WWDC 2013 to announce iOS 7, OS X 10.9 previews: What else?

UPDATED (June 3, 2013): Apple's developer conference will unveil many new product announcements, with a general focus on software. What should we expect to see this month when Apple's Tim Cook and others take to the stage in California? Here's what we think.

Topic: Apple
1 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Hardware, software: What will see at Apple's WWDC 2013?

We're expecting a bevy of software announcements — including some on the hardware front. But there's room for Apple's next major product to make an appearance.

Could it be a radio product? Could the company announce a watch? Or did Apple fix the leaks in its supply chain and it now has something brand new up its sleeve to show?

What's clear is that iOS 7, the mobile platform, and its OS X 10.9 desktop platform will be announced for developers during the week long event as they prepare to rework their apps for the new features and improvements.

Remember, WWDC is a developer's event. It's designed for application and service makers to come together to learn about the latest features and hooks that they can use in their own products, which continue to add to the lucrative and vast money-making ecosystem that Apple has.

Based on previous years and looking at the ever-churning rumor mill, here are a few things what we think we can expect to see during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in early June. 

Editor's note: This slideshow was first published on May 3, but has since been updated on June 3 to reflect the latest rumors and known updates, with additional and new content.

2 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iOS 7 to be announced

We know iOS 7 will be announced at the conference. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said in a press release: "We can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC," which is not a major surprise considering the annual release cycle of the mobile platform.

What can we expect in the next major release of iOS 7? There's sufficient talk of two major changes, but we can also expect other new features — likely improvements to the Safari browser, better in-built apps such as Weather, and a range of improvements to the camera.

3 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iOS 7: User interface overhaul

The iPhone and iPad user interface is expected to change dramatically by making it much "flatter," putting it in line with many already similarly-styled apps available for the platform.

With Scott Forstall no longer at the software helm, and Jony Ive now taking the reins, it's more than likely that the hardware chief will also see major changes to the user interface aesthetic and design as well. According to reports, the "flat" design will more specifically simplify the icons and user interface.

Some experienced Apple watchers expect iOS 7 to take an iterative approach in terms of user interface changes, as the company did with OS X over the years. The design was tweaked version-on-version, rather than being significantly changed.

Exactly how far these changes will go remains to be seen. Designer Tim Green created a mock-up that gives an idea of what the new user interface could look like.

It's also expected that other popular services, such as Vimeo and Flickr, will be integrated deeper into the platform, along with additional sharing features.

4 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iOS 7: Fingerprint, biometric technology?

Following Apple's $356 million , we can expect a number of security-related features embedded in the next-generation software. But what it points to, if the analysts and pundits are correct, could be a fingerprint sensor in the next iterations of the iPhone and iPad. 

It could also open up the possibility that Apple may bring out near-field communications (NFC) technology to its phones to open up its devices to wireless mobile payments.

5 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iOS 7: No more skeuomorphism!

One of the key changes expected in the next-generation mobile platform is the removal of skeuomorphism — a design that emulates the real item. The Notes app looked like a notepad, the Contacts app looked like a leather-bound organizer, and the Game Center sported a felt-like interface.

Instead, all apps will likely look and perform the same. New user interface guidelines may also be introduced as part of iOS 7 to bring a more consistent approach to the platform's design.

6 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

OS X 10.9 to be announced after iOS 7

We also know that OS X 10.9 will also be announced during the conference, but iOS 7 will likely have to be announced first, so the company doesn't blow the lid on any additions to OS X.

Apple has in recent years increasingly 'iOS-ified' its desktop platform with mobile-related features, in a bid to expand the wider ecosystem of Apple products. 

7 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

OS X 10.9: Increased 'iOS-ification' between mobile and desktop

Apple began to bridge the gap between OS X and iOS 7 with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion as it introduced Launchpad and apps ported from the mobile platform.

OS X 10.9 is therefore expected to become even 'easier' than it already is, according to reports. Designed with new users in mind, OS X will likely include a deeper integration of iOS 7's features. We can expect greater cooperation across the Apple desktop and mobile software ecosystem.

Other reports suggested that more "power features" will arrive in the next-generation platform, such as "app pausing," which allows devices to conserve battery power by not constantly using processing power on apps that are not in use.

8 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

OS X 10.9: A boost in enterprise features?

Thanks to , fingerprint technology could become ingrained as part of the next-generation iPhone and iPad. Also, the software layer could include developer hooks to enhance the security of enterprise, business, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users.

Apple's mobile products have for some time been the devices of choice among enterprise users. But with a dip in the PC market and a general uptick in Mac sales, Apple could strive to continue wooing business clients with a bevy of feature additions.

We're also expecting OS X 10.9 users to find it easier to transfer files across devices, thus further bridging the gap between mobile and desktop. It's also likely that iOS-provided multitasking features could be brought to the desktop. Also, multi-monitor support may also make an appearance, based on earlier client correspondence with Apple executives. 

Typically, OS X iterations have a wide range of new features but the overall aesthetic, design and functionality remains the same. While some visual elements will be different, expect the 'same old' from Apple in OS X 10.9.  

9 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Xcode 5.0 to include new API support, application testing tools

Apple is likely to release the next-generation developer studio for iOS and Mac applications, Xcode. 

The company has already said that it is "excited to show them the latest advances in software technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative new apps," hinting that the updated software — with APIs, a new user interface, enhancements, and improved application testing tools — will be released, so developers can get started immediately.

10 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

OS X 10.9: Siri and Maps may be ported away from mobile

Siri remains in beta, nearly two years after it was first announced. Apple's voice assistant could emerge as the front-runner in the race among intelligent assistants, particularly as the voice command services heat up across the mobile industry.

We could expect an increase in data sources, international support and a deeper integration across iOS-based devices — all with better overall accuracy. 

It's also hoped that third-party apps may also see developer support. Apple could offer a number of APIs that developers can hook their apps into, in order to enhance app experiences but also help generate additional revenue for events, restaurants, travel and so on.

Maps has also suffered, partly as a result of it being rushed to completion by Apple bosses ahead of iOS 6's release. It was an unfinished product and Apple chief executive Tim Cook . But over time, the mapping data has improved but is still a long way off until it can call itself a rival to Google Maps — arguably the best and most used mapping service.

Analysts have also predicted that Apple may branch out into other key ecosystem areas, such as mobile payments and other subscription services. 

11 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iRadio likely to be announced

Thanks to a range of leaks and software investigation, rumors began to swirl last year suggesting Apple was working on a radio-like product — or iTunes streaming — dubbed iRadio. This would rival other third-party apps, such as Spotify and Pandora; both of which offer streaming music services for free and at a subscription level.

According to sister site CNET, Apple has already struck a number of licensing deals with both Warner Music Group and Universal Music

Apple still generates vast amounts of revenue from iTunes, thanks to its 30 percent cut in app downloads. Currently there are about 500 million iTunes accounts. The record labels themselves could benefit with around 70 percent of every $1 purchase in iTunes heading in their direction.

The company has also reportedly been in talks with two major music labels to bring its music-streaming service to life. Following the arrival of iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, and iCloud, it could be that Apple is pushing further into the in-house iTunes market it has carved for itself in order to further expand its music offerings. 

iRadio, or whatever it may be called, is expected to make an appearance this summer, likely with a later debut.

12 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Enhancements, fixes to iCloud

iCloud remains buggy and problematic for many. "It just works," is the one tagline that those who are suffering would never associate with the cloud-based service.

It's hoped that iCloud will become more integrated as part of Apple's wider services, but focusing on getting the foundation level working properly without hassle should be a major priority. 

Recent patent acquisitions could see a better navigation and file system view, while many are expecting some kind of integration with iRadio, the highly anticipated 'next move' for iTunes. But whether or not developers would be given early access to the APIs and application hooks needed to tie in with third-party applications may be one for an iPhone or iPad launch later on in the year.

13 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Will we see an iWatch?

The rumor mill has been spinning for months on a potential iWatch product, a wristwatch like device that might resemble an alternative to those who don't want to be dogged with Google Glass.

Expected to be a similar size and shape to the fifth generation iPod nano, it could be on the cards for WWDC 2013 — should the technology be ready. It's even spurred on almost every other major mobile maker to announce in some way, shape or form that they are developing a smart watch device. While apps are unlikely to be included and little for developers to play with — perhaps more a hardware accessory opportunity — health sensors and Siri-like services could be on the cards.

14 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Emerging market iPhone?

The rumor mill suggests that Apple is readying a budget iPhone for the emerging market. We're not expecting to see a new iPhone for the U.K., Australia, Asia and Europe for the next few months — September or October is more likely.

Apple will likely not want to degrade design aesthetic or make a sub-par quality product. It's likely that if it can make a cellular device that keeps in tune with its overall design merits while cutting down the cost of the device itself, Apple could ship vast amounts of cheaper iPhones, albeit with a lower profit margin, with potentially a greater reward.

Apple's regular iPhones for the Western markets are typically announced during the third-quarter of the year. While iOS 7 will be announced at WWDC 2013, do not expect an iPhone or iPad to make an appearance at the conference.

Considering iPhone 5 sales have not been as strong as previous iterations of the smartphone, according to analysts, iOS 7 will likely be pitched at iPhone 5 users in order to encourage sales.

15 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

New MacBook Pro, MacBook Air with Intel "Haswell" processor

WWDC is typically a software-focused event. Though the software has to run on something, it's not likely that any substantial hardware-related products will be announced until later this year.

From Apple's Q2 earnings call, chief executive Tim Cook said that the company , but hinted that most of the release cycle will in fact fall in 2014. This suggests the "next big thing" — whether it's an Apple branded television, or more likely a watch — will be on the cards for next year, with minor existing hardware iterations coming later this year.

According to KDI Securities analyst Ming-Chu Kuo, who has previously accurately predicted a number of hardware releases ahead of time, such hardware tweaks may include Intel-based next-generation "Haswell" processors in Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air range. These will be upgrades to existing systems rather than any substantial design change.

16 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

New Mac Pro due soon; perhaps a WWDC debut?

Apple chief executive Tim Cook told one Mac Pro user that as it still considers its tower box-using customers as "really important" to Apple, 

This email, verified by Macworld, was sent in June 2012. This was around the time of WWDC 2012 last year. Cook added he should not worry as, "we're working on something really great for later next year."

Sister site CNET reported in April that the new Mac Pro may be ready by April, but there was no such announcement. Perhaps Apple was waiting for the new Intel "Haswell" chips to be finalized? If so, a new Mac Pro tower box could be on the cards for WWDC 2013.

Unfortunately, European customers will not benefit as Apple opted to stop selling the tower boxes in the 27 member-state bloc in March after the European Union passed a new stringent electrical regulations law.

17 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Apple TV updates in preparation for an ecosystem push?

Again, it's very unlikely that Apple will announce a television at WWDC. 

The company could of course release a brand new Apple TV device to complement the opening up of its development platform for the set-top box. This allows developers to hook into the platform further so that once it reaches a healthy ecosystem of apps and services, it could then begin to cater for that audience. 

The Wall Street Journal also suggested that an updated version of Apple TV could be on the cards to erase the distinction between live and on-demand television content.

18 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

iLife, iWork updates expected

It's very possible that Apple's productivity and creative suites will also be updated in time for a WWDC 2013 release. In its note to the press, Apple specifically noted "iLife, iWork and professional software" designed for the Mac. Because WWDC is typically a software-oriented event, it's entirely likely that the two flagship Mac-based products will also see a major refresh. 

iWork and iLife are available both on Macs and iOS-based devices, again bridging the divide between mobile and the desktop, thanks to its in-built iCloud support.

19 of 19 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Software development opened up for Apple TV?

We're not expecting to see an Apple-branded television any time soon — the profits would be short-lived and televisions are rarely replaced — it wouldn't be a far-out bet to suggest that the technology giant could begin weaning its developers onto an app-based version of its Apple TV set-top box in order to prepare for a wider release.

With that, we could see a stripped down or modified version of iOS ported to the set-top box (as it is now) with application functionality. We may not see anything released during the event but it would be surprising if Apple didn't have something television-related up its sleeve, bar just another iterative update to its streaming device.

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