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What To (And Not To) Expect from WWDC

by on May 31st, 2011

I love developer conferences. It reminds me of my university days of coding in dark rooms, solving problems that were seemingly impossible at first glance. Nostalgic, no? Both Google IO and Apple’s WWDC both excite me in very much the same ways – just a lot of brilliant minds gathered together to push the boundaries of computing and computer usability, and this year has been no different. Google announced some major steps in the Android platform, and the pressure’s on Apple to show that it continues to be the innovation and thought leader in tablets and mobile computing.

As always, details about Apple’s new releases are still clouded by rumours and speculations, and that certainly shouldn’t stop us from continuing that trend. Here are some thoughts on what to expect from WWDC this year.

[Update: Well, that was quick. Apple confirms that iOS and the Music Cloud Service will be announced next Monday. That's good news.]

For the iPad

Let’s be clear; Apple’s not going to announce a lot of major changes for the iPad. Afterall, Gen 2 was released only a few short months ago (and Gen 1 barely a year ago here in Canada!) Expect to hear a lot of stats and numbers regarding strong iPad 2 sales and growth in iPad only or iPad+ app development, as well as a lot of new partners on board demoing their latest apps and peripherals that exploit the amped up hardware on the iPad 2. Perhaps we’ll even see Aperture for the iPad. (Please please please release Aperture for the iPad.)

For the iOS

This is probably where the meat and potatoes of the changes will lay. Expect to hear lots about iOS 5 (possibly to beta July/August with a launch in the Fall). There are definite rumours that iOS 5 will be a lot more visually compelling than current the iOS, hopefully with a revamped notifications system a la MobileNotifier (for jailbroken devices) and maybe even one or two things stolen from Android (widgets, potentially) and a few features that were locked away in previous versions of iOS such as multi-touch gestures. As much as I’d love to see iOS support for multiple users on the same device, I highly doubt that will be the case here (or ever). I would expect greater enterprise functionality for iOS on both the iPhone and the iPad and would love to see Apple launch its own BBM competitor to go head-to-head with RIM in the space. Unlikely, yes, but here’s hoping.

For the Desktop Guy

OS X Lion. The latest version of OS X will probably be announced, dated and priced. From what I hear, it should be the first step in convergence between the desktop and mobile platforms. Though probably not available in this iteration of OS X, I expect mobile app emulation to come to the desktop at some point to continue bridging the gap between the two platforms.

For the Cloud Guy

Probably the worst kept secret for Apple in recent weeks, there’s certainly a lot of rumours about Apple’s latest cloud service to compete against Amazon and Google. Expect to hear a lot about this (most likely a subscription service) that should touch on all aspects of MobileMe, as well as music and video. Unlike Google or Amazon, Apple has most of the major record labels on board for this kind of service, so expect a nice dog and pony show.

Whatever may happen at WWDC, it’s probably safe to say that Apple will tout their biggest and best for their developers. Are you heading down to San Francisco for WWDC? What are you hoping will get announced and dated? Let us know…in our comments below.

WWDC (short for World Wide Developers Conference) takes place in San Francisco June 6-10 at the Moscone Center. And yes, the event was sold out in a matter of hours.

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