updated 12:04 am EDT, Fri June 8, 2012
Sold-out WWDC arriving with high expectations
A large white Apple logo with the words "WWDC 2012" has been placed on the outside of the Moscone Center in San Francisco earlier today to announce the conference, which begins Monday. The annual gathering, which sold out in under two hours this year, has seen higher-than-usual levels of anticipation, giving the timing and development cycle of both the next major version of OS X and iOS, both of which developers will learn more about at the gathering.
Also raising the excitement is the strong possibility of new hardware announcements during or around the dates of the conference. While not all the predictions are likely to come to pass, signs indicate that Apple is preparing to refresh or update several of its Mac models, possibly some accessories, and may also hint at release dates for future iOS device updates or products.
Two of the most-anticipated updates are believed to be a refreshed and remodeled line of MacBook Pros, thought to be styled more in the manner of the MacBook Air as former CEO Steve Jobs predicted in 2008, and perhaps a redesigned, reborn Mac Pro -- a machine that has been rumored to be on the chopping block late last year, but may be given a new emphasis with some state-of-the-art processor, RAM and connection upgrades. One of the bigger questions looming over hardware this year is the possible introduction of USB 3.0 to Mac models as standard equipment.
As happened at the recent AllThingsD conference, Jobs' shadow is expected to loom large over the developer conference this year. Last year's WWDC, at which Jobs introduced iCloud, was one of his final public appearances. Apple CEO Tim Cook will likely lead the keynote speech as Jobs did last year, but feature a number of other Apple executives, including Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall who have been fixtures at the WWDC over the years.
Since Jobs' death last October, the company has moved forward on some of his well-publicized initiatives. The success of the iBook Author software and the iBookstore's foray into textbooks is likely to be a highlight, and the company continues to take an interest in another of Jobs' focus areas, photography. The much-improved lens system in the iPhone 4S and rumors that the company may re-enter the digital camera market fuel speculation that Apple has further plans in that area.
In addition to hoped-for Mac Pro and MacBook announcements, developers may also see refreshed iMacs, Mac minis and perhaps even an upgraded Apple TV interface (in advance of a rumored Apple HDTV set, another area of special interest for Jobs, that is unlikely to be seen in the near future). Others are hoping for more details about features in OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), the first version to drop the word "Mac" from its title, and iOS 6. Some have wondered if the iPod line may even get a mention, despite its falling status and that market reaches full maturity. [Photo via AppleInsider]