updated 09:00 am EDT, Tue May 31, 2011
Firm makes unusual pre-announcement
Apple has announced that CEO Steve Jobs and several other executives will be hosting the WWDC 2011 keynote on June 6th at 10AM Pacific time. In an unusual turn, however, the company has openly admitted that it will be showing iOS 5, as well as iCloud, the company's "upcoming cloud services offering." The company normally prefers to surprise the public and the media with new products.
iOS 5 is expected to be a major overhaul of Apple's handheld firmware, solving some long-standing problems. It could for instance feature a new notification system, and receive over-the-air updates, reducing dependence on a desktop or notebook. Other rumored plans include Android-like widgets, and support for a wider range of voice controls than the ones currently supported.
iCloud is thought to be concentrated around music streaming, and may work by mirroring as much of a person's iTunes library as possible. The basic concept is similar to Amazon Cloud Player or Google Music, both of which beat Apple to the market. iCloud may also signal an end to the current incarnation of MobileMe, which costs $99 a year despite the existence of free competition which may sometimes have better options.
A less shocking part of the announcement is that Apple will show off Mac OS X Lion. The software has been demonstrated before, and WWDC could bring a more precise release date than the "summer" timeframe Apple has commonly resorted to. It remains to be seen if iCloud will be in any way be integrated with Lion or iOS 5.