Remember what a big deal Apple used to be? If anybody cares, there's supposedly a big announcement at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today.
Oh, who am I kidding with my pretend nonchalance? Even though I retired my iPad in favor of a Nexus 7, I'm still an Apple fanboy. And I expect to get nothing useful done starting at 10:00 a.m. PT today as I feverishly monitor live blogs and social media to find out what Apple CEO Tim Cook announces at the kickoff keynote of WWDC.
It's been a tough year for Apple and its fans since WWDC 2012. That saw the announcement of Apple Maps, which saw a return to the bad old Newton days when Apple was an industry joke. iOS senior VP Scott Forstall was pushed out as a result of that debacle. Since then, the company stock has dropped, iPhone sales growth isn't meeting expectations, and the first half of the year lacked product updates, writes The Verge. By this time last year, Apple had announced new iPads, Apple TV, new Mac OS, and more, notes 9to5Mac.
Here's what to expect from Apple today:
We'll definitely see new versions of iOS and Mac OS X. They'll be available in the summer or autumn.
We won't see new iPads or iPhones. Those are Apple's flagship products, and when Apple has new models to announce, it'll happen at an exclusive event.
iOS version 7 is the first overseen by Jonny Ive, VP of industrial design, who replaced Forstall for software. Ive is credited with designing beautiful, well-made hardware for Apple for more than a decade. Apple fans have been looking forward to seeing him work his magic on software.
Ive will put an end to the so-called "skeuomorphic" designs of Apple's apps. Skeuomorphism is design that makes objects resemble another material or technique. In the case of Apple software, we see a Calendar app that looks like it has a fake-leather frame, and the Notes app looks like a yellow legal pad.
We'll likely see flatter, cleaner design for the next version of iOS, with reduced or eliminated skeuomorphism. And a good thing, too; iOS is starting to look old-fashioned.
OS X 10.9 will be focused on power-users. That's not something that excites most people, but I'm a power-user -- and a huge productivity nerd -- so I'm excited. Among the new features will be support for browser-like tabs and file tagging in the Finder.
We'll likely see new MacBook Airs running Intel's new Haswell processor, with better battery life, graphics, and support for thinner machines. A MacBook Pro upgrade will come within the next couple of months, says 9to5mac.
Big buzz surrounds iRadio, a Pandora-style streaming service rumored since September, says The Verge. Apple has deals with all three major labels.
We may see Siri and Apple Maps coming to the Mac, The Verge says.
Look for iOS 7 to be available in September. Mac OS X is reportedly delayed as Apple moved developers to work on iOS; I haven't seen reports on when we can expect 10.9.
Rumors of an Apple television set have died down in recent months, but now we're seeing a lot of buzz about an iWatch. It would be like Apple to demo the product publicly and then make it available up to six months later; that's the way it handled both the iPhone and iPad announcements. When launching a new category of device, Apple doesn't have to worry about cannibalizing sales.
However, even if Apple is working on an iWatch (or television, for that matter), Apple won't say anything about it at WWDC. As with the iPad and iPhone, this would be a major product, with its own announcement event.
And those are our WWDC predictions. What do you expect? Let us know in the comments, and watch there while we tally up how our predictions fared.
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ó Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution