WWDC Cheat Sheet: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, Maps, and an All-New Mac Lineup
This weekend was preparation of inch-perfect last touches to the venue and last-minute packing from attendees, but when Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) annual Worldwide Developers Conference finally rolls in on Monday, eyes and ears will turn to every sign and every word from the company’s officials. As anticipation built for the conference over the past few weeks, the talk about what Apple may reveal, and what it may not, has only gathered pace. Starting Monday, June 11th, for five days, watchers of the company and its products will get some sneak-peeks and long-awaited answers. But what should you be looking out for? Based on the buzz from several sources over the past few weeks, here’s a quick cheat sheet to the likely talking points at WWDC.
Both analysts and supplier leaks have taken note of the rumbles from users anxiously waiting for an update to Apple’s computer line for a good two years. But has Apple? If recent reports are to go by, the buzz is for a bonanza. Apple is likely to come out at the conference with a new MacBook Pro that is thinner, but more powerful, and flaunts a high-resolution retina display. There is also the possibility of a new iMac desktop as well as updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) brand new Ivy Bridge processors are expected to be incorporated into all three varieties, with the MacBook Pro also getting USB 3.0 ports and upgraded graphics capabilities.
If the hardware makes a pop, can software be far behind. Apple unexpectedly released a preview of the OS X Mountain Lion to its developer community in February and is widely believed to be unveiling some other new features at its conference. Word is that the computer software will have several imports from the mobile software, iOS, including improved iCloud integration and apps and features such as Reminders, Notes, Game Center, Messages, and Notification Center.
Apple’s mobile software is not expected to launch anytime before fall this year, but the conference may see a preview for developers. Many of the 5,000 developers in attendance would want to know more about building for the new operating system, whenever it does launch. If a software preview comes, it’ll also carry hints about possible changes in the next-generation iPhone hardware. But don’t expect too many details. Apple is known well for secrecy and it’s not going to give away much before its famous hardware launch.
One of the most talked about developments in the past few days has been the possibility of Apple doing away with Google Maps with the launch of iOS 6. The WWDC, then, will be a good time for the company to reveal its rumored new in-house maps and navigation app. Word is that Apple’s maps systems will include an impressive 3D feature and turn-by-turn navigation instructions native to iOS. With Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) releasing a fancy update to its own maps application this week, Apple will have to have something special.
Since its launch with the iPhone 4S last fall, Siri has always been branded by Apple as a product in beta. It’s likely that the voice-enabled personal assistant, which has attracted its share of controversies and lawsuits in the months since, will get more features and improvements at the conference. There may be sessions to let developers know how to better integrate Siri into their third-party apps. It is also expected that Siri will come to the iPad with iOS 6, so look out for hints regarding that.