WWDC 2013 is set to kickoff next week on June 10th, and if you consider yourself an Apple fan it might as well be Christmas. While Apple has shifted its big product unveils away from their yearly developer conference in recent years, there is still plenty to look forward to.
From a big iOS redesign to new Mac hardware, speculation has been building in the days leading up to the show. Here’s a quick and dirty look at what we expect to see.
iOS 7 has easily generated the most buzz leading up to WWDC 2013. With Jony Ive taking a more hands-on role in the design of iOS, the platform is expected to see one of its biggest user interface overhauls to date. The talk has centered on a so-called “flat” design that will do away with the OS’ real world inspiration and bubbly icons and skew towards a two-dimensional look.
While we certainly expect the new look to be one of the most striking changes to come to iOS to date, Apple isn’t expected to reinvent the wheel. iOS 7 should more or less be familiar to iPhone and iPad users, though Apple might have a few tricks up their sleeve.
In terms of new features nothing is certain, but rumors suggest Apple has been testing AirDrop file sharing for iOS. We could also see Flickr and Vimeo integration as well as a tweaked Notification Center.
Apple is apparently a bit behind schedule with their iOS overhaul, so there is no telling when the update could first be seeded to developers. One thing is certain: don’t expect any new iOS hardware to accompany the software redesign just yet.
Refreshed Mac Hardware
All signs point to Apple refreshing their line of MacBook computers, including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. While this will likely include spec enhancements overall, the main change will be a switch to Intel’s new Haswell processor platform. The updates would follow the precedent set last year when Apple refreshed their MacBook lineup at WWDC 2012.
The MacBook Air could possibly see a Retina display variant, but that’s where things start getting a bit murkier. Apple could release redesigned and retooled MacBook hardware, but there are no clear indicators that this will be the case.
Another possible piece of hardware to see an update is the Mac Pro. The Apple workstation is due for a refresh that could include Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processor. Apple seems to be letting stock of older Mac Pro models dry up, which hints that new models are around the corner.
Otherwise, don’t expect much in the way of other hardware. A new iPhone isn’t due until later this year and there has been little Apple TV buzz leading up to the yearly developer conference.
OS X 10.9
While we have heard little about Apple’s plans for Mac OS X at this year’s WWDC, it’s almost a sure thing that the operating system’s latest developments will be previewed. This likely means the unveiling of OS X 10.9, but what that could entail remains a bit of a mystery.
Speculation says OS X 10.9 will cater to the power user, focusing less on unifying the desktop and mobile experience and instead introducing features that could include improved multi-monitor support with Spaces and tabbed browsing in Finder. The biggest user interface tweak could come with the introduction of Siri for desktop.
Of course, rumors have suggested that Apple has had to pull from their OS X dev team to help meet iOS deadlines, meaning we might not see any major improvements to the desktop operating system at all. Even if Apple does unveil a new version, chances are it won’t reach the end user until further down the road.
iRadio remains a bit of a wildcard, but it’s no fault of Apple’s. We have every indication to believe the company wants to launch their streaming music component for iTunes at this year’s WWDC, but securing the necessary licensing deals with major music labels has been a sticking point.
Most recently Apple inked a deal with Warner Music after reaching an agreement with Universal Music. Sony Music is reportedly the major holdout. It is said they are seeking more favorable terms in regards to skipped songs when streaming.
In terms of how the service will function, reports are that we should expect something more akin to Pandora than Spotify, an auto-curated stream supported by Apple’s iAds. The service will leverage iTunes to make it easy for listeners to quickly purchase tracks.
One More Thing…
While we have a fairly good idea of what Apple plans to show off at WWDC 2013, we’re talking about a company that loves a good surprise. We aren’t expecting to see any developments with Apple TV or new iPad models, but that could be exactly what Apple wants. We’ll keep those two in the highly unlikely category.
So what are you most excited to see at WWDC? What are you hoping Apple might show off? Let us know in the comments below or head over to the iSource forums to jump in on the discussion.