The last time the world was treated to an Apple World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, the world didn’t know it would entail the last major public appearance of Hari Seldon-esque visionary, Steven P. Jobs, formerly CEO of what may well be, at least up until now, the greatest technology company of all time.
Fast forward a year, and Apple has grown tremendously with now-CEO Tim Cook at the helm, doing what he can to ease concerns about worker conditions in Chinese factories, while overseeing the launch of the new iPad and ensuring that the next versions of iOS, Mac OS X and all manner of iHardware is smoothly delivered.
With WWDC due to kick off in just a few hours time, the banners declaring iOS 6 to be the world’s most advanced mobile operating system come as no surprise – everyone’s waiting to see what new amazingness the next iOS will deliver, above and beyond the rumoured and expected Twitter-like Facebook integration.
Developers and their apps will also feature during the afternoon session on day one, instead of being held in the evening when day one conference fatigue and other matters may keep some away, elevating Apple’s relationship with its developers at its own developer conference to an ever higher level.
Mac OS X 10.8, or “Mountain Lion”, which has been widely previewed, is also naturally expected to feature heavily, with iOS-derived features to shine – and take some of the focus away from the mobile/desktop merged operating system that Microsoft will introduce later this year as Windows 8.
Everyone's also expecting iCloud to offer more features, while the word is that Siri will finally be beefed up further, opened up further, and perhaps even introduced to the iPad and Mac OS X.
As always, there are rumours of new hardware – an iPhone 5 and a range of new Retina-class MacBooks, if not iMacs as well, but there’s also serious doubt as to whether these will appear at this event, or not.
Any Apple announcement is guaranteed to get major global publicity, so why should Apple lay out all its hardware cards on the table at this conference if it doesn’t need to?
Apple’s next iPhone isn’t theoretically due until around September anyway, if the timeframe of the iPhone 4S last year is anything to do by, while some say that a later June or even July launch is when we’ll see those new MacBooks appear, just so that the WWDC focus stays on software and development, instead of being all abuzz about new hardware.
As always, there’s hope of a “one more thing” or a “boom” or two, along with whatever surprises Apple wants to surprise us with, above and beyond the more-or-less predictable predictions that have been made thus far.
So, while Microsoft wipes the egg off its Norwegian face, Apple gears up for the most important WWDC yet, while most likely saving the big hardware announcements for the not-too distant future.
Of course, reality tomorrow could be very different, which would be no surprise for a company so adept at distorting reality, but whatever happens, we’re all expecting it to be good, so here’s to a great WWDC – and if we’re lucky, maybe even a Hari Seldon-like video message from Steve Jobs, which would certainly be the most unexpected “one more thing” of them all!