Apple WWDC: What to expect

It's that time of year again – time for Apple's annual developer's conference, where the Cupertino company often unveils anything from a new OS to a new iPhone.

But as with any other year, product launch rumours are flying fast, some more substantiated than others. A new iPhone is naturally batted back and forth, despite the fact that the iPhone 4S has been around less than a year, as is the arrival of Siri to the iPad.

We've rounded up some of the more popular whispers in the weekend before WWDC. See how right the rumours were this time next week!


WWDC logo


iOS 6

What The updated OS for iPhone and iPad, an announcement often made independent of new device launches. This year, we're likely to see more synching and apps that work across iOS and OS X for Mac computers, as more people take on a tablet as a third screen to their laptops and smartphones.

How likely Very. At WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs announced iOS 5, a massive evolution from iOS 4 that saw the introduction of iCloud, Apple's cross-device backup and online storage service. UPDATE: iOS 6 has been all but confirmed by banners spotted in the Apple WWDC venue!



Apple iPhone 5?


iPhone 5

What The longer, thinner and totally redesigned iPhone, apparently packing a low-power dual-core chip and a unibody chassis. It could be anywhere from 3.99-inches to 4.6-inches in screen size.

How likely Not at all. The iPhone 4S hasn't had a year of sale time while iOS 5 was announced sans-device at WWDC last year. Apple is clever in its adherence to the two-year length of most phone contracts, and will stick to a yearly update for its phones alongside annual software updates that ensure two-year old phones – like the iPhone 3GS – still support the newest iOS. 


Facebook integration for iOS 6


Facebook integration 

What Facebook baked into iOS 6, much like Twitter was built into iOS 5. Few details have emerged, but features could include direct posting of photos from the gallery with an accompanying status message, and the addition of a Facebook 'Like' button to apps in the App Store. 

How likely Quite. According to ITProPortal, Apple CEO Tim Cook replied to queries of why Facebook integration had been left out of iOS 5 with 'stay tuned for more news'.


Apple Maps 

What Apple is dumping Google Maps for its own mapping app, featuring a 3D layer much like traffic or satellite mode. 

How likely Very. As the king of the software walled garden, it makes a lot of sense for Apple to use a proprietary maps app. Apple has already purchased three mapping software companies, and two of them, C3 Technologies and Poly9, focus on mapping in the third dimension. 


Siri on iPad?


Siri for iPad

What Trusted sources say that the personable voice control app exclusive to the iPhone 4S will finally troll over to the iPad. Unlike Siri on the iPhone, Siri on the iPad will be a small window on top of whatever app you're in, allowing you to bark orders while watching movies, typing emails or surfing the ol' info superhighway.

How likely Somewhat. Apple doesn't usually do things because its fanboys clamour for them, but it seems that testing has been ongoing for the 'digital personal assistant' to take on tablet form.


New iCloud

What More features for Apple's backup and online storage app, including the ability to work with photos in the cloud, such as sharing and commenting. It's possible that other files, like Notes and Reminders, will be able to be synched to iCloud as well.

How likely Very. Apple only introduced iCloud last June with iOS 5, but it was already following in the footsteps of existing online storage apps - Dropbox, anyone? Its new features would incorporate what apps like the excellent Evernote do, making iCloud the most well-rounded cloud service for smartphone and computer - for now. 


iPad Mini 

What A seven-inch version of the Apple slate, pipped to launch with the next iPhone.

How likely Pretty much won't happen. The last iPad (or 'new iPad') came out in March – a more likely launch date for a smaller, slightly tweaked iPad would be the middle of its year-long product cycle, in other words, autumn. Along with a new iPhone possibly? 


Apple has posted a schedule at the official site, showing plenty of workshops and talks on developing for iOS, the iPhone and its Retina display – as well as several 'To Be Announced' slots, most likely about features of the new iOS. We'll have the full rundown starting from Monday!  

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