In a few hours from now Steve Jobs will kick off the 2010 World Wide Developers Conference--one of Apple's premiere events. Fast Company.com will be liveblogging the keynote (10am PST), so check back then. In the meantime, here are our our guesses as to what's in store.
The new iPhone for 2010
Whatever you think about the Gizmodo iPhone "leak" saga, it's done at least one thing for us: It's pretty much 100% confirmed that this year's revision of the iPhone is the hardware Gizmodo showed the world. And although recent rumors have suggested Apple had been simultaneously co-developing a simpler (less revolutionary) design should unexpected problems arise at the last minute, enough leaks exist to suggest that the flat, aluminum model will be the one we get to buy in a few weeks.
- Name: iPhone HD? This is the option people seem to be settling on, as iPhone 4 is confusing.
- Screen: Double the existing resolution, making upscaling easy and helping with that "HD" label.
- Battery: Perhaps as much as 20% more battery life.
- Processor: The same, or very similar, Apple A4 chip seen in the iPad.
- Camera 1: Front-facing, perhaps low-res (VGA?) for Web conferencing.
- Camera 2: Rear-facing, possibly 5-megapixels (since 8 would seem excessive for Apple's traditional caution). With an LED flash, autofocus, and possibly a controllable optical zoom.
- Connectivity: Tethering will finally be available on AT&T, letting the old fashioned U.S. catch up with the rest of the world.
- Color: It looks like Apple will be keeping the black and white options.
- A possible mid- to early-June arrival, certainly in the U.S. at least.
Mac Mini refresh
Apple's much-loved Mac Mini is rumored to be getting a serious refresh, to bring it up to the specs of some of its bigger and cleverer desktop brother Macs. But there's a fascinating rumor that seems to suggest Apple really does listen to its users, who often harness the diminutive Mini up to HDTVs as a home theater solution: The revised Mac Mini is very likely to get an HDMI socket on its back.
We can probably expect the hardware to remain pretty much unchanged, as it's long-sported the brushed aluminum body that nearly every Apple product has adopted. Inside though, we'll likely see faster processors, boosted graphics power, and the usual increases in memory capacity and hard drive space.
Apple's been on the HTML5 promoting drive for a while, initially thanks to the success of its open-standards Webkit engine, and recently as part of Steve Jobs' anti-Flash feelings. Now Apple's launched a new Web page devoted to promoting all the fun and wonderful stuff you can already do with HTML5-compliant browsers. So we can imagine some time will be devoted to hyping HTML5 in front of a crowd of the very folks who'll be programming for it.
iTunes in the cloud
Something we've heard lots about, especially after Apple's acquisition of Lala. There's also tighter integration between the iPad's iWork apps and Apple's experimental iWork.com service ... so may we see Apple move a few of its services at least partly into the cloud? It's not a long shot, given that mysterious new data center and similar moves by Apple's competition.
Apple's iAd advantage
Apple may also choose to spend some time promoting its premium iAd system, since its slipped under the radar a little after hitting the news. With Google's own mobile ad efforts getting a serious booster with its Admob acquisition, it would seem odd if Apple didn't mention iAd.
A revised MacBook Air?
This is a slightly long shot, as any news about improvements to Apple's unique take on the "netbook" genre has basically disappeared. But it's a flagship product, and Apple may at least take the time to say a little about when it'll be out with newer CPUs and larger storage.
What you won't see, for sure: Verizon iPhones.
This news keeps popping up, alongside a lesser-known but equally persistent rumor about Sprint iPhones. Jobs hinted that a multi-carrier model may eventually be adopted in the U.S., as found elsewhere on the globe, but his support for AT&T seemed pretty good. This means we can guess AT&T keeps iPhone exclusivity for at least the medium term.
What you won't see, probably: The new Apple TV
Despite all those exciting rumors about a radical revamp, complete with iPhone OS and unicorn fairy-dust, the same source definitely confirmed a no-show at the WWDC. It is very likely that the product is incomplete, with Apple's engineers variously occupied on the iPhone HD and the iPad. Apple is probably keeping it under wraps to stir up some fresh consumer love and media excitement later in the year.
What you won't see, we suspect: Gizmodo writers causing a fuss
Given the legal battle and Steve's stern and condemning words at D8 the other day, we'd not expect to see Gizmodo's folk doing anything other than trying to keep themselves to themselves--assuming they're even invited. (We're chasing them up on this point).
External track pad peripheral
Multitouch trackpads are one of the technological triumphs of the Mac Books (and the tech powers the iPhone OS experience too, of course), but you're limited to buying these PCs if you want to use the tech. Big rumors this morning hint at Apple releasing a trackpad peripheral, for all those iMac and Windows PC folk out there. It's name? No one knows ... but there was all that business about trademark filings for "Magic Slate" to think about.
Safari 5, Mac OS X 10.6.4
This one hit over the weekend, and it's welcome: Apple is apparently due to reveal the latest version of its desktop browser at today's keynote. Safari 5 includes, according to leaked data seen by Macgeneration, all sorts of the usual security tweaks, speed bumps and improvements to the UI (things like private browsing icon, smarter address field auto-population).
Two interesting things stand out from the list though. Safari Reader is the first, a system that strips unwanted clutter from articles on web pages with one click so users can "view articles on the web in a single, clutter-free page." Then there's all sorts of new support for HTML5--over "a dozen" extras--pushing Apple's promotion of the new web standard into the limelight even more. These include must-haves like full-screen HTML5 video powers and closed-captions, and great-to-haves like geolocation.
The latest version of Mac OS X is also due to be revealed, but it's just a point upgrade with improved stability and compatibility fixes--good news, in other words, but not big news.
Free Mobile Me access at basic levels
Apple's Mobile Me service is integrated throughout OS X and iPhone OS, but to use the system you're required to pay for access. Now some rumors are hinting that there's going to be a new "free" level of service that will perhaps give users some basic level systems. This would transform the way the millions of iPhone and iPod and iPad users use their products.
Gizmodo is persona non gratis
As we suspected, the editors from Gizmodo have confirmed to us that they haven't been included on the invitee list for press to WWDC. They're searching for helpful attendees with caring, sharing souls to spoonfeed them with data for a "live" blog of Steve's speech.