WWDC is historically when Apple reveals the features that will grace its next major software update. The idea being that it gives the developers time to incorporate some of the new capabilities into their respective apps. And, of course, to get users excited about what the next iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac will be capable of.
Occasionally there will be product announcements at WWDC but this is fundamentally a software event and one piece of software that we are almost certain to see is iOS 16. This, along with iPadOS 16, WatchOS 9, TVOS 16 and Mac OS... something, will be the main subject of Apple's keynote, scheduled for June 6.
While we don't know what this new software version will offer, rumors are already circulating around familiar subjects. Improvements to notifications, better health tracking, security and payment details. More outlandish rumors suggest that we might see functionality for a virtual reality headset in iOS16 but I have my doubts. I feel even if iOS16 will add support for this, we are unlikely to hear about it until the device is launched.
Short of anything concrete, I've put together a list of the things I'd like to see added in iOS 16 and its device counterparts. While there's no guarantee these will happen, I think there's a good chance for some of them.
1. Customizable lock screen
If there's one thing that makes Apple users jealous of their Android cousins, it's that custom lock screen. Yes, with iOS 15 you can swipe right to see all those handy widgets but wouldn't it be great to put the most important ones right on that main screen?
This doesn't feel like a massive ask as it would look much nicer than another Facebook notification or some crypto app telling you the value has tanked (again). We might still be a few generations away from seeing an always-on display on the iPhone but if you can have these widgets on the Apple watch face, why not on your phone?
2. EV route planning in Maps
CarPlay is a great feature for driving but when I'm in an electric car, Apple's Maps doesn't offer enough info. Instead, I have to switch to ABRP or Electrify America to work out the charging stations along my route and calculate how and when to charge.
Maps allows you to search for charging stations, so why not have an option to travel by EV that can add them as waypoints into your journey? While we're at it, let's allow waypoints in any journey rather than just point to point.
I don't just want this available when using Maps in CarPlay either. I do most of my planning before I get in the car, so I want to be able to put my vehicle details manually into the Maps app on my phone and plan my route. That way, when I get in the car, it's ready to go.
3. More widget choices
Widgets aren't just handy on the search display, they are handy to have among the regular app and folder views. Offering a wider range of widgets and stacks will provide more freedom to customize the look of our home screens but also allow us to put the things that matter most, front and center. Sometimes you just want a certain folder or app to be bigger if that's the one you use the most.
4. Universal messaging app
Okay, this is unlikely to happen but... how good would it be if all of your messaging could go to one place? Much like the Mail app, I'd love to connect my Whatsapp and Messenger to my Messages app, so that I just have one place to pick up all text communication. You could even link Slack in there as well for all the work chats.
Embracing other messaging services rather than isolating them is surely a better way to bring people closer to Apple's own iMessage service. And while you're at it, let's make iMessage available for Android too, so we don't have to deal with blue and green bubbles to try and work out if everyone got the message.
5. Health features
Could this be the year where we finally get glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch, providing easy monitoring for millions of diabetics? I really hope so, though I suspect getting non evasive readings to be accurate is still a challenge. In the meantime, Apple could work closer with the many remote monitoring companies to build the control of insulin delivery systems into the health app, or at least allow it to be controlled fully via an app, rather than requiring a separate unit.
Covid vaccination status is now possible to add to your health app but only if you have your record of immunization from certain places. CDC vaccination cards and digital certificates from places like Walgreens can't be added.
Apple could offer a system similar to that offered by Veri-fly to verify these records and provide them in an easily viewable way that could be used for a wide variety of ways. It could even replace Veri-fly as a checklist for your next flight.