Apple may have some explaining to do at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference starting on Monday.
Over the past several weeks, a series of news reports have disclosed what Apple plans to announce on Monday at its annual developer event in San Jose, Calif. Those reports say Apple will unveil iOS 13, including a feature to reduce user eye strain and another feature that makes it easier to eliminate pop-up notifications. Additionally, reports said that the company is working on a new Apple Watch-only App Store and an improved design that will make it easier to find apps and to navigate the smartwatch’s software.
But the most important discussions at WWDC will have little to do with new features. Rather the focus will be on the following five important questions:
Is Apple a good partner for app developers?
Apple executives are unlikely to directly discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month that paves the way for consumers and developers to sue the company for alleged antitrust practices in its App Store. But Apple will need to address it in some way.
Apple operates the only app store for iOS. Every app sold to customers must therefore share a chunk of that money with the Apple. Music-streaming rival Spotify has already filed a complaint against Apple in the European Union alleging the company’s App Store practices and revenue sharing with developers are unfair to competitors. And Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty told Fortune in an interview earlier this month that Apple may eventually be forced to allow other app marketplaces into iOS.
Look for Apple executives to discuss Apple’s value to developers, including their access to millions of iPhone owners and the revenue they generate from Apple’s services.
Will Apple TV+ be worth the cost?
Later this year, Apple plans to introduce Apple TV+ to compete against popular alternatives like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. But Apple’s service won’t have the vast content library found on Netflix or the live television available through Hulu. Plus, Apple will need to fend off Disney+, another streaming service that will debut in November and will include full access to Disney’s movie library and new original shows.
Apple may use WWDC to talk about Apple TV+, originally unveiled in March, and share why it believes it can compete in such a crowded market.
How Will Apple News+ Improve?
Subscribers to Apple News+, the company’s $10-a-month news subscription service, have complained that the service doesn’t offer access to major publications like The New York Times and Washington Post. Critics have said that Apple News+’s design is too difficult to use.
Last week, Apple tried to at least fix one problem by introducing a feature that automatically downloads new magazine issues onto users’ devices. But it didn’t go far enough. Apple still needs to fix some strange layout quirks that can make it difficult to navigate the service and some very big gaps in the media companies using the service.
Hopefully Apple addresses the topic at WWDC.
How important is healthcare to Apple’s future?
For the past few years, Apple has used WWDC to discuss its efforts to improve health tracking through its Health app in iOS and its health-tracking features in watchOS. Apple CEO Tim Cook has made clear that he views Apple as a health care-focused company and believes one day that its contributions in health will be its most important.
Given that, it seems almost certain that Apple will discuss health care at this year’s event.
Is a one-app experience feasible?
For years, we’ve read reports about Apple combining iOS and macOS development processes so that developers no longer need to create different apps for both iOS and macOS. Instead, developers would be able to create one app that they can publish to both the Mac App Store and iPhone App Store.
Now, however, app developers believe Apple may change its policies. And earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple may at least announce that it’s moving towards letting developers create one app that they can bring to Apple’s Macs and mobile devices.
It’s something developers would want, since it would reduce their development costs and the time it takes them to release an app. And since WWDC is an event for developers, it would make sense for Apple to use it to announce its single-app development process.