UPDATE: MAY 31, 2011 - Apple has officially announced that WWDC 2011 will showcase the new Mac OS X Lion, the new iOS 5.0, and a new service called iCloud, presumably set to make all those wireless syncing and cloud iTunes dreams come true. We don't yet know, however, whether Apple will introduce any of its services immediately, or if they will be introduced "in the near future" - we'll just have to wait until the actual WWDC announcement to find out!
Original story continues below:
As always, Apple aims to excel and produce a spectacular show, backed up by actual hardware and software advances and improvements.
With Mac sales growing, the iPad 2 still hard to get at retail and yet selling by the bucketload, the successful iPhone 4 soon to be succeeded by an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 and Microsoft's Windows 8 nowhere in sight, 2011 could be Apple's most pivotal year.
The magic will be in how well Apple manages to integrate the iPad experience into Mac OS X, and the imminent WWDC event set to unveil Lion's secrets - and if TUAW's rumours are to be believed - the surprise 'early' WWDC availability of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion itself.
A combination of Mac OS X and the iPad iOS also suggests a future MacBook with full keyboard and touchpad along with full multi-touch screen. Perhaps the screen and keyboard will be seamlessly detachable and attachable, and available as a distinct device to the iPad.
Perhaps the two will merge. Hopefully WWDC explains more, but OS X 10.7, has to work with current non-touchscreen Intel-based Macs, so touch-screen Macs may not be coming just yet.
We do know, however, thanks to various online reports including that of TUAW, which shows the latest build of Mac OS X 10.6.8 and its pre-installation notice.
There's a key line about 'enhancing the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion' - details on page two, please read on!
The 10.6.8 update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes that:
- Resolve an issue that may cause Preview to unexpectedly quit
- Improve support for IPv6
- Improve VPN reliability
- Identify and remove known variants of Mac Defender
The key line is 'Enhance the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion'.
OS X 10.7 was meant to come 'in the summer', and while that's officially meant to come June 21/22 at the solstice, some in the US take it to start around Memorial Day in the last week of May - which we're in right now.
So, a 'summer' launch with launch-day availability could well be on the WWDC cards, and if not, it presumably will be coming along shortly thereafter.
However, it all has to happen yet, and as always, expectations are sky high for a highly crunchy evolution of epic iProportions, and with a week to go, plenty of time for feverish rumour-mongering to go!
What last-minute rumours will emerge next?!