WWDC Predictions and Wild Ass Speculation

WorldWide Developer’s Conference.

It’s easily the biggest event for Apple every year with the cancellation of the MacWorlds at least from an Apple participation standpoint.

And Jobs appears to be teasing that the event will be a big one at least according to an email forwarded to MacRumors, so there’s potential for hype.

The key in ranking the probability of rumors is factoring the trend that WWDC has traditionally been a professional show. Not the venue for major consumer initiatives like iLife or the iPod. Now, the iPhone and iPad OS development has changed that focus to a degree, but the last couple of years WWDC has been followed by a consumer iPod event in September.

So the obvious first- Locks to happen – 100%

1. Apple’s 4th generation iPhone: The name iPhone HD seems to have caught the attention of the tech blogs. Despite numerous leaked photos and stolen prototype, the actual name of the device is unclear. In addition, processor for the new iPhone is unknown as well as storage sizes. From the Gizmodo breakdown, the iPhone internal guts allow for a larger battery the impact of that battery and a new processor on battery life is again unclear.

2. iPhone application showcase. Locks at this point are music streaming apps, VOIP apps, some games highlighting new APIs. Finally, Jobs will highlight some new features of the iPhone 4.0 OS that have not previously received focus or attention.

3. iPad sales numbers/iPad application showcase.

4. Increased MobileMe integration with iPhone/iPad. The Beta for an improved MobileMe has already started. iPad is screaming for a local copy of iDisk for file access. That iDisk is synced between your Mac/MobileMe/iPad.

Likely to happen 75%

1. iPad OS feature updates previously unseen. iPhone 4.0 OS was missing some key elements for the future of the iPad namely some file sharing/file manipulation APIs and lastly printing (Steve has mentioned that it’s coming. WWDC seems like an obvious time for it). It’s clear the iPad has a role in content creation, so the gaps need to start being filled.

2. Wireless syncing for both the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Apple already declined an application that provided this feature. Google is pushing all kinds of cloud activity.

Should happen at some point this year,  50% chance  at WWDC

1. New MacBook Air. The Air is really screaming for a complete redesign to be in line with the MacBook Pros and even the new iPhone redesign. The Air is behind in terms of battery life in particular. An updated Air isn’t really enough to justify a spot in a WWDC keynote, but a new benchmark for thinbooks might make the keynote.

2. iTunes Streaming. The fruits of the LaLa acquisition have to be ready to show. The only reason why this is a might happen is that WWDC is not really an iTunes event. iTunes Streaming seems more like a tentpole for the September iPod event (especially if the iPod Touch does not adopt the new form factor of the iPhone).

3. iTunes revamp. The application itself could use a major revamp. But just like Streaming, this is something that waits for an iPod event.

Could happen this year at WWDC

1. Verizon iPhone: There’s almost no reason that Apple could not create a CDMA iPhone, and MoD has been asserting for months that the time is right for that phone. Apple can get a foothold with Verizon before their LTE network goes live.  MoD also believes Android’s major gains in US market share are primarily on the Verizon network. It’s time to end Android’s sanctuary. A September launch date is possible giving AT&T 3 last key months of exclusivity and time for Verizon to upgrade their CDMA network for Voice and Data simultaneously. Apple does not really want to run different commercials for their new phone this summer, so Verizon’s upgrade to their network is key.

2. MobileMe becomes a free service for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch owners. The Data Center in North Carolina is building to something big related to Apple’s main “cloud” product. MobileMe’s initial launch was a massive failure for Apple, Steve won’t let Apple launch another huge cloud product without everything being locked down. After that awful start, MobileMe has stabilized into a very solid service that really adds to the iPhone product experience.

Left field stuff

1. OSX 11:  Seems to MoD that 10.7 is just a placeholder designation. MoD thinks that OS XI is really the next big release OS. OS XI is the new core OS for all Apple devices with multi-touch including multi-touch “Macs” or what we used to think of as Macs. There are a number of iPad applications that outclass their Mac equivalents that point to the OS future for Apple. The ability to write applications for iPad/iPhone/TouchMacs in the same development environment will be a powerful feature, especially if elements will be reuseable along platforms. Apple has been slowly adding multi-touch to the hardware (latest MacBook Pros, the multi-touch mouse) and to their OS (pinch and zoom, multi-finger gestures). This rumor is probably a year too early. More likely it’s the focus of WWDC 2011, but if Jobs wants to make a massive splash then the next generation integrated OS platform would be the ultimate “one more thing”.

2. Apple TV 2: Google TV seems to have laid down the gauntlet on wanting to take over the IP connected TV sphere. Apple has a device, but it needs what the iPhone/iPad have, SDKs leading to an App Store. Add a Hulu application, NetFlix application, ABC TV app, HTML 5 Web Browser optimized for 720p/1080p LCD/plasmas, search applications etc to Apple TV and it could become a massive hit instead of just a hobby. One of the key weapons in Apple’s design aresenal is the ability to scale imagesand /text to the screen size. Add in a touch screen remote (a very stripped down iPod Touch perhaps), base it all on the iPad’s hardware but add a conventional HD instead of solid state memory. Finally, base the new Apple TV OS on iPad/iPhone core to quickly drive application development for the platform that alone could jumpstart an application community.

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