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Going by the predictions so far, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will have plenty to talk about at Monday morning's (June 11) Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote.
And this year's edition, the first WWDC without iconic founder and CEO Steve Jobs, figures to be scrutinized even more closely than usual.
WWDC is Apple's annual gathering for those software developers who create apps for its Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) platforms. But the show is also an opportunity for Apple to unveil new features and products, which is why WWDC attracts a great deal of media attention.
Exactly what Apple will unveil at events like this has long sent tech pundits into fits of wild speculation. The company's secretive policies just add to the mania.
Sorting through the cacophony of rumors and speculation, Money Morning has distilled what to expect – and not to expect – from WWDC 2012.
Let's first go over some things Apple almost surely will not be talking about at WWDC 2012.
The Apple TV: If Apple is indeed working on a full-fledged television set, you won't see it at WWDC. In fact, this device may not turn up until early 2013 (and Apple will hold a "special event" when it does).
The iPhone 5: The next generation iPhone is expected in late September-early October, a year after the iPhone 4s debuted. It probably won't even be mentioned in Monday's keynote.
iPad Mini: Rumors about a 7-inch version of the iPad (which sports a 9.7-inch display) have been percolating for months. But such a beast, if it exists at all, won't appear at WWDC.
So what does Apple have up its fashionable sleeve this year? Here are the five most likely candidates:
- Back to the Mac: We will in fact see some new hardware this year, which tends to be the exception at WWDC, but it concerns Apple's much less visible Mac business. Apple is likely to release at least minor upgrades to virtually every Mac model, driven by the fresh availability of Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) new Ivy Bridge chips. But the star of the Mac show will be a complete revamp of the top-of-the-line Mac Pro desktop, which hasn't seen a refresh of any kind for almost two years. Accompanying the onslaught of Mac hardware will be a demo of Mountain Lion, the next version of the Mac OS X operating system due to arrive in August or September.
- Siri Grows Up: At the D10 conference last month Apple CEO Tim Cook teased about the future of the company's voice recognition software, currently available only on the iPhone 4s. "We have some cool ideas about what Siri can do," Cook said. Several of those ideas should turn up in the WWDC keynote. It's almost a given that Apple will release a Siri API to developers – a tool they can use to add Siri functionality to their own apps. Apple also may give Siri the ability to recognize individual voices, making it possible for users to unlock their iPhone just by greeting it. As a bonus, Apple will also announce full Siri capabilities for owners of the third-generation iPad.
- iCloud Goes Social: Until now Apple's free cloud service has enabled owners of Macs, iPhones and iPads to store photos, e-books, music, movies and TV shows bought on iTunes as well as sync their e-mail and calendar data. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, users will be able to share photos they have stored on iCloud. Apple hopes to tap into a photo-sharing market popularized by such sites as Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Flickr and Instagram. Other upgrades for iCloud include the ability to sync videos and access notes and reminders directly through its icloud.com Website.
- Maps – Now in 3D!: Some will be surprised to learn Apple is ditching Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Maps app for a home-grown version. Apple has cobbled together an app using technology from three different company acquisitions. Apple's Maps app will feature the same kind of street maps and views as Google's version, but with a little something extra. It adds a 3D-view option based on declassified missile target algorithms, a plum from Apple's acquisition of C3 Technologies. Expect an extensive demo during the keynote.
- Reinventing TV: While you won't see an actual Apple television at WWDC, you could well see a demo of the rumored product's new operating system. Based on the current Apple TV interface, this TV OS is likely to borrow elements from iOS, particularly the ability to run apps. Apple also may make it easier for third parties to "plug into" the TV operating system, which would allow users to control accessories from an Apple remote. The new OS should appear first in the existing Apple TV set-top box.
Apple stock (Nasdaq: AAPL) was up 0.91% Friday at 3 p.m. to $576.95.
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About the Author
Dave has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.