What to expect from WWDC 2013

What to expect from WWDC 2013

Summary: "New iPhones! New iPads! New Macs! Oh my!" Perhaps it's time to check the unrealistic expectations at the door and remember what the "D" in WWDC stands for: Developer. WWDC 2013 is going to be about APIs and iCloud services, not iPhones and iPads.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is a little over a week away and the excitement is palpable. Much of the tech world will be focused on the keynote speech as we await news of what new goodies Apple plans to unleash on the world.

The list of what people are expecting to be unveiled at WWDC 2013 is huge, and ranges from new iPhones and iPads, to updated iOS and OS X, along with a whole raft of new Macs.

Given the stratospheric levels of hype and expectation, I hate to be the wet blanket, but I feel duty-bound to be honest and inject some realism into all the wild, crazy speculation circulating on news sites and social media.

To begin with, let's not lose sight of the fact that WWDC is, and has always been, a developer conference.

The clue is, in case you'd missed it, in the name.

WWDC is a place where a few lucky developers who managed to get their hands on tickets can mingle with the best and the brightest from Apple's engineering departments, and get intimate with code and APIs and all things programming. It's a place where iOS and OS X developers get to peek at — and play with — new stuff that's coming down the pipes from the Cupertino mothership, and start working on apps for the upcoming platforms.

In other words, WWDC is mostly about fostering good relationships with developers, and helping to create an app ecosystem for the next-generation platforms before they arrive on the scene.

So, check your wild, outlandish expectations at the door, and remember what the "D" in WWDC stands for: Developer.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the keynote address at WWDC — the part where CEO Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple monarchy take the stage, and the part that pundits all around the world are most excited for — is usually only a couple of hours long. This is not long enough to revamp Apple's entire line of products, especially when you consider how much preamble, backslapping, and self-congratulation happens at the beginning of these keynotes.

So yes, WWDC is a big thing, but it's not the platform for Apple to refresh everything.

OK, so what can we expect from WWDC 2013? Here's what I think we're going to see — along with some things that I don't expect to see.

New iPhones and/or iPads

Highly unlikely.

These are Apple's flagship products and as such command a separate launch event with its own fanfare. All these rumors of cheaper iPhones and thinner iPads are, in my opinion, nothing more than speculation and fantasy.

New Macs

While there's no doubt that the Mac remains important to Apple, it is nowhere near as important or as influential as its post-PC devices, and as such it makes more sense that Apple would choose WWDC to unveil new hardware. Also, given that Mac developers seem to buy a lot of high-end Mac hardware, it seems like the ideal opportunity for Apple to tempt a salivating crowd of devs.

As to what Macs we might see refreshed, well, the Mac Pro is now seriously long in the tooth and either needs an urgent upgrade, or putting out of its misery. 

As to the other Macs, we might see a limited upgrade of some lines (such as the MacBook Pro and high-end iMacs), or a refresh that extends across the board.

Part of me wants to see Apple unveil something completely different, such as an OS X-powered tablet, but that's just me getting carried away.

New iPods

No. Why? Well, the clue is in the fact that Apple just released a new iPod Touch model just the other day.

Previews of revamped iOS and OS X

Now we're talking. This is what WWDC is all about, and I expect that iOS 7 and OS X (which I'm speculatively calling 10.9) will feature heavily.

I'm not expecting any dramatic or jarring changes. Evolution, not revolution. That's what I'm expecting from the refreshes. I think that the negative reaction from users to Microsoft's Windows 8 will temper anything too crazy or outlandish.

As to what I expect from each:

iOS 7 — The anticipated user interface redesign courtesy of Sir Jony Ive. That said, I'm tending to think that the revamp might be more conservative than some are predicting, and I think that talk of a 'flat look' user interface might have been taken too far. I think 'flat' refers more to dumping the skeuomorphic stitched leather and wood look present in some apps than it has to do with creating a blander, mystery meat user interface.

I'm also expecting new and revamped iCloud services, a raft of new APIs, more social media integration, and for iOS to become more closely tied to OS X via the cloud.

OS X — Gradual improvement is what I'm expecting here. Refinements to the UI, new APIs, greater integration with iCloud and iOS.

iCloud

We forget just what an important part of the Apple ecosystem iCloud services have become. I expect to see old services get new features, and maybe even some new services to play with.

Topic: Apple

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44 comments
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  • Eliminating skeumorph

    From your mouth to God's ear. I would upgrade just for that alone.
    baggins_z
    • Life is too short to wait

      I upgraded months ago from an iphone to the far superior Nokia Lumia 920 powered by the best smartphone OS available today: Microsoft WP8.

      Life is too short to wait and too precious to spend using inferior devices like iphones. At least upgrade to Android if you have some irrational hatred of Microsoft. Don't punish yourself with the worst products like those that are made by apple. You aren't anywhere near bad enough to deserve that cruel and unusual punishment.

      I prefer supporting innovative companies like Microsoft and Nokia. I'm too good to suffer through boring apple products. So are you baggins. Respect yourself or no one else will.
      toddbottom3
      • iPad upgrade

        I will definitively upgrade my iPad to something better next time I buy a tablet. Right now it seems like Windows 8 Pro is best choice for tablets in the 10+inch range while android is best choice for
        Oden79
        • the Zdnet comment system don't like certain signs

          I meant to say also that android seem like best choice for tablets smaller than 10 inch, while tablets around 10 inch is currently in a three way tie between iPad, android and windows 8 Pro.
          Oden79
          • if you want a 7-8" tablet W8 is still the way to go

            There's rumors all over the webz that several are coming in all price ranges
            Johnny Vegas
          • "It's the way to go..."

            "There's rumors..."

            Kind of difficult to use a 7" rumor.
            msalzberg
          • Many wives do daily

            Just sayin' LOL
            andrej770
        • don't upgrade

          Don't waste your money. Heavy, clunky, cheaply made. It's no different from a Windows 8 laptop.
          Techknowlogist@...
          • Heavy, clunky, and cheaply made?

            Oh, were you talking about the MBP?

            I'm not sure about the cheaply-made part, but it's pretty heavy and clunky.


            When I think "Windows 8 notebooks", I think "portable, reliable, and durable."

            But then again, not everybody gets the luxury of using a business-class machine.

            3 pounds is lighter than 4.4 pounds, after all.


            Also, I'm sorry that you shop for computers at Walmart, but do remember this:

            "Walmart is a terrible place to shop for computers."


            (FYI:
            I've used/own/owned a MBP 13 2011, a ThinkPad X220, a ThinkPad T61, an EliteBook 2730P, a Kindle Fire, an iPod Touch 4G, an iPad 1G)
            ForeverCookie
          • 4.4 lb rMBP

            has a much better display than that 3 lb Windows machine.

            Likely has better graphics, too.
            Michael Alan Goff
      • You never owned an iPhone

        So that lie that you did invalidates anything else you say here.
        CaviarRed
      • Oh please

        Innovative companies? Microsoft certainly is one, as windows ce was the first full power phone OS.

        But let's not pretend Apple isn't one.... One company, and only one company, is the reason we currently use touch phones with app stores. And it isn't Microsoft.
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • Yep.

          Microsoft can only follow now. They are not a leader.
          Never Use Microsoft Warez
        • Anything but innovative

          There is nothing innovative about Microsoft. Rather, they sit back and observe others cultivate "newness" while noting what people like about those things, as well as what they don't like. Then, they come in with a mature product for that mature audience - and they're absolutely awesome at it. This is what happened with PC's. This is what happened with office and networking software. This is what happened with the XBox.

          5 years from now, Android will be a thing of the past, while Macs, iPhones, and iPads will return to their niche artsy markets that Apple was master of prior to its iPod boom, and we'll all have Windows PC's in our studies/at work, Surface tablets in our bedrooms, XBoxes in our living rooms, and Windows Phones in our pockets, wondering why anyone in their right mind would subscribe to any other ecosystem...
          phntomsoul@...
          • For some...

            Those who've died and gone to the bad place, yes, Microsoft will once again be dominant. For those of living on earth, no one's going to destroy Android's lead. HOPEFULLY (and I say this as an Android user) Windows Phone and Tablet, iPhone and iPad, maybe a couple of others, will have/still have a decent market share, show occasional innovation, and keep the Android folks on their toes.

            After all, it's been the lack of competition that's allowed Microsoft, on several occasions, to relax, stop worrying about what users wanted, and concentrate on things to put into Windows that would just extend Windows.

            Microsoft's big problem right now is that they don't have a single platform/ecosystem. They're building toward a single UI of sorts, but that's the least thing that actually matters. Android apps run on phone, tablet, and eventually television. Apple's a little more balkanized -- phone apps run on the tablet, but not always well (eg, in a letter/window box), tablet apps don't run on the phone. Microsoft will need to at least make WinRT the same binary on every platform for their plans to succeed. Otherwise, it's the confused consumer all over again, as it was with the Windows RT tablets not running normal Windows applications (no one here missed that detail, I'm sure, but the average PC user? Sure did).
            Hazydave
      • WP8

        Seriously?
        I bought a Surface Pro ($1400) bundles for testing purposes. Sorry, waste of time!
        Techknowlogist@...
      • what excitement?

        I suffered 3 years of having an iPhone.
        Not ever again !!!!
        Watching a magician once in a blue moon is fine...but watch the same act repeatedly over and over sucks balls.
        Apple will not introduce anything that has lost it customers in the first place.
        Their its my creation I'll do what I want attitude sucks.!!!
        They disallow plenty of apps from the I store and strong arm developers and reward a few ass kissers while watching the market pass them by
        billw1234
      • too short to wait..

        Well, good for you. Now maybe we won't have to read your inane bashing of iPhones any ore. I would consider that a good thing. Enjoy your phone.
        rphunter42
  • Apple is under pressure to shorten product introduction cycles

    If Apple is going to keep the pace of unrolling new major products only once a year, then the history of great calendar Q4, very good Q1, mediocre Q2 and weak Q3 will always repeat itself.

    So while your arguments make sense under usual circumstances, Apple might still introduce some hardware at WWDC, too.
    DDERSSS
    • Yes, will be fantastic

      "Buy the iphone 5s. Now with more icons on the home screen."

      iYawn
      toddbottom3