WWDC 2012: what is Apple cooking?
Apple does a better job than most in keeping its product plans secret right up to the very last second, but its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) presents the rare prospect of a fixed date in the calendar when we know something new will definitely be announced. So just what can we expect when the world’s biggest technology kicks off WWDC 2012 in San Francisco on June 11? Let’s take a look at the hottest WWDC rumours doing the rounds.
New iPhone WWDC was the pulpit Apple used to announce its iPhone sequels right up to last year’s iPhone 4S, which only touched down in September. But having shifted its annual iPhone refresh to later in the year, it’s extremely unlikely Apple will now move it back. It’ll involve ending the current model’s lifecycle prematurely, and with even legacy models still enjoying strong popularity at cheaper price points, Apple would be shooting itself in the foot forcing things onwards when it doesn’t need to.
iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion New mobile hardware may be an outside bet, but there’s every chance Apple will show off the next version of its iOS operating system at WWDC 2012, just like it did last year. It is ultimately a developer conference, after all, and iOS 6 rumours have been steadily gathering pace in recent weeks, suggesting that we should at least get a sneak preview of the next-generation operating software, and hopefully more than that.
As for Mountain Lion, the next version of its desktop software, a developer preview has already emerged, but Apple could use WWDC to showcase some of its new features, and more importantly to announce its official release date.
iOS Maps Apple has made no secret of its preference for developing its own version of software and services rather than depending on others – especially when by ‘others’ you’re talking arch-rival Google.
Google Maps has been the dominant mapping service in the mobile space for a long time, but with Microsoft and Nokia having combined their considerable forces on Windows Phone, Apple’s reliance on Google’s mapping software has increasingly looked like a weakness in iOS. Apple has snapped up a fair few companies over the past couple of years to make it clear that an own-brand mapping solution is on its radar, and after announcing a new version of iPhoto using Apple’s own mapping data back in March, putting those maps centre-stage at WWDC seems the obvious next step.
New MacBooks The twin successes of the iPhone and iPad have moved Apple’s mobile division to the forefront of the company’s operations, but with neither line likely to see new hardware announced at WWDC, it’s looking increasingly likely that a whole new range of MacBooks will take centre-stage. After all, ultrabooks are gaining momentum, and we’re expecting Windows 8 to launch later in the year, so now’s a good time to shore up Apple’s mobile computing lineup.
Internal updates to introduce Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors is a given, and would probably happen on its own even if new models weren’t specifically being lined up. The juiciest rumour is that Apple could be rolling out its ultra-high quality Retina Displays across the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, while the latter will also benefit from a price cut to ward off the ultrabook brigade.
Updated iCloud.com Cloud storage services have taken off in a big way in 2012, and it’s looking likely that Apple will give its own iCloud a refresh at WWDC, announcing new photo and video-sharing features and the ability to sync iOS Notes and Reminders not just with other iOS devices or computers, but with your iCloud itself, regardless of the device being used to access it.