Jun 1, 2018

What to watch at Apple's big developer conference

Screenshot: Apple.com

When Apple speaks to developers next week at its Worldwide Developer Conference, pay close attention to what the company says about two key areas: augmented reality and digital health.

The bottom line: As Axios first reported in January, Apple has delayed some features originally planned for this year's iOS and Mac OS updates to focus on improving the reliability of its software. Still, the areas where Apple is investing are key to its future success.

Augmented reality is an area that Apple CEO Tim Cook believes strongly in and where Apple is investing heavily to be a leader.

  • It added AR capabilities in last year's iPhone hardware and software and is expected to do more throughout 2018.

On health, Apple has been working on the area in two ways.

  • One is technology that helps people exercise more, access their medical records, etc.
  • The other relates to well being — that is, healthfully using its tech products. Google talked up such features for Android at its developer conference last month, and Bloomberg reports that Apple will do the same on Monday. Apple has also been working to improve the degree to which parents can control the settings on devices used by their kids.

Be smart: Apple, like its competitors, is scrambling to get on the right side of public opinion and demonstrate that it is not a digital-addiction-peddling, privacy-invading corporate monster. Since it's less in the business of profiting from user data, it stands to be in a better position than Facebook and Google in this regard.

What to expect: Apple almost always uses its developer conference to introduce new versions of its Mac and iPhone operating systems and this year should be no exception.

What not to expect: A lot of new hardware. Apple often has some new hardware and could well have new accessories or even a new Mac at the show, but this isn't the time or place Apple makes big consumer product introductions.

What else? Apple promised last year that it would introduce its own wireless charging system, dubbed AirPower, to charge multiple Apple products but we have yet to hear about that. And, no word on whether Apple will solve this.

The practicalities: The WWDC runs all next week in San Jose, Calif. All the announcements, though, tend to come in the opening keynote, which is the only part typically open to reporters.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

Inside the fight over FBI surveillance powers

Carter Page. Photo: Artyom Korotayev\TASS via Getty Images

Over the past year, President Trump has told senior administration officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, that he wants a major overhaul of national security surveillance powers and the secret court that approves them.

Behind the scenes: In one such discussion last year about the need to reauthorize government authorities to surveil U.S. citizens, Trump went so far as to say he'd rather get rid of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) altogether.