Ahead of next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster today shared his predictions for the features and services that Apple will unveil during the event.
Munster expects Apple to debut new Siri, AR, AI, and Digital Health functionality, including a Beats-branded accessory (presumably a speaker) that includes Siri integration, much like the HomePod. Some of Munster’s predictions have been previously covered in rumors shared by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, but Siri integration in a lower-cost Beats product is a new prediction.
We expect Monday’s keynote to be highlighted by extending the reach of Siri (most likely adding new domains, opening HomePod to more capabilities, and integrating Spotlight), along with additional AI tools (new Core ML extensions).
We also anticipate new features around digital health (privacy and device management) and ARKit (development tools).
Expect Siri integration with Beats.
Collectively, these announcements advance the ease of use and intelligence of Apple’s mobile and desktop experiences.
According to Munster, Apple may be planning introduce a $250 Beats-branded product that will offer Siri integration similar to the HomePod, allowing Apple to “advance its digital assistant ambitions” with a more affordable option. Apple currently sells a Beats Pill+ speaker for $179.95, and the device has not been updated in some time.
Apple is going to announce a new “Decade Collection” at WWDC according to a Best Buy leak, but that collection is limited to existing headphones in new colorways and does not appear include new products or a new speaker. It’s possible that Apple does have a new Beats product ready to unveil, and a recent somewhat sketchy rumor did suggest that Apple’s “low-priced” HomePod would be under the Beats by Dre branding.
That rumor would make some sense if Apple is indeed planning on introducing a Beats-branded speaker product that includes Siri integration. Siri competitor Alexa is available as an option on many speakers outside of Amazon’s own, and Apple could be planning to follow in Amazon’s footsteps. Obviously, though, it’s not clear if the rumor and/or Munster’s prediction are accurate.
Munster has several other predictions for features and services coming at WWDC. Specifically, he expects Apple to introduce new Siri domains, with support for “things like navigation and email” and integrated Spotlight Search to better improve Siri’s performance compared to Alexa and Cortana, the AI assistants used by Amazon and Microsoft, respectively.
Munster also believes Apple will introduce new domains for CoreML, the machine learning SDK that Apple introduced with the launch of iOS 11. Munster doesn’t offer details on what the new domains might be, but at the current time, CoreML offers features for developers like real time image recognition, search ranking, text prediction, handwriting recognition, face detection, music tagging, text summarization, and more.
Previous rumors have said Apple plans to introduce support for multiplayer augmented reality games, and Munster believes Apple will also introduce “subtle new developer tools” to improve AR development and lead to more compelling AR apps.
Similarly, rumors have indicated Apple is working on a Digital Health tool that will let parents better monitor the amount of time children are spending on iOS devices. Munster says Apple could also include additional features that notify users when data is being shared with developers and new device management features aimed at curbing “screen time and digital anxiety.”
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