Rounding Up the Apple Rumors Ahead of WWDC
Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference with a Monday keynote address from CEO Tim Cook, and there’s no shortage of prognostications about the products he’s likely to show off.
Back in early May we reported that WWDC would see the debut of a brand-new “blow your head off” Apple-developed mapping application. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal confirmed this. So we can almost certainly expect a new Maps application to be part of Monday’s presentation. Also a near-sure thing: A new MacBook Pro with a significantly thinner chassis and high-resolution “Retina-esque” display, as we previously reported.
But what else might we see?
During the opening night session at D10 last week, Cook’s comments about Facebook strongly suggested that the announcement of some manner of iOS integration with the social networking service — similar to the one Apple has already done with Twitter — could be on tap. As Cook said, when asked about such a deal at D10, “Stay tuned on this one.” Does that comment mean that iOS 6, which Apple plans to show off at WWDC, will have Facebook baked in? Certainly possible, as other have claimed.
Another likely possibility: New Macs. We’ve been hearing chatter about a refresh of most of Apple’s Mac lines for some time now. Yesterday, 9to5Mac reported that Apple has new versions of the MacBook Air, the iMac and perhaps the Mac mini and/or Mac Pro, the last of which is long overdue for an update. We haven’t been able to confirm this report independently, but it, too, sounds entirely plausible. MacBook Airs have not seen a refresh since July 2011. And the last MacBook Pro refresh was a relatively minor one in October.
Also possible: Deeper native integration of iCloud into OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6. As I wrote when iCloud first launched, “If, as Steve Jobs says, software is the soul of Apple’s products, hardware their brains and sinew, then iCloud is their memory — and soon perhaps one of their biggest selling points as well. Certainly it’s a feature that will differentiate Apple’s already well-differentiated products even further from the competition.” ICloud may not be a major driver of customer loyalty now, but with its ease of use and promise of change-on-one-device, update-to-all computing, it will be, someday. And it’s been about a year since iCloud debuted, so it, too, is due for an update.
What else? APIs for iCloud and Siri, perhaps. Apps for Apple TV, or a broader enhancement to the device that paves the way for a more comprehensive TV offering. As Tim Cook noted at D10, Apple’s Apple TV business has grown quite a bit in the past year. In 2011, the company sold fewer than three million Apple TVs. In the first six months of this year, it has sold 2.7 million. As Cook told D attendees, “This is an area of intense interest for us. We’re going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us.”
Perhaps WWDC attendees will get a chance to see, as well. We’ll find out on Monday.