WWDC 2013: It’s like the old times again

I’m really excited about the imminent keynote to kick-off this year’s Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference. It’s usually a time when the fruity company announces its latest and greatest – at one time, the next iPhone, but more importantly, its latest addition of OS X, and iOS. Whilst we Apple devout aren’t expecting a new iPad or iPhone announcement this year, Apple designer Jony Ive’s influence on the latest iOS – iOS 7 – is widely expected to make its debut.

However, with so many conflicting reports, and the tight secrecy that’s for once befalling a recent Apple event, today’s keynote is actually anybody’s guess. Which is exactly as it was a few years ago, exactly how I remembered it, and exactly what drew me to religiously following these Apple events.

It seems that in the past few Apple events, perhaps since the ones held around Steve Jobs’ death, Apple’s tightness on secrecy has loosened somewhat. In fact, before the iPhone 5 was announced in October last year, we knew most of its features. The official keynote event just became the formality for a product that was, for the most part, already announced through its copious part leaks.

I guess that’s the beauty of a software-centric event: software can be a lot more tightly controlled, since it’s mainly developed and built in a centralised location, and not much can really be leaked. Sure, we’ve got a very grainy photo of a pre-alpha (i.e. really early build) of what the new iOS will look like. Which doesn’t say much, as it would’ve changed significantly in subsequent builds and internal tests.

But there’s so much Apple can potentially talk about. They’ve been conspicuously silent in quarter 1 this year, whilst their competitors have been very busy: Samsung announced the Galaxy S4, a monster of a mobile device; Microsoft revealed the (lacklustre) Xbox One; even Google held its annual I/O conference and has been making waves with more details on its Project Glass. Whilst Apple mentioned moving to a yearly release cycle for OS X, it revealed nothing at the beginning of this year about 10.9, despite having announced 10.8 in the same timeframe last year, having it ready for the WWDC ’12 developer rush to test. Right now, however, 10.9 is still anyone’s guess, and time will only tell…

Then there’s Mac hardware, something that’s widely expected to debut despite a lack of major part leaks (is Tim Cook finally “doubling-down” on secrecy like he promised almost a year ago?). But pro-level hardware is best targeted at pros, who will be in abundance at the Moscone West centre in San Francisco for the week-long conference. A new Mac Pro is imminent, and might get launched – significant for us consumers and prosumers, since whatever specs the big Mac gets will inevitably set the tone for the next generation of Macintosh hardware.

I will be following the keynote with scrutiny as it unfolds, via the live blogs. You’ll be sure to get my verdict of whatever transpires soon after. This is one Apple event fans can be sure not to miss – there’s just too much drama surrounding it!

A quick roundup of what’s rumoured to be announced:

Most likely:

  • iOS 7: completely redesigned, with a “flatter” and “black and white-heavy” look, headed by design guru Jony Ive, the man who designed Apple’s iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBooks, and a multitude of their other successes.
  • OS X 10.9: major speculation on what it’ll be called, it its going to be named after a big cat at all.
  • iRadio: an Apple-led streaming music service that’s long been rumoured.
  • New MacBooks: MacBooks with Retina all-round, perhaps?
  • Mac Pro: could the beast of a machine they pass for a computer finally get the major update it deserves…?

Less likely:

  • New versions of iWork and iLife for Mac
  • Logic Pro X
  • Aperture X

Least likely:

  • New iPhone (5S or 6?)
  • Low-cost iPhone
  • iPad 5
  • iPad mini with Retina display

iOS hardware is a big enough market now for it to warrant its own, dedicated event. Historic precedent also indicates that, following iPhone release cycles up to 2012, these devices would be announced in the September-October timeframe along with the final build of iOS 7 perhaps.

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