WWDC 2017 Preview

On Monday, June 5th, Apple kicks off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). We continue to expect Apple’s next iPhone, coming this fall, to offer advanced augmented reality capabilities including 3D mapping (a key for AR). At WWDC, we’ll be looking for signs of these these new AR features in iOS 11.

Our survey work on the upcoming iPhone suggests that 23% of iPhone owners intend to upgrade, which compares to 15% that intended to upgrade to an iPhone 7 prior to its launch. Among those that plan to purchase the next iPhone, 26% indicate an interest in AR features compared to 16% among those that don’t plan to purchase the iPhone X. While we’re confident in the addition of AR features in the next phone, we don’t expect Apple to reveal new AR-related iPhone features when it introduces iOS 11 at WWDC. Those announcements will come in the fall when Apple launches the new device.

Here’s what we expect at WWDC:

  • iOS 11 (100% certainty). Apple will announce iOS 11 and bring new capabilities to iPhones and iPads. The question is: how much will iOS 11 tell us about Apple’s ambitions in augmented reality? Here’s a fun wish list of iOS 11 features from MacRumors.
  • Siri Home Assistant (60% certainty). The rumor mill has focused on the possibility of Apple debuting a digital assistant for the home based on Siri technology. While Apple TV has brought lots of Siri’s functions from the phone to the home, an always-on digital assistant makes a lot of sense for Apple. We see these devices driven by natural user interfaces like voice as the future of computing. And Apple has ground to make up in the market for digital assistants in the home.
  • 10.5” iPad Pro (10% certainty). Another rumor involves the release of a 10.5” iPad Pro, falling between the current 9.7” and 12.9” models. Unless the company does away with the iPad mini, as rumored, a third iPad Pro size is a bit of a head scratcher for us.
  • Updated MacBook Pros (50% certainty). Apple may introduce updated MacBook Pros based on Intel Kaby Lake processors. The latest MacBook Pro models were introduced in Nov. 2016 but did not leverage the latest Intel processors, which could be remedied at WWDC.

We’re hoping to see Apple make a big push into more natural, more immersive computing with the introduction of new voice- and AR-based developer tools for Apple devices. We’ll be there on June 5th to report back from WWDC.

Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest: artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality. From time to time, we will write about companies that are in our portfolio. Content on this site including opinions on specific themes in technology, market estimates, and estimates and commentary regarding publicly traded or private companies is not intended for use in making investment decisions. We hold no obligation to update any of our projections. We express no warranties about any estimates or opinions we make.