Apple (AAPL 3.71%) is set to kick off its 2017 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday morning, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. As Apple does every summer, the week-long event will begin with a keynote to make software announcements -- and possibly some hardware announcements, too.
Ahead of Apple's important event, here's a preview of some key areas to watch next week.
The one area where Apple will definitely make some announcements is software. Each summer, the company uses WWDC to show off new features for operating systems, including iOS, MacOS, TVOS, and WatchOS.
Beyond a preview of its upcoming operating system updates for iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, one area of software that may get more attention than usual this year is Siri. At the core of Apple's artificial intelligence (AI) efforts, the smart assistant is arguably falling behind AI voice assistants from other tech giants.
Siri particularly needs to get up to speed as Amazon (AMZN 7.38%) continues to prove consumer interest in voice-activated smart speakers with its line of Echo devices. During the holiday season last year, Amazon said sales of its Amazon Echo products were up more than 900% compared to the same period in 2015. Further, Amazon said Echo and Echo dot were the best-selling products on Amazon during the entire year of 2016.
As Apple continues to attempt to shift investor attention toward the company's thriving services business, Apple's most important services are likely to get some attention during the company's keynote. Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine recently told Bloomberg that Apple wants to make TV programs more centric to Apple Music. Perhaps Apple will announce a refresh that does a better job of promoting original video programming, just as Apple prepares to release Carpool Karaoke in August.
Beyond Apple Music, Apple has been rumored to be looking into a peer-to-peer payment system, which could possibly integrate with Apple Pay. Maybe Apple will announce this feature on Monday.
If speculation in the ever-active rumor mill ahead of WWDC is onto something, Apple could make one announcement that could steal the show on Monday. The company is rumored to be joining the smart-speaker hype with its own Siri speaker. While the details about the rumored product haven't surfaced, it's likely it will play a key role in extending the reach of Apple's HomeKit, or its app for operating smart devices. Of course, the product would likely also seamlessly integrate with Apple Music and other Apple software and services.
By debuting a Siri Speaker at WWDC, Apple would be able to get developers on board with creating third-party apps for the speaker. Developers have proven to be integral to Amazon's Echo speakers. Amazon said in its most recent quarterly update that the Alexa Skills store now offers more than 12,000 skills for Echo. Apple will need healthy developer participation for a Siri Speaker to be a hit with customers.
While important details about Apple's smart speaker, such as price, whether it has a display, or what it might look like, remain unknown, Bloomberg asserted earlier this week that Apple has already started production of the new device.
Apple will livestream its event on Monday morning. Stay tuned at The Motley Fool for a look at what Monday's announcements mean for Apple's business.