Apple's WWDC: What To Expect

Apple's expected to reveal a number of juicy, crunchy new things at the WWDC event. Here's our taster for what's coming.

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iOS7: Flatter, Thinner And...Cleverer?

Apple's influential design chief Jony Ive is now in charge of the look and feel of iOS 7, the next software to run on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. Rumors over the previous several months have suggested Apple, under Ive, has been throwing a huge amount of time and effort into remaking iOS 7 to remove the realistic graphical look commonly referred to as skeuomorphism. Brand-new rumors from 9to5Mac.com suggest the look is very "flat" and elegant indeed--much more Ive-like.

Meanwhile John Gruber, an Apple commenter who is known for his accurate predictions, has said that he's heard maybe "all the leaks are wrong" and that iOS 7 is going to have some "polarizing" features. Separate leaks suggest that there will be much more flexibility for developers and users in iOS7 and maybe even better integration with third-party apps like Flickr for photos and Vimeo for video.

Siri, it is hoped, will get much cleverer and more accessible to app developers.

OS X: Now With More iOS, And Chattier?

OS X, Apple's mainstream computing operating system, is more of a mystery than iOS. We know Apple is likely to tease OS X 10.9, and we know it'll be named after a big cat--10.8 is called "Mountain Lion"--but we don't know what cat, nor exactly what upgrades Apple has planned. There aren't many big cat names left...but "Clouded Leopard" has a timely ring.

The theories are that just as it has done before, Apple will bring more of the functions and design thinking into OS X from its mobile iOS platform. One of the big hopes is that Siri, Apple's chatty assistant, will arrive on Macs. iOS 7 perhaps also uses clever app switching and multitasking that means processes running in the background don't consumer so much power--both these features could boost the Mac experience because they'd increase portable-battery life.

iTunes's New iRadio Star

Apple signed a deal with Sony Music late last week, so it's said to have all top three record labels aboard for a streaming music system inside iTunes. The media has already dubbed it "iRadio" and is very much expecting it to make an appearance at WWDC. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times all but confirmed this would be revealed today, in last-minute stories last night.

Streaming music is such a big game right now. If Apple entered at the moment, it could easily leverage iTunes to steal a massive share of the market.

iPhoning It In

iPhone rumors pop up and fizzle all the time. We're not expecting new iPhones to make a show at WWDC because though there have been several rumors about Chinese manufacturers gearing up for mass production, and even a few hardware leaks, there's been nothing like the level of background rumor that immediately precedes a new iPhone launch.

But, on the other hand, we do know Tim Cook promised to lock down on secrecy more than ever. And it's always possible that "one more thing..." may be a surprise.

iPadding The News Out

Just as with the iPhone, there have been a number of different rumors about the iPad 5 and the iPad Mini 2. The former is expected to get cleverer and skinnier and the latter is expected to get faster and sport a new Retina screen.

All of these upgrades may well help the iPad maintain its place at the top of the tablet pile.

But we're not expecting to see new iPad hardware at WWDC.

Hitting The New Hardware Hard

New MacBook Pros, New MacBook Airs...and even a brand new high-end Mac Pro may well be shown today at WWDC. The portable machines are expected to get faster and more battery efficient thanks to Intel's new Haswell processor technology, and the Mac Pro--long overdue for an update--is rumored to be getting a radical new overhaul.

New Apple TVs? Not necessarily on the cards--we've not heard any rumors or info from sources.

A New Apple Television? This has been Apple's hottest rumor for ages, but there's been nary a peep out of any source nor any real data leaking out of the company's vast supply chain. If there is an Apple television set, we'd love to hear about it today--and a surprise reveal of this proportion would certainly swing all the tech media's spotlights in Apple's direction--but we're not really expecting it.

How about the iWatch? This rumor is an unknown. Last week Apple was said to have trademarked the name in Russia, and there have been rumors about testing out a small OLED display. Is it possible we'll see it today?

[Image: By Flickr users dogrando, aloshbennett, ivyfield, yto, lucytakakura]

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