapping project aimed at introducing a Google Street View competitor.

In March of 2015, Apple expanded the trademark coverage of the “Apple” name and Apple logo in Switzerland and Mexico to include vehicles, but various other trademark applications over the years have included protection under International Class 12 (covering vehicles and their accessories) so it is not clear if the new trademark expansion is related to the Apple Car.

Recruitment Efforts

Apple is said to have a team of about 200 employees working on the Apple Car, but its goal is to have up to 1,000 employees on the project.

Over the course of the last several months, Apple has been recruiting employees from the automotive industry and other car-related fields, like workers with specialties in battery technology.

Some employees on the team have previously worked for major companies like Tesla, Ford, and GM, while others have been recruited from smaller companies like A123 Systems, MIT Motorsports, Ogin, Autoliv, Concept Systems, and General Dynamics.

High-profile recent Apple hires from Tesla include former mechanical engineering manager David Nelson, former senior powertrain test engineer John Ireland, and former Tesla head recruiter Lauren Ciminera, who may be working to recruit additional employees for the car project.

Other notable hires include five employees from A123 Systems, a company that specializes in producing batteries for electric vehicles. Apple faced a lawsuit (now-settled) from A123 Systems over the poached employees, several of whom had expertise in lithium ion batteries designed for electric vehicles. The company’s former CTO, Mujeeb Ijaz, is one of Apple’s highest profile hires. Ijaz led a team responsible for research and development at A123 Systems, and prior to that, he worked at Ford as an electric and fuel cell vehicle engineering manager.

Apple has also recruited two former Ford engineers and an engineer that came from General Motors, and it has been poaching battery experts from Samsung. Apple is likely to continue making high-profile hires over the coming months as it works to build its car development team.

In mid-2015, Apple hired Doug Betts, who previously served as the Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group, where he was the global head of operations leading product service and quality. Betts may be part of the operations team working on Apple’s car project.

Apple has also been hiring individuals with expertise in autonomous vehicles, such as Tesla Motors engineer Jamie Carlson, who worked on Tesla’s autonomous vehicle firmware project, and Paul Furgale, a researcher with specialization in autonomous vehicles.

Apple has also hired Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen engineer, Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, Xianqiao Tong, who developed driver assistance systems for NVIDIA, Sanjai Massey, a Ford engineer who worked on connected and autonomous vehicles, Stefan Weber, a Bosch engineer who worked on driver assistance systems, and Lech Szumilas, a Delphi research scientist with former expertise in autonomous vehicles.

Secret Headquarters

Several of the rumors about the Apple Car have included details suggesting Apple employees are working on the project at a top secret location in the Bay Area. Recently discovered information indicates that Apple’s car campus might be located in Sunnyvale, California, just minutes from the company’s main 1 Infinite Loop Campus in Cupertino.

Apple reportedly has a shell company at the site, SixtyEight Research. SixtyEight Research claims to be a market research firm, but has received city permits for the construction of an “auto work area” and a “repair garage.”

It is not known if the rumors of the car project being housed in Sunnyvale are accurate, but based on past information, development on the car is indeed taking place at a secret location outside of the company’s main campus.

In the May of 2015, Apple began looking into secure facilities in the Bay Area where an Apple Car prototype could potentially be tested. The company is said to have met with officials at GoMentum Station in the East Bay to discuss potential use of the facilities. GoMentum Station is a retired naval base that’s used as a secure test facility for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Tesla Relationship

In early 2014, rumors suggested that Apple had considered purchasing electric car manufacturer Tesla, after the company’s head of acquisitions, Adrian Perica, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Musk later confirmed that Tesla “had conversations” with Apple, but declined to comment on whether those conversations revolved around an acquisition. At the time, he said that an acquisition of Tesla by any company was “very unlikely” because he wanted to stay super focused on the goal of creating an affordable electric car.

Apple and Tesla acquisition talks seemed improbable in early 2014, but now that news of an Apple Car has leaked, it seems somewhat more likely that Tesla and Apple did potentially mull over the possibility of an acquisition.

Elon Musk has said that were there a scenario where an acquisition would further Tesla’s goal of an affordable electric vehicle, he would consider it.

If there was a scenario where it seemed like it would be more likely that we would be able to create the mass market sort of affordable, compelling car then possibly it would make sense to entertain those discussions. I don’t currently see any scenario that would improve that probability, so that’s why I think it’s very unlikely.

Mapping Project

The Apple-leased Dodge Caravans with equipment-laden roofs that were spotted driving around the Bay Area a few months ago have now been seen all over the United States and in some other countries as well, suggesting work on the Apple’s mapping project is progressing.

We’ve added some of the van sightings that MacRumors readers have sent to us on the map below (those with pictures). You can click on each pin to see a photo or video. Want to contribute? Send us a photo of an Apple van along with where you saw it.

Apple has confirmed the vans are being used to “collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps” such as Street View-like imagery. Some early speculation had suggested the vans were part of Apple’s electric car project, but it has been clear for quite some time that this was not the case. The vans have commonly been seen in residential areas, including on dead-end streets, suggesting they are intentionally covering the full lengths of streets for mapping purposes.

Release Date

Apple often works on projects that never make it to market, so there’s a good chance that its car plans could be shelved or used in other ways, such as the development of a new in-car platform, but it’s also possible, given the size of the team, that the company is committed to bringing a car to market. At this early stage, it’s impossible to determine whether the project will continue or when a car might launch, but it’s safe to say that an Apple Car is unlikely to see a release for several years to come.

According to one rumor, Apple is said to be pushing for a 2020 production date for the car, launching it after a five-year development period.

Apple Car Timeline

Roundup Last Updated
AUGUST2015
Aug 21Apple Hiring Autonomous Vehicle Experts, Including Tesla Engineer Now Working on ‘Special Projects’
Aug 21Mercedes-Benz Maker Remains Open to ‘Different Types’ of Collaboration With Apple
Aug 14Apple in Discussions With Bay Area Test Track Focused on Self-Driving Cars
Aug 13Apple’s Marc Newson Believes Automotive Design is Lacking Progress
JULY2015
Jul 31Apple, BMW Could Resume Talks Over Possible Apple Car Partnership ‘At a Later Stage’
Jul 24New Report Says Apple Was in Talks to Use BMW i3 as Basis for Electric Car Project
Jul 20Apple Continues Hiring Automotive Experts, Possibly for Rumored ‘Titan’ Car Project
MAY2015
May 13Apple and A123 Systems Nearing Settlement in Battery Engineer Poaching Lawsuit
MARCH2015
Mar 13Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ Car Research May Be Headquartered at Leased Sunnyvale Campus
Mar 5BMW Denies Report of Electric Car Discussions With Apple
Mar 2Apple Expands Company Trademarks to Cover Vehicles, but Similar Filings Date Back to 2003
FEBRUARY2015
Feb 23Apple Looking to Hire Samsung Battery Experts and Other High-Tech Employees
Feb 19Apple Aiming to Begin Electric Car Production in 2020
Feb 19Apple’s Automotive Team Includes Former Tesla, Ford and GM Employees
Feb 18Apple Facing Lawsuit for Poaching Key Battery Engineering Employees From A123 Systems
Feb 18Former GM CEO on Apple Car: ‘They Have No Idea What They’re Getting Into’
Feb 15Mysterious Apple Van Captured on Video in Palo Alto Residential Neighborhood
Feb 14Apple’s Automobile Project Said to Include Self-Driving Cars
Feb 13Hundreds of Apple Employees Working On Apple-Branded Electric Vehicle
Feb 13Apple Recruiting Automotive Experts to Work in ‘Top-Secret Research Lab’

Apple TV

product-productNew set-top box to be unveiled September 9.


Apple TV Overview

First introduced in 2007, Apple’s set-top box has always been described as a “hobby project” for the company. Designed to provide consumers with access to movies, TV shows, sports, music, and more, the device has never been a top seller. Despite that fact, Apple has continually supported the Apple TV, introducing new versions on a regular basis.

apple_tv_roundup

Over the course of the last three years, Apple has taken an even greater interest in the Apple TV, heavily boosting its functionality through both content offerings and hardware improvements. In addition to content from the iTunes Store, the Apple TV now offers more than40 different channels, ranging from HBO GO to Netflix, with further deals said to be in the works.

Apple’s growing focus on content deals, along with specific comments from Steve Jobs on the company’s interest in the television arena, has spurred countless rumors questioning the future of the device. Speculation has suggested that the Apple TV could be expanded into a gaming device, a cable box replacement, a full-blown television set, or a combination of all three.

Though the exact future of the Apple TV is still up in the air, it is clear that Apple has ambitious plans for both the device and its ultimate role in the television industry. As Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeated multiple times, television remains an area of “intense interest” for the company.

The most recent rumors have suggested that the next step for the Apple TV is a new set-top box that’s accompanied by a web-based streaming television service. The updated Apple TV is said to include a slimmer design, an A8 processor, additional storage, Siri support, a touch-based remote, and a full app store for downloading apps and games. Apple is also developing a “TVKit” SDK for developers, allowing them to create apps for the set-top box.

 

Apple was originally expected to introduce a revamped Apple TV set-top box and a new television serviceat its Worldwide Developers Conference, but neither product was ready for debut. More recent rumors say Apple is planning to release the new Apple TV in September, alongside new iPhones.

Though the Apple TV is expected to launch this fall, the launch timeline for Apple’s rumored television subscription service is less clear. Apple has reportedly not yet inked all of the deals it needs to debut the service and it will not be released until 2016.

The Apple TV will be introduced at Apple’s iPhone-centric event, set to take place on Wednesday, September 9 in San Francisco. The Apple TV will likely ship out to consumers shortly after it is unveiled, in mid-September.

What’s Next for the Apple TV

Apple’s work on a full television set has been officially shelved for the time being, but the company is continuing to work on revolutionizing television through a redesigned Apple TV and an accompanying subscription television service.

While the Apple TV was expected to debut at WWDC, its release has been pushed back to September. Rumors have suggested the updated Apple TV will be a “significant overhaul” of the existing version, with support for Siri and an App Store.

It’s said to feature Apple’s A8 chip and a “dramatic increase” in internal storage. With the addition of Siri, the Apple TV will be able to control HomeKit-enabled home automation devices via voice. Previous rumors have confirmed that the Apple TV will serve as a home automation hub for HomeKit devices when they launch. It will not feature 4K video streaming, but it will come with a remote that includes a “touch pad” for navigating through the Apple TV interface. The touch pad may be similar to the navigation tools in the Remote app for iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple’s rumored subscription television service was also not ready to launch at WWDC, with Apple nowplanning to launch it in 2016. The service is said to be a web-based offering that will bundle approximately 25 channels for $30 to $40 a month. Apple is in talks with several content providers, including ABC, CBS, Fox, Disney, Viacom, and Discovery.

Based on the rumors that have circulated, Apple’s television strategies have continually shifted over the past few years as it has failed to establish necessary deals to fulfill its ambitious television plans. In 2014, Apple reportedly scaled back on its plans for a television service due to ongoing negotiation troubles, but the continued adoption of other web-based television services may pave the way for Apple’s future service.

In January of 2014, Apple revamped its online storefront, adding a new category for the Apple TV alongside the categories for the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod product lines. The Apple TV’s new prominence on Apple’s website suggests that it may be moving out of the “hobby” status that it has long been assigned by Apple executives.

In May of 2014, Apple’s iTunes chief Eddy Cue said today’s TV experience “sucks” and “has a long way to go.” He confirmed that Apple is continuing to work on a way to improve television, but a fix is “complicated.”

The Apple TV Today

Apple’s third-generation Apple TV was originally released in March of 2012, featuring the smaller box design that debuted with the second-generation Apple TV, 1080p video support, and redesigned software. This latest generation box received a minor update in January 2013, adding a smaller A5 chip but leaving core functionality unchanged.

In addition to playing movies, music, podcasts, and television shows obtained through iTunes, the Apple TV offers content from a multitude of third-party channels. It also supports AirPlay, allowing iOS devices and computers running iTunes to send streaming music to the television. iOS devices and Macs running OS X Mountain Lion can also take advantage of AirPlay Mirroring.

Now priced at $69, the box supports Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. It includes an Ethernet port, a Micro-USB port, HDMI, and Optical audio.

Current channels in the U.S. include iTunes Movies/TV Shows, iTunes Music, iTunes Radio, Podcasts, Photos/Videos, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, Disney, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Smithsonian, Sky News, WatchESPN, MLB.tv, NBA, NHL GameCenter, Major League Soccer, Vevo, Qello, WSJ Live, The Weather Channel, Crunchyroll, Yahoo Screen, PBS, ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, KORTV, Red Bull TV, WWE Network, ACC/Campus Insiders, A&E, the History Channel, the Lifetime Channel, ABC News, PBS Kids, AOL On, Willow, CNBC, Fox Now, NFL Now, Showtime Anytime, Beats Music, FXNOW, A&E’s Fyi, Hallmark’s Feeln, CBS News, UFC, The Scene, Fusion, Dailymotion, 120 Sports, Tennis Channel Everywhere, Ted, Tastemade, Young Hollywood, CNNGo, HBO Now, NBC Sports Live Extra, CBS Sports,USA Now, National Geographic, Showtime, and iMovie Theater, designed to work with the iMovie app.

The Apple TV’s latest major software update, released alongside iOS 8, added a new look for the device’s on-screen interface, bringing new icons designed to resemble the icons in iOS 7, with a flatter, less glossy appearance.

The update also included support for several features that were built into iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, like Family Sharing and iCloud Photo Support. It also brought a new Beats Music channel to the Apple TV.

It has been well over 1,000 days since the last official update Apple TV, suggesting that the product is overdue for a refresh. For reference, there was a 553-day gap between the second-generation Apple TV and the third-generation Apple TV. It continues to remain unclear when the Apple TV might see an update.

Content Struggles

Hints that Apple could be working to become a major player in the television broadcasting industry first surfaced in 2009, when The Wall Street Journal reported that both CBS and Walt Disney were considering participating in a subscription television service offered by Apple.

Such a service would potentially replace cable packages, allowing consumers to untether themselves from existing cable providers and existing subscription packages, which do not allow for a la carte channel purchases. CBS CEO Les Moonves later confirmed that CBS had indeed been in talks with Apple about a subscription service, but had ultimately declined due to fears that providing content to Apple would interrupt existing revenue streams, an issue that Apple has faced time and time again in its ongoing content negotiations over the years.

The Wall Street Journal further announced in 2011 that Apple was in the process of developing “new technology to deliver video to televisions,” as talk of an a la carte subscription service continued, but still,negotiations remained difficult and Apple’s plans failed to come to fruition. The company did, however, continue to grow its app library, adding content options like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Because the deals to facilitate a subscription service that skirted cable companies all together were not going to materialize, Apple began to shift focus, working with cable companies instead of attempting to compete against them. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was aiming to wedge itself between cable companies and consumers, designing a set-top box to play live television in lieu of a traditional cable box.

Apple was said to be in talks with cable providers like Comcast and Time Warner over a service that would see Apple combining cable content with its own interface and additional cloud-based DVR functionality, largely redefining the television experience to erase the distinction between live and “On Demand” television content, allowing users to pick and choose content on Apple’s terms.

Deals have not come easy for Apple, due to disagreements over control and and pricing. As with all of its products, Apple wants strict access to the user experience, which cable providers are reluctant to hand over.watchespn_apple_tv

In 2013 and 2014, Apple continued to pursue dealswith both cable companies and content providers, managing to secure content from companies like HBO, and ESPN through cooperation with cable companies. Users can access the content via their Apple TVs, channeled through Apple’s user interface, but a cable subscription is still required. While Apple once aimed to replace cable companies, it now appears to be focused on enhancing existing television services instead.

A 2013 rumor suggested that Apple was also attempting to negotiate with cable companies and networks to allow customers to skip commercialswhen viewing content on the Apple TV, with Apple later compensating distributors for the lost revenue. This could potentially be rolled into an entirely commercial-free subscription TV service, or tied in to Apple’s earlier ambition to combine live TV with recorded content.

Of particular interest in Apple’s content enhancement endeavor is a potential deal with Time Warner, which could be Apple’s first major move towards positioning itself as a true cable box replacement. Under the terms of the deal, Apple would provide a Time Warner Cable app on the Apple TV, which would allow Time Warner subscribers to watch live television through the Apple TV.

A partnership with Time Warner would likely entice other cable companies to agree to similar deals, which, in turn, would give Apple access to enough content to reasonably redesign and re-imagine existing content delivery systems, skyrocketing the popularity of its former hobby project.

In February of 2014, The Wall Street Journal indicated Apple had significantly scaled back on its TV ambitions. While the company was originally rumored to be seeking an a-la-carte cable service with advanced cloud functionality that would disrupt the traditional cable industry, it has abandoned those plans following continued difficult negotiations with content providers.

Instead, Apple is said to be seeking a more modest arrangement that would possibly see the company providing content from existing cable companies overlaid with an Apple TV-style interface or, as more recently rumored, creating a possible web-based television service that would bypass cable companies all together, offering content from programmers over the Internet.

Apple made the first baby steps towards such a service with the March 2015 announcement of anexclusive partnership with HBO, which will see the Apple TV and Apple’s iOS devices as the sole products where HBO’s new “HBO Now” channel can be accessed for a three month period. HBO Now is HBO’s new Internet-based $14.99/month streaming service designed for cord cutters, and it makes HBO content available without a cable subscription for the first time. HBO Now launched on Tuesday, April 7.

When new subscribers sign up for HBO Now through the Apple TV, Apple collects 15 percent of the revenue from HBO. It has similar deals for other Apple TV channels in place, including Netflix.

HBO’s adoption of a web-based subscription service may spur other content providers to make cable-free content available, making it easier for Apple to eventually secure content deals that bypass cable companies. The nascent shift towards web-based television is very promising for the company’s ambitious television goals. Apple is still running into problems negotiating deals, and recent rumors have suggested Apple has clashed with Disney over how many Disney channels will be offered through Apple’s new TV service. Apple is hoping to offer a limited number to keep costs down, while Disney wants its full channel lineup to be available.

Just after the announcement of Apple’s partnership with HBO for HBO Now, rumors hit suggesting Apple may have finally secured the deals it needs to launch a streaming television service. According to reports, Apple will debut a streaming service with approximately 25 channels in late 2015 or 2016, partnering with ABC, CBS, Fox, and more. It’s said to cost $30 to $40 per month. Apple is also in talks with Discovery and Viacom, but has not approached Comcast/NBC about a deal.

One rumor has said that Apple managed to secure deals by offering to share subscriber information with content partners, providing data on viewers, what’s being viewed, and how long it is watched for. Apple is said to be asking its content partners to take on the job of streaming television shows and movies to its customers, handling the costs and the infrastructure associated with streaming content. Apple reportedly wants to leave infrastructure up to those who are familiar with it so Apple’s resources can go towards hardware and software development.

Apple is said to be asking networks to negotiate with local affiliates to secure streaming television deals. Apple wants to be able include local content in its television service, letting people access local news stations. Apple believes local content is important for the success of its service, and affiliates are reportedly being told they will be able to share the revenue generated from Apple’s streaming TV offering if they offer their feeds on the platform.

The Apple TV of the Future

ITV

Rumors of an Apple-branded television set have been circulating for many years, with prospective release timelines and production schedules shifting as time passes without a hint of an official product.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has been one of the most persistent Apple television advocates, first stating in 2009 that the company would develop a television set.

While Munster has long held on to his TV set beliefs, wider media interest in an Apple television set did not ramp up until 2011, when a former Apple employee revealed the company had entered into a partnershipto produce an Apple-branded television set.

Rumors further picked up later that same year when Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography revealed that Jobs had wanted to revolutionize the television industry, much like he transformed computers, music players, and phones. “I finally cracked it,” Jobs is quoted as saying. A television set would sync with iOS devices, Macs, and iCloud, and would do away with complex remotes, utilizing the “simplest user interface” imaginable.

Jobs’ television revelation contrasted with an earlier statement from then Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who declared in 2010 that Apple had “no interest being in the TV market,” suggesting sentiments at the company had changed between 2010 and 2011.

“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” [Jobs] told me. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.”…”It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”Walter Issacson – ‘Steve Jobs’

In the wake of Jobs’ statement, speculation about an Apple-branded television set hit an all-time high. Just days after the now-famous TV quote was published, Nick Bilton of The New York Times pointed to an anonymous Apple source who stated a television was a “guaranteed product for Apple,” and that it had been in the works for years.

In January of 2012, multiple TV prototypes were said to be in the locked-down design studio of Jony Ive and in December of 2012, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Apple was indeed in the early stages of testing television designs, though a television set was not yet a “formal project.”

Unfortunately, Apple’s testing did not result in a product worth manufacturing, and as of 2014, Apple ceased its work on developing a full-blown high-resolution television set, putting the project on ice. Apple was reportedly unable to come up with a feature set compelling enough to warrant entry into the highly competitive television market, despite years of research.

Before shutting down its television testing and reassigning the employees who worked on the project, Apple experimented with several different concepts and features. One of its early ideas was a transparent display that used lasers to display an image, but it used too much power and resulted in poor image quality.

kinect_disney

Another feature Apple tested was a set of sensor-equipped cameras for a video calling feature similar to FaceTime, and there were also rumors that the company was looking into Kinect-like sensors,touch-based remotes, and Siri integration, some of which are now rumored for Apple’s upcoming set-top box.

Over the years, rumors about the potential television set even ranged into the fantastical with one analyst claiming that Apple would introduce an “iRing” to facilitate motion control of the device. He also claimed that an iTV could interface with Apple’sApple Watch and that it would ship with auxiliary “mini iTV” screens similar to existing iPads.

When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years. […]

It’s a market that we see that has been left behind. You know, I used to watch “The Jetsons” as a kid. I love “The Jetsons.” We’re living “The Jetsons” with this. It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.Tim Cook on NBC’s ‘Rock Center’ – December 6, 2012

I don’t want to go into detail, as you might have guessed, but it continues to be an area of great interest for us. And I do think the Apple TV product and the relationships we’ve built around it and the work we’ve done technically around it provide a lot more knowledge that we would have had without that product. And frankly, the popularity of it has become much larger than we would have thought.Tim Cook at D11 Conference – May 28, 2013

It is not clear if Apple will revisit its television project in the future, but there’s always the possibility that Apple will reevaluate its plans as technology improves. Though work on a television set has ceased for the time being, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said time and time again that television remains an area of intense interest for Apple.

Instead of developing a full television set, Apple is focusing its efforts on its Apple TV set-top box and a streaming subscription-based cable-free television product that will deliver a selection of channels to customers for $30 to $40 per month. Offering both the content and the delivery method gives Apple a way to revolutionize television without having to develop an actual television set and enter a highly competitive market.

Apple TV Timeline

AUGUST2015
Aug 30Next-Generation Apple TV Said to Launch in October for $149 or $199
Roundup Last Updated
Aug 28Apple TV Said to Have Motion Sensitive Remote Control Targeted at Casual Gamers
Aug 27Apple Invites Media to September 9 Event: ‘Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint’
Aug 20Apple TV Fell to Fourth Most Popular Streaming Media Device in U.S. in 2014
Aug 13Apple Live TV Service Not Coming Until 2016
Aug 12Apple Recalling Small Number of Third-Generation Apple TVs Due to Faulty Part
Aug 7Apple to Debut New iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV on September 9
JULY2015
Jul 30Apple Plans to Debut New Apple TV in September With Touch-Based Remote, Full App Store
Jul 14Apple Enlists Networks to Negotiate With Local Affiliates in Streaming TV Talks
Jul 7’Showtime’ Launches on Apple TV for $10.99 per Month
Jul 6How to Customize Apple TV to Show Only the Channels You Use
JUNE2015
Jun 9Apple Bumps Developer Test Device Limits to 100 Per Device Type, Including Apple TV
Jun 4Apple Dominates Authenticated ‘TV Everywhere’ Streaming With 62% Market Share
Jun 3Redesigned Apple TV Not Ready for WWDC Debut
Jun 3Showtime’s Standalone Streaming Service Set to Premiere on Apple TV [Updated]
Jun 3Apple TV Confirmed as Central Hub for Remotely Controlling HomeKit-Enabled Accessories
Jun 2Apple TV Gains New National Geographic Channel
Jun 1Apple Won’t Debut Subscription Television Service at WWDC
MAY2015
May 27CBS Likely to Reach Streaming TV Deal With Apple, Met With Eddy Cue Last Week
May 22Apple’s Desire to Include Local Stations in Streaming TV Service Could Delay Launch Beyond WWDC

WatchOS 2

watchos2WatchOS 2, the next version of the software that runs on the Apple Watch, is coming in the fall of 2015.


What’s New in watchOS 2

watchOS is the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch, much like iOS runs on iPhones and iPads and OS X runs on Macs. While watchOS has taken design cues from iOS 8, it’s been built from the ground up for the Apple Watch, with features and apps that take advantage of all of the hardware in the device.

Apps like Activity and Workout read data from the accelerometer and the heart rate sensor, while communication features let users send sketches, heartbeats, and animated emoji. Notifications are beamed from the iPhone and delivered with small haptic taps on the wrist, while Glances offer up quick tidbits of information that can be digested in just a few seconds.

As the Apple Watch has only been available for a few months, much of what watchOS can do may still be unclear to users who are new to the device. To learn more about watchOS features, make sure to check out our dedicated Apple Watch roundup.

The Apple Watch shipped with watchOS 1.0 and the operating system has received one minor update to introduce performance improvements and bug fixes. Apple has previewed the next-generation Apple Watch software, watchOS 2, and seeded five developer betas of the software thus far.

Introduced at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference, watchOS 2 brings a lot of important new functionality to the Apple Watch. Most of what’s included is aimed at developers, but the new tools that developers have to work with will result in better third-party apps for all of us.

watchOS 2 introduces support for native apps, which means apps will be able to run entirely on the Apple Watch without relying on the iPhone. It also allows developers to access the device’s built-in heart rate sensor, Taptic Engine, accelerometer, and microphone, and build third-party complications to display information on the watch face.

Along with these new developer tools, watchOS 2 brings two new watch faces and a feature called Time Travel, displaying future complication info like weather and calendar events. watchOS 2 also introduces a new Nightstand mode that’s activated while the Apple Watch is charging, plus it improves Mail, adds support for FaceTime Audio, allows multiple colors for sketches, and lets users add more than 12 friends.

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Siri can do more with watchOS 2, such as starting workouts and opening up Glances, and iOS 9 features like Transit directions in Maps will be available on the watch. With watchOS 2, our watches are also safer from theft thanks to the addition of Activation Lock.

New Feature Additions

WATCH FACES

Apple’s not ready to let developers create third-party watch faces just yet, but watchOS 2 does introduce two new watch face options designed by Apple. The first is a photo watch face that takes advantage of the photos stored on your Apple Watch, letting you pick a photo or an album of photos to use as your watch face.

photowatchfaces-800x295

If you pick an album, the Apple Watch will display a different photo each time you lift your wrist, cycling through all of the available selections. If you pick a single photo, it’ll always show the same image.

The second watch face is a dynamic Time-Lapse face that displays videos shot over 24 hours in different locations around the world, including Hong Kong, London, Mack Lake, New York, Shanghai, and Paris. When you glance at your watch, the image will be different based on the time. For example, with the New York watch face, if you look at your watch at 10:00 a.m., you’ll see a sunny skyline. If you look at your watch at 10:00 p.m., it’ll be dark and you’ll see a skyline filled with lights.

timelapsewatchfaces-800x297

TIME TRAVEL

watchOS 2 introduces a new feature called Time Travel, which lets you turn the Digital Crown to turn time forwards or backwards to display future and past information on your Apple Watch.

As described by Apple, Time Travel is a useful feature for complications, which are the little tidbits of extra information (weather, calendar events, date, etc.) that are displayed on certain Apple Watch faces. With Time Travel, when the Digital Crown is turned, you’re able to check upcoming calendar events or weather forecasts right from the watch face.

NIGHTSTAND MODE

Nightstand mode is a new feature that’s activated whenever the Apple Watch is placed on its side when connected to the charger, allowing it to better function as an alarm clock. In this mode, the Apple Watch illuminates whenever the screen or Digital Crown is pressed, clearly displaying the time.

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Nightstand mode also changes the function of the buttons on the Apple Watch when used as an alarm. When an alarm sounds, the side button turns it off while the Digital Crown acts as a snooze button.

ACTIVATION LOCK

Apple’s iPhones and iPads have a built-in feature that prevents them from being reset and reactivated without an Apple ID password, effectively rendering them useless when stolen. A thief who’s obtained an iPhone is not able to reset the device to use it with another account, and with watchOS 2, the same principle applies to the Apple Watch.

activationlock

With the initial version of watchOS, it was possible to reset an Apple Watch and bypass the passcode, meaning a stolen Apple Watch could be paired with a new iPhone. That is no longer be the case with watchOS 2 — a stolen or misplaced Apple Watch is not be able to be wiped and resold as a fresh device, as the owner’s iCloud login is needed to reset the watch.

Feature Improvements

SIRI

Siri is able to answer more requests and do additional tasks with watchOS 2, like starting specific workouts with the command “Siri, start an 30-minute indoor run,” or “Siri, start a 45-minute outdoor walk.” Siri is also able to open specific Glances, even those that are not present in the Glances menu. If you want to get a quick look at Twitter but don’t have the Glance activated, you can still ask Siri to open the Twitter Glance.

iOS 9 brings transit information to Maps, and with watchOS 2, Siri is able to provide directions that include transit routes, as long as you’re in one of the cities where transit directions are available. Transit directions are available in the following places: Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C., and several cities in China.

Siri can also look up words in the dictionary and calculate tips on command.

mailsiriwatchos2

MAIL

In the original version of watchOS, Apple’s Mail app only allows users to view and organize email. With watchOS 2, Mail supports dictation, so you can send replies to email messages directly from your wrist. You can also reply with emoji or preset responses like in Messages.

SOCIAL FEATURES

watchOS 2 expands the number of friends you can add, allowing you to send sketches, heartbeats, emoji, and more to a longer list of contacts. This is done through multiple Friend screens, with each screen housing 12 contacts. Swapping between screens is done with a swipe. Each friend group can have a different name, with the organizing done through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone.

socialfeatureswatchos2

When using Digital Touch to send sketches, you can use more than one color with watchOS 2 instead of being limited to a single color.

FACETIME AUDIO

You can now accept FaceTime Audio calls on your Apple Watch, just as you would a regular phone call. You can’t answer FaceTime video calls, but you can send them to the iPhone or reject them. With the first version of watchOS, the Apple Watch simply ignored FaceTime.

NEW ACHIEVEMENTS

watchOS 2 adds new health and fitness achievements, with new trophy icons that can be shared with friends over social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

DISPLAY SLEEP PERIOD

During the beta testing period, Apple added a feature to the Apple Watch that keeps the display active and turned on for 70 seconds after it’s tapped. This new 70 second setting accompanies the original feature that kept the Apple Watch display on for 15 seconds after being tapped.

MUSIC

The Music app on the Apple Watch has been updated in watchOS 2 to take advantage of features in Apple Music, with a new interface that makes it easier to heart songs and control what’s playing. There’s also “Quick Play” setting that gives users an easy and fast way to access music on the iPhone.

IOS 9 FEATURES

New features being introduced alongside iOS 9 are also be available on the Apple Watch, including improvements to both Maps and Apple Pay. Though watchOS 2 introduces native apps, the new operating system and iOS 9 are still heavily linked.

As mentioned earlier, the Maps app in iOS 9 is gaining transit routing information, and that information is also available on the Apple Watch. Any directions obtained on the Apple Watch with watchOS 2 include transit directions in supported cities.

In iOS 9 and watchOS 2, the Passbook app is renamed “Wallet” to reflect Apple’s efforts to replace the traditional wallet with its new Apple Pay initiatives. Apple Pay will gain the ability to support both store loyalty cards and store credit cards when iOS 9 is released to the public in the fall.

With the Apple Watch, it’ll be possible to make payments in stores with supported store credit cards and scan supported loyalty cards. Stores like Kohl’s, JCPenney, Dunkin Donuts, and Panera Bread will be among the first to support these features.

Third-Party App Improvements

Some of watchOS 2’s biggest improvements are developer-oriented feature additions that hugely boost the functionality of third-party apps. Developers can not only create native apps, but also access a whole slew of hardware features that were previously restricted.

NATIVE APPS

watchOS 2 brings a long-awaited feature that’s going to make apps load more quickly and work more smoothly – native apps. With the first version of watchOS, all Apple Watch apps were powered by the iPhone, with only the app interface running on the Apple Watch.

Depending on the distance of the Apple Watch from the iPhone, it could take several seconds for an Apple Watch app to load, but with apps that are able to run more fully on the Apple Watch, apps are speedier. Third-party apps also have more functionality when an iPhone is not available, both due to new Wi-Fi features and the ability to run natively.

MORE HARDWARE ACCESS

In addition to being able to build native apps with watchOS 2, developers are also able to access a lot more of the device’s hardware, which means third-party apps can do a whole lot more.

Apps can access data from the accelerometer and the heart rate monitor for the first time, so third-party fitness apps are going to be as capable as Apple’s own Activity and Workout apps. Developers can also access the Taptic Engine, building custom haptic notifications and feedback into apps, and they can use the Digital Crown in new ways for their user interfaces.

Developers are also able to use the microphone for the first time to record audio directly on the Apple Watch, and there are new audio/video features that let full videos play directly on the watch, with audio. Apps that play short-form video, like Instagram and Vine, are able to use the new tools to play videos on the Apple Watch for the first time.

COMPLICATIONS

Apple isn’t ready to let developers create custom third-party watch faces for the Apple Watch, but better customization options for watch faces are available in watchOS 2 with third-party complications. Developers can create complications for their apps that can be displayed on certain watch faces, right alongside built-in complications that display information like weather and calendar events.

applewatchcustomcomplications

A third-party complication might let a user display flight information right on his or her watch face, get sports scores for a game, or see information from connected devices ranging from HomeKit products to cars. Third-party complications will work hand-in-hand with Time Travel, the feature mentioned above that will let users rewind and fast forward through the day to see what happened in the past or what’s happening in the future.

TETHERLESS WI-FI

watchOS 2 introduces Tetherless Wi-Fi, letting the Apple Watch communicate directly with known Wi-Fi hotspots. This is a developer-oriented feature that allows third-party apps to update and function even when the connected iPhone isn’t nearby. This uses a new WatchConnectivity feature, designed to improve the communication between the iPhone and the Apple Watch for better third-party app performance.

Release Date

watchOS 2 is currently available to registered developers who have installed iOS 9 on their iPhones, as watchOS is installed through iOS. WatchOS 2 will likely be released alongside iOS 9 shortly before the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus are available. We expect the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to launch on September 18, suggesting iOS 9 and watchOS 2 could come on September 16.

watchOS 2 Timeline

AUGUST2015
Aug 28Currys and PC World Gearing Up to Sell Apple Watch in UK
Aug 27Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn’t Portable Enough
Aug 27IDC Estimates Apple Watch Sales Totaled 3.6 Million in Second Quarter
Roundup Last Updated
Aug 26Apple Starts Selling Third-Party Apple Watch Accessories in Retail Stores
Aug 26Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable
Aug 25Best Buy Accelerating Apple Watch Rollout to All 1,050 Stores Amid Strong Demand
Aug 25HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing
Aug 21Questionable Rumor Points Towards Upcoming ‘Smart Bands’ For Apple Watch
Aug 20Apple Creates Massive Floral Window Installation at Selfridges to Promote Apple Watch
Aug 20Apple Watch Expands to Retail Locations Outside of Apple Stores in France
Aug 18’Square Cash’ Introduces Apple Watch App For Easy Money Transfers on the Wrist
Aug 18Apple Watch Users Embracing Apple Pay for Everyday Purchases
Aug 14Apple Begins Taking Orders for Standalone Modern Buckle Apple Watch Bands
Aug 14Apple Introduces New Apple Watch Link Bracelet Kit, L/XL Sport Bands to Fit Larger Wrists
Aug 14Apple Watch Now Available at Best Buy in Canada and Harvey Norman in Australia
Aug 6Apple Seeds Fifth WatchOS 2 Beta to Developers
Aug 6Microsoft Launches ‘Outlook’ App for Apple Watch
JULY2015
Jul 31Apple Supplier Numbers Suggest Apple Watch Sales Are Below Analyst Expectations
Jul 30Dashlane Launches One-Tap Password Changer for iPhone and Apple Watch
Jul 28Apple Watch Leading to Healthy Lifestyle Changes Among Early Adopters