Tomorrow is the kickoff of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco and it looks to be a doozie. As with the lead up to any major Apple conference it's time to make a few predictions as to what will be announced and uncovered at the Steve Jobs keynote that starts at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT).
On 25 May I posted Apple Gazette's WWDC predictions which included:
1. Multi-Touch in Leopard 2. New GUI for OS X 3. New iLife w/iTunes HD 4. Blu-Ray Support 5. Leopard/iPhone integration 6. New Mac Minis and MacBook Pros 7. Ultra Portable iMac w/Multi touch screen
Since new MacBook Pros were announced on 05 June 2007 we can safely remove them from the list. And although I'd love nothing more than to see any ultra-portable from Apple (especially a notebook), it's probably a pipe dream.
With that out of the way, let's start with what we know Apple will announce. Apple has publicly stated that Steve will demo a "feature complete" version of Mac OS 10.5/Leopard, so that's a given. But if you remember back to the Stevenote at Macworld Expo in January Jobs mentioned that many of the features in Leopard were "top secret." Presumably WWDC is where SJ will produce the proverbial rabbit from the hat.
Apple told us in April 2006 that Boot Camp would be integrated within Leopard, so that much we know. I have a theory that Boot Camp could become fully virtualized in Leopard (Virtual Mac anyone?). Take a look, for example, at Parallels announcement of Desktop 3.0 on Thursday. The timing strikes me as suspicious. Why wouldn't they wait for the glow of WWDC to make that announcement? Isn't there a halo effect of announcing your product around a major Apple event? Does Parallels know something that we don't? Also, I'd bet that Boot Camp 1.3 features a kill switch that disables it when Leopard ships.
Apple has already told us that Mac OS 10.5 Leopard will feature:
- Xcode 3.0
- Interface Builder 3.0
- Core Animation
- Objective-C 2.0
- iChat Integration
- Resolution Independence
- Calendar Store
- Image Kit
- OpenGL Improvements
- QuickTime Improvements
- Picture Taker Panel
- Open Directory 4
- Calendaring Server
- Ruby on Rails
But what about some of Leopard's "secret features?" Last week Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz slipped and told us that ZFS (typo corrected) will be file system is OS X. There's also a pretty good shot that Apple and Google will announce a closer partnership at WWDC. Google Apps need to be more Safari friendly to better compete against Microsoft Office 2008 and an updated .Mac with integrated Google Apps could breathe some life into Apple's biggest dog.
You can also expect a ton of iPhone integration in Leopard. Synchronization with Address Book, iCal, Mail and iPhoto are a given but Apple is probably going to surprise us with a few extra integrations here. Maybe the iPhone could be universal remote for your Mac and your iTV? The possibilities are endless
Also Apple may release an iPhone SDK. There's no telling what type of certification process they'll require for iPhone applications (most likely just Widgets) but, at minimum, Apple needs to expose the iPhone API to developers to quell the criticism.
iWork hasn't been updated in 18 months, so that's a possibility.
Mac OS X 10.4.10 is also due, look for that soon.
On the hardware front, iMacs were last updated in September 2006 so new models are possible. iMacs are built on the MacBook Pro platform, which means that new models are likely to inherit Intel's new Santa Rosa architecture (with a 20 percent faster front-side bus) and processor speeds up to 2.4GHz. With Apple's latest commitment to the environment he new iMacs will probably have LED backlights (like the 15-inch MBP) and come wrapped in a sleek aluminum frame to match the Apple Cinema Displays. Also look for Apple to drop the 17-inch model and possibly replace it with a high end 30-inch configuration.
New Apple Cinema Displays have been rumored for a while although WWDC doesn't seem like the right venue. If they do, look for new 20, 24 and 30-inch models with LED backlights and built-in iSight cameras.
One last possibility is a refreshed Mac mini. It hasn't been updated since February 2006 and 16 months is a lifetime for Apple updates. Not to mention that it's still stuck two generations back with an Intel Core Duo processor. It needs everything.
What's your take on WWDC? Chime in in the TalkBack section below.