The geek event of the summer is upon us. After months of speculation, Steve Jobs will vindicate and dispel an assortment of rumors surrounding Apple's new line of hardware, software and cloud computing technology at his World Wide Developers Conference keynote speech at 10 a.m. PST. Here are the leading expectations for what he'll unveil at the Moscone West center in San Francisco, alongside a range of wishful thinking for the company's software and product lines.
The most anticipated service of the day is Apple's iCloud service. "The new service will reportedly scan your hard drive and then automatically let you start streaming your music with no physical uploading required by you," reports Ian Paul at PC World. "What's not clear is whether automatic music streaming will extend to your entire collection or just your music purchases." The Wall Street Journal reported last week that all four music labels have signed on to iCloud, which will inevitably give the service more features than Google's Music Beta or Amazon's Cloud Drive, which never won consent. Apple insider John Gruber says the iCloud may be incorporated into iTunes. "Syncing data between devices tends to work best when there’s a canonical store," he writes. "With iPhones, iPods, and iPads, the central store for almost all data stored on the devices is iTunes running on your Mac or PC. With iCloud, that should shift to the cloud." It's possible that the service will be free for a trial period. The Los Angeles Times says when the trial period is over, it will cost $25 per year. The Guardian's Charles Arthur speculates that iCloud might allow previously purchased TV episodes and movies to "appear" in the cloud but says it's "not very likely, because the TV and movie studios have been silent on this." Another rumor about the iCloud is that it will absorb Apple's current cloud service MobileMe, which is expesinve ($100 per year) and not very popular. In a scoop from yesterday morning, Leander Kahney at Cult of Mac reported that a source close to the company says, "Apple has developed a system to make users’ Time Machine backups available through its new iCloud service." Intead of being a local backup, customers will be able to store all their backed up information in the cloud and it will be available to your computers, iPods and iPhones anywhere you go.
The other big unveiling will be the next generation operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. "The new version is expected to contain more social-networking features, such as the ability to easily share photos to Twitter," reports Mark Millian at CNN. "iOS 5 may also usher in a new system for application notifications, replacing the pop-ups that users get for new text messages or sports score alerts." Arthur says it's likely that iOS 5 will offer better multi-tasking, iCloud integration and Widgets "that let you link directly to turn your Wi-Fi/3G/sound/whatever on or off." Paul expects that iOS 5 will offer a voice recognizition feature due to the fact that Apple acquired Siri in 2010, "an iPhone productivity app with excellent voice recognition."
OS X 10.7 Lion
Galen Gruman at InfoWorld has a lot of details on what's in store for Apple's operating system update. This inludes: "whole-disk encryption for both the startup and external disks, a new wipe capability for all data, full-screen applications, a new capability app developers can use so that documents autosave intermediate versions within them and that automatically locks documents from unintential saves after two weeks of nonuse, a revamped Mail client that offers enhanced message threading, the ability to open applications and their documents where you left off when you restart the Mac, support for more iOS-style gestures, and a new navigation tool for applications and documents." In announcements, Apple has said Lion will ship "this summer" with no further specifics.
A New iPhone?
Don't bet on it. "Apple is unlikely to unveil a new mobile phone, as it has done at the last four Worldwide Developers Conferences, starting with the first iPhone in 2007," a supply-industry analyst tells CNN. "The company may instead announce an iPhone in September, when new iPods are generally paraded on stage, analysts say."