By June 5, 2011

WWDC 2011: Rumour Roundup!

Screen shot 2011-06-05 at 22.35.36.jpg WWDC is less than a day away and as usual, the rumour mill has churning out everything imaginable to do with this keynote presentation. For those who are to busy or for those who simply forgot to catch up on what the rumour mill has pumped out over the past few months, here is a guide to what will probably happen at this years World Wide Developers Conference.



We have had confirmation from Apple that CEO Steve Jobs will be announcing details about Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud. However the full details are of these products are still clouded in mystery.

Mac OS X Lion is the next major release of Apple’s desktop OS. The big features have already been announced last October such as LaunchPad (a way to view your mac apps in an iOS-like view), Mission Control (ExposĂ© on steroids) and full-screen apps (that’s self explanatory) but as for new features, there hasn’t been much chatter concerning this topic. More likely this portion of the presentation will be a recap and announcements of the release data and price.

The next topic in our list is Apple’s mobile operating system: iOS 5. As this is a rather significant milestone, I reckon, along with most of the Internet, that this will be the most important part and therefore take the longest section of the keynote.

Firstly is notifications. There is no argument when it comes to the quality of the way that Apple has implemented them – they are truly awful. They come up into the middle of the screen, pausing your game/movie/application and they shout into your face what it needs to tell you, forcing you to stop whatever you are doing and either deal with it or ignore it. Whereas with Android, WebOS and Blackberry, they notify you by a sound, vibration or icon to subtly let you know that it exists – letting you deal with it how you wish. This is arguably the worst thing about iOS right now and this should be the first thing that Apple should of addressed in this new version of iOS.

Another almost certainty is instant activation. Apple has been talking about their iOS products as “Post-PC devices” but that isn’t necessarily true as when you first open the box, you have to connect to iTunes and if Apple wants to make the statement true, they should allow users to simply activate their brand new device by simply entering their Apple ID credentials.

Wi-Fi syncing and firmware updates should also be another thing that Apple has to address with iOS 5 to claim that their mobile devices are of a Post-PC era. There are two ways that I see Apple could do this: Firstly they could backup the device overnight, while checking if there is a software update to the connected iTunes computer but that would mean that computer would have to be on and running iTunes – therefore going against the Post-PC era message. Secondly, which makes slightly more sense, is that the device will backup the content on the device to iCloud (more on this later), and if a software update is present, download it and automatically install while you are sleeping, hence removing it from a computer and making the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch a true Post-PC device.

Now onto the probable section. Angry Birds is a game I have completed multiple times on my multiple iOS devices because my place isn’t synced between devices. This is rather annoying so wouldn’t it make sense for Apple to offer an API to app developers so that your place into the game will be pushed up to the cloud, and when you next start the game on a different device, it continues where you left off as it is being pushed down to your handset upon initiation.

Ever since Apple bought Siri (which is a very clever voice search app), there have raised hopes by many that they will improve the basic voice control options debuted in iOS 3. Steve Jobs called the technology from Siri “Artificial Intelligence” and perhaps that could be the intent of the purchase – allowing the user to fully control your iPhone from your voice, catching upto the significant lead Android has gained ever since the Nexus One.
Turn-by-turn directions is another feature that Android has over iOS, arguably one of the best features about Android. While it would be a welcome addition, there have been no rumours about this particular feature, aside from Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt confirming that their Google Maps partnership has been renewed.

The first in the “possible, but unlikely” category is a file system. While maybe needed in document management, I do not think that this will be included. Not that I wouldn’t like it, but I do not think that Apple will included it as most people do not have a need for it/know what it is.

Possibly the most unlikely but definetly the coolest if it comes true is if Apple offers a Theme Store. One of the main reasons why people Jailbreak their iOS devices is to make their device look and feel how they wish. While I doubt that Apple will venture as to the customisable lengths that are available on Cydia, it is not out of the realm of possibilty that Apple could offer users to change the default system wide Blue to the colour of their choosing. However, Apple could go all out and open up a Theme Store and allow developers to change how iOS looks, giving users their Theme fix. This could make Apple a lot of money as users love to use themes and this chunk of change could be an incentive for Apple to jump through the technical hoops to create this store.

As for the features of iCloud, I think that it will not only be MobileMe rebranded, but an improved one at that.

The killer feature of this service will be the Music streaming service. Unlike Amazon and Google who have just launched their online data locker service that is just a dropbox clone with an included media streamer, Apple’s offering will set it apart from the rest because you will not need to upload your entire music library, at least those songs and albums that you have bought from iTunes. It will identify songs that you have bought and allow you to access it from their server (the North Carolina one to be exact) without being uploaded. Seeing as it has been leaked from several sources that Apple has gotten music deals with the 4 biggest music labels, this is now a legal possibility for Apple.

As for albums ripped from CDs or songs that date back to Napster days, I feel that Apple will not leave users in such a situation from streaming their music collection; All music not purchased from the iTunes store will have to be uploaded by the user. I hope that you will get at least 10GB of storage for music and files combined as default but Apple will offer the opportunity for users to purchase extra rack space for those who were pretty active during the Napster era.

I do think that the music streaming feature will be the biggest and newest feature seen in iCloud but all as I said earlier, I predict that iCloud will be a rebranding of MobileMe; Meaning that we will see all the current features seen in Apple’s current cloud offering: email, calendar, photo hosting, online storage and contacts but just under a different moniker.

As for any other features, I think that the things I talked about earlier will go through iCloud: backing up the device, saving places in games and iOS device activation but Apple could implement pretty much anything to do with online through iCloud; It is just a matter of time.

When it comes to the interface, I expect that there will be a new section in the iPod app for music streaming that will access your online music library easily and quickly from the same place where you will access locally stored MP3s. But also there will be a standalone app, specifically for accessing iCloud as well as being fully integrated into iOS 5 at the OS level, a perk that I also hope that will be seen in OS X Lion.

The keynote will start at 10am Pacific time which is 6pm here in Blighty, so stay tuned to tracyandmatt as we will be covering it live, as soon as it happens!


Posted by: Patrick



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