It’s that time again! This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the company’s own Worldwide Developers Conference to unveil everything they’ve worked so hard to keep secret for the past many months.
We’ll be seeing iOS 7 for the first time — that’s pretty much certain. But what else we may see?
It will be a shock if we don’t see iOS 7 at WWDC this year. Server logs have already revealed iPhones and iPads running the platform as Apple tests to ensure it’s ready to launch. The new version also has a new leader. Longtime Apple hardware designer Jony Ive is now helming the look and feel of Apple’s software as well. The changes could be substantial. We’ve heard that Apple has diverted resources from OS X to work on it. Will it be ready on time?
OS X 10.9
The appearance of OS X 10.9 at WWDC is widely expected, though we aren’t sure which big cat it will be named after. A lot of changes to 10.8 Mountain Lion are potentially in the works from “power user” enhancements to the addition of Siri. There’s also been some talk about multitasking, as Apple looks to incorporate some iOS concepts into OS X.
A streaming radio service from Apple is looking increasingly likely, but the setup involves a complex Web of licensing negotiations. There have been reports that iRadio will launch this summer and we’ve heard rumors about big deals with major music labels. It seems that Apple would like to pay a lot less than Pandora or Spotify, but Sony and Warner are holding out for more.
The gossip from the Financial Times is that iRadio will be a free, ad-supported service that’s designed to be a music discovery tool. Apple doesn’t want to cannibalize sales of music through iTunes, so iRadio will probably funnel listeners into iTunes to purchase what they’ve been listening to on radio. An iRadio service could draw on data from iTunes to predict what users would like, which sounds like a potent combination to us. The question is whether it will be ready to unveil by June 10.
iPad Mini 2
Ever since the iPad Mini hit the market, there has been some buzz about how good an iPad Mini with a Retina display would be. There is a chance that Apple will reveal the iPad Mini 2 at WWDC with improved specs, including a higher quality display. Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, told CNET that it could be coming in the third quarter of this year, to be followed by a second refresh in early 2014.
We think the iPad Mini 2 will come this year, but more likely when the summer is a distant memory and we’re heading toward the end of autumn. That’s because Tim Cook told investors, in the last earnings call, “Our teams are hard at work at some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can’t wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014.”
We think the iPhone 5S is probably not coming in mid-2013, but not everyone agrees. For the most part there’s no concrete reason to believe the next iPhone will be shown off at WWDC and Tim Cook seems to have given a pretty big hint that we won’t be seeing it for a while yet. Apple Insider did pick up on a possibly legit leaked document showing the iPhone 5S going on sale in July, but they don’t sound convinced either.
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
It has been a long time since Apple’s most expensive Mac, the Mac Pro, was updated, but if you feared it might be quietly discontinued, you can relax. Various rumors about a Mac Pro update have been making the rounds and Apple insiders have given the nod. At WWDC last year Tim Cook also promised that “something really great” was coming for Mac Pro users this year.
In addition to the Haswell processor, it looks like the MacBook Air will have faster Wi-Fi in the shape of an 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. There’s also a suggestion that the webcam might get an upgrade to 1080p, and will come along with a dual microphone system.
Returning to exciting, but extremely unlikely, there is some chatter about the possibility of an iWatch at WWDC. We’ve seen plenty of credible rumors about Apple’s smartwatch development, but the idea that it is ready to launch, or will be revealed at WWDC this year is not being taken seriously by anyone you’d describe as reliable.
If you want to stay on top of all the sessions and events at WWDC this year then you should snag the free iOS WWDC app. It offers a menu of events, videos of sessions, photos and news from the conference floor, full maps, and the ability to schedule your own must-see items.
That’s it for WWDC 2013 rumors. Feel free to speculate wildly in the comments and tell us what you expect to see. In the meantime you can check out Apple’s official WWDC site.
The keynote is scheduled to begin at 10 AM PT (12PM Central, 1 PM Eastern, 6 PM London).