Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is less than a week away, and industry analyst Gene Munster has published his predictions for what will happen during the event. Munster says he sees Apple announcing Siri integration with Beats hardware, improved ARKit improvements, and more.
In recent tests, Apple’s Siri virtual assistant was shown to be improved, but still lagging behind Google’s assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
In December, the analyst found Siri was able to answer 75 percent of 800 questions posed in an unscientific test. That figure was up from 66 percent in April 2017, but still behind Google’s technology. If Siri was more proficient in commerce and information domains, however, the December test would have resulted in a score of about 85 percent, on par with Google Assistant.
Munster sees Apple announcing new Siri domain integrations at WWDC. The company has long been reluctant to incorporate e-commerce tools into its Siri data set, due to privacy concerns.
The analyst also expects Siri’s intelligence to get a boost on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker. Despite a higher retail price, HomePod’s smart feature set lags behind speakers produced by Amazon and Google.
Munster also believes Apple will make moves to grow its piece of the smart speaker pie by integrating Siri into a cheaper speaker under the Beats umbrella. Beats has been owned by Apple for four years, but has yet to see any Siri goodness in its lineup.
Muster believes Apple will announce at WWDC 18 an expansion of the 15 domains currently supported by Apple’s machine learning framework.
He also sees ARKit, Apple’s framework for augmented reality apps, getting some minor improvements, as part of an effort to spur more AR app development, which has seen only a small number of titles that realize the technology’s potential.
In the digital health segment, Munster sees the expected iOS 12 update to offer new tools that will notify users when their data is being shared with developers. He also believes the new mobile operating system will offer new device management features to curb screen time and digital anxiety.
Munster also mentioned he sees at least one hardware announcement coming to WWDC, but didn’t elaborate on what that hardware might be. Other analysts have mentioned the possibility of a new MacBook being introduced, while others believe an updated iPhone SE might make an appearance.