The banners are hung, and people are eagerly anticipating what Apple CEO Tim Cook has to say when he takes the stage in San Francisco for Tim Cook’s keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.
As always, speculation and rumor are running rampant about what the even will hold, and unfortunately, not all rumors are created equal. To help separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, here’s a list of my predictions for what Apple is (and isn’t) going to announce Monday morning:
Given there are banners for both iOS 7 and Mac OS 10.9 hanging in Moscone West, I will be stunned if either of the two don’t get discussed.
A newer, flatter iOS 7: With Jony Ive taking over Apple’s design leadership for iOS following the ouster of Scott Forstall last year, odds are pretty good that the aesthetic of Apple’s mobile OS will shift, especially given comments made by Tim Cook at D11. By many accounts, Forstall was the primary advocate for skeuomorphism within Apple, while Ive is said to despise the practice. If the WWDC app for this year is any indication, there are some fairly subtle, if significant changes coming with a new version of iOS.
Mac OS 10.9: Apple has traditionally announced new versions of its operating system for the Mac at WWDC, and has announced that they are moving to a yearly model of software updates. Odds are OS 10.9 is going to feature some of the same design changes made to iOS.
Greater API access for iOS developers: In his appearance at D11, Tim Cook hinted that Apple is looking to relax existing restrictions on what iOS developers have access to. Since WWDC is first and foremost a developer conference, announcing those changes tomorrow makes sense.
New Macs: Apple has registered a number of new SKUs that appear to line up with a refresh of the MacBook line. In addition, Tim Cook has said in the past that Apple is working on “something really great” related to the Mac Pro to be unveiled in late 2013. With a number of online retailers running out of the Mac Pro, signs seem to point towards Apple’s high-end desktop getting an update.
The Rumor Mill
iRadio: There have been numerous high-profile reports of Apple inking deals with music publishers to provide a streaming music service. One report claims that it will be free and supported through iAd, but I’m skeptical. This is the company that charged for MobileMe even with Google tightening its hold on the email market. I think we’re more likely to see a subscription service, perhaps tied into iTunes Match.
iPhone trade-in program: Bloomberg reports that Apple has signed a deal with Brightstar to start taking trade-ins of old iPhones. Judging from the fact that there are already third parties like Gazelle making a business out of buying old iPhones, there’s no doubt that there’s a market for trade-ins. Whether or not Apple wants to get into that market is another question entirely.
I have my doubts about this rumor because Apple’s current product cycle places iOS announcements in the fall now. If there isn’t a new iPhone coming out of WWDC, I don’t see a lot of current iPhone users wanting to trade their old phones in. That’s not to say something like this will never happen, but I think an announcement about iPhone trade-ins will be more likely to come from a dedicated iOS event.
What won’t be there
Odds are, we’re not going to see any new iOS devices at WWDC. Apple has moved away from iPhone announcements at the conference, and the iPad has never played a major role in a June keynote. If you’re hoping for an iPhone Mini, I’d be doubly skeptical.
In addition, the frequency of iWatch rumors has gone down, rather than up, which is the exact opposite of what happened for the launch of the iPhone and iPad. Unless Cupertino managed to pull off a feat of secrecy that they couldn’t match for their last two major product launches, I don’t see how an Apple smartwatch will appear at WWDC.
So, there you have it — all of my predictions for WWDC. Check back with us Monday morning for coverage.