Guessing What Might Be In Store For WWDC

confused-GlobeApple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is right around the corner, and you know what that means… It’s time for some speculation! Since we’ve always got our finger on the pulse of the Apple Universe, we’ve put together some of our best guesses of what Tim Cook and Co. have in store for their keynote on June 2.

The WWDC is a showcase for Apple’s new technologies and software, with a focus on programming for the latest in Mac OS X and iOS. But while software will be key as always, there should be no shortage of hardware news taking center stage.

So, what will we be seeing on June 2? We can only guess… so we have! Of course, we should note that these are mere prognostications and our thoughts on what could be in store. OWC has no “inside track” to Apple knowledge on these matters… It certainly would be cool if we did. But if that was the case, we wouldn’t exactly be able to write this – and what fun would that be?!

So take these for what they are worth… an exercise in semi-educated guess work from someone who just happens to be an unapologetic “Mac head”.

Software

iOS 8 & The Latest In Mac OS X: Since WWDC is about the developers, we’ll start with iOS 8 and Mac OS X. As they are every year, these are once again a given.

Apple’s iOS 8 will likely retain iOS 7’s cosmetic overhaul and begin to tack on new features. A Healthbook app has been rumored for some time now, and we’ll almost certainly get upgrades in the way of Maps and Siri. But it’s hard to imagine any major shakeups for Apple’s mobile operating system.

As for OS X, which new California landmark-based moniker they’ll choose isn’t the only mystery. In fact, any changes that will come to OS X have been kept pretty tightly under wraps. We’re guessing that the latest incarnation will likely lean even more toward its iOS 8 brethren with a more mobile-inspired look and features.

Hardware

Less Expensive iMac: The rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of the iMac supply dwindling, and the possibility of a new iMac lineup with a more affordable model in the mix. Which direction Apple will go, and how far down the cost of a new model could come from the current $1,299 the lowest end iMac remains to be seen.

Home Integration/Automation: On the surface, this one might seem to be a little out there, but home theater installers have long been doing this with iPads for lighting, HVAC, and theater control. Apple’s been long poised to build the ultimate household remote control. Why not now? Even garage doors now come with apps!

Mac mini: I just don’t see this one happening. There are not even reports of the stock dwindling on the current models. Maybe over the next month? What about a “micro” and mini? A Mac the size of an Apple TV? That’s pure speculation, but a $299 system… that would be a real attack on the PC market.

MacBook Air with Retina display: A 12 inch Air with Retina? Nah… However, an ARM armed MacBook Air is another story. The 12-inch display was originally rumored for iPad, but it has since moved over to Air. I’m 50/50 on it. The Air’s screen is great and is around 140 PPI now. It still requires a lot of video horsepower to drive the Retina display, so I’m not sure they could hit the price point, as there is already a 13 inch MBPr at $1,299. I think the Retina may be a fake, and that an ARM-based MacBook Air series is more possible. A 14-20 hour battery life is possible and we know Apple has successfully done massive transitions for software via OS emulation. One for System 9 to OS X, and then PPC to Intel. It would be a shot across the bow of the industry, and would make the MacBook Air unmatched. And Apple has done tremendous things with ARM. It’s even been rumored that the latest iPhone and iPad aren’t even using all of the processor power.

A 12-inch iPad: If they’re going to compete on size for iPhone, why not iPad as well? The 12-inch Samsung tablet is awkward to hold, but Android tablets are really running the phone software, so a real tablet at that size…. Hmmm. I don’t know. I think it’s 70/30 this larger iPad isn’t coming, but that’s just my guess.

iPhone 6: The rumors have been out for so long that the next iPhone will have two screen sizes – a larger 4.7 inch screen and a phablet-sized 6 inches. While some people talk down on the 6 inch form factor, phablets are huge in the Asian market and especially for people that don’t want a tablet AND a phone. The rumors have been around so long it almost seems inevitable. But we’ll see what Apple announces at WWDC, because the only people that truly know are Apple employees.

Happy WWDC, everyone!


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