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« on: May 28, 2010, 07:00:07 pm »

15 Things We Might See at WWDC 2010
   


// //  After search giant Google hurled a barrage of not-so-subtle spears in Apple’s direction at the Google I/O developer conference, all eyes are now on the World Wide Developer Conference that Cupertino will be launching June 7 with a keynote from CEO Steve Jobs.While a fourth-generation iPhone is a given at this point after an absurd number of leaks in recent weeks, Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself promised an inquisitive e-mailer only a few days ago: “You won’t be disappointed.” So we put our thinking cap on and came up with this list of cool stuff we might see when WWDC 2010 kicks off June 7 and wraps up on June 11.Safari 5 (or maybe 4.5)We think Safari is still pretty great, even against more recent challengs from Google Chrome and Firefox 3.6. But with the Chrome browser finally out of beta this week, Apple may have to work harder to pound out Safari’s remaining limitations.Among them: No API for extensions, as noted this week by Daring Fireball’s own John Gruber after Google’s announcement that Chrome is now officially “stable.” That means that great third-party software like 1Password and Evernote has to resort to kludgy hacks to work intimately with Safari. Heck, even good ol’ Adobe Flash might work better with an API (stranger things have happened). Gruber also calls out Apple for not empowering Safari with a true ability to automatically reopen pages left open when the app was closed. Yes, please.New Mac Pros -- Finally!The poor Mac Pro has certainly gone neglected, with its last update more than a year ago. Worse yet, the desktop behemoth still carries a form factor borrowed from the Power Mac G5 before it -- and in computer years, that makes it a veritable dinosaur.Although we’ve heard plenty of rumors about Intel’s new six-core Core i7-980X processor landing in a refreshed Mac Pro as far back as January and February of this year, the summer has arrived and there’s still nothing official on the radar. Creative professionals are likely worried about Apple’s silence with regard to such new hardware, but that could all change with one presentation.Mac OS X 10.7Many developers are also rightfully worried that this year’s WWDC is too focused on iPhone OS, and many questions remain as to when Apple might shed some light on their intentions for Mac OS X 10.7. Granted, Snow Leopard 10.6 was released only last September, but that update was more about optimizing Leopard 10.5 than adding hot new features to the Mac (unless you count getting back a bunch of hard drive space as a “hot” new feature).Our prediction is that Mac OS X 10.7 will get at least a cursory mention at WWDC 2010, and we won’t get a real preview of a new desktop operating system until WWDC 2011. Thankfully, Snow Leopard 10.6 runs like smooth, creamy butter most of the time -- and Apple keeps the updates coming regular enough to squash anything that comes up, with a 10.6.4 patch already in beta testing.iPhone OS 4.0 for iPadWe’ve already seen all of the cool stuff that’s presumably coming next month with iPhone OS 4.0, such as Folders, multitasking and threaded e-mail. But we were bummed to hear that the fresh new iPad won’t get the 4.0 love until sometime this fall, by which time Apple will likely be on 4.1 or so.Here’s hoping that Apple will give us at least a peek at iPhone OS 4.x for the iPad at WWDC -- after all, developers will certainly appreciate a longer lead time to rework their apps for the tablet device after having to rush them together between late January and early April for the U.S. iPad launch. The rest of us will just have to wait… and weep.The Real Apple TV Take 2Remember back in January, 2008 when Apple took the wraps off “Take 2” of its “still a hobby” Apple TV? Despite a price drop, closer ties with iTunes and the ability to purchase content directly from the box itself, the Apple TV has continued to bore most everyone who sees it, except for the die-hard hackers who continue to squeeze as much as possible out of the device’s anemic processor and (gasp!) Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger operating system by way of unsanctioned apps like nitoTV and Boxee.We figure the time has come for a truly revolutionary overhaul of Apple TV, especially now that arch-nemesis Google is breathing down Apple’s neck with Google TV, slated for release this fall. Rumors abound that Apple TV may get iPhone OS-ified and will adopt the tiny A4 architecture that will come standard in the next iPhone. Additionally, the new Apple TV will have 1080p HD and 16GB of storage, as well as be a part of Apple's rumored new cloud storage network. The best part about these rumors is that the device is slated to sell for only $99, which will make die hard Apple fans with a tight budget extremely happy. MobileMe: Now With More Free!Recent rumors have speculated that Apple may take a cue from Google and start offering their cloud-based MobileMe service absolutely free to all users. While that would no doubt raise the ire of longtime .Mac users who have paid good money each year to stay with the often-questionable service, it’s really the only recourse Apple may have to keep up with Google now.MobileMe itself isn’t spectacular as it exists now, save for its awesome push e-mail, Find My iPhone, contacts and calendars. The recent web-based Mail beta shows that Apple is taking baby steps toward improving the service, but they’ve got a long ways to go yet. Let’s see that acquisition of Lala start moving iTunes into the cloud, for instance, and speaking of that...iTunes in the CloudSince Apple purchased Lala.com, pundits have been short-circuiting their craniums trying to guess exactly what Cupertino plans to do with the technology -- and equally as important, when that fateful day might arrive. We’re not so sold on the idea of having iTunes “in the cloud” -- call us old fashioned, but it’s kind of nice to actually feel like you own your music, especially now that it’s finally DRM-free.Be that as it may, Apple now appears late to the cloud-based music game, with Google stepping up to the plate to make Android such a cloud-centric experience. We’re not sure that WWDC is the right forum to finally reveal what the company is doing with Lala’s brains, but surely Apple will have to play their hand soon enough.NEXT: iPhones, iTunes and the MacBook Air>>  A Fourth-Generation iPhone No One is ExpectingWhat if Steve Jobs got on stage for his keynote on June 7 and presented an iPhone that was totally different from what Gizmodo and others have leaked? A new report this week from Digitimes has posed just such a possibility, and proposes that the project, codenamed “N91” -- the leaked iPhone we’ve already seen is “N90” -- may exist as “a parallel product to back up the N90 in case there are major delays due to significant modifications in casing, display resolution, digital camera support and so forth.” The report goes on to describe the backup product as more similar in style and form to the existing iPhone 3GS. At this point, everyone is expecting the leaked iPhone (which has been  dubbed “iPhone HD” by pundits) to allow some kind of video chatting thanks to the widely exposed leaks of the device with a front-facing  camera. Would you be disappointed to see the equivalent of an “iPhone 3GS Plus” at this point? We would...Final Cut Studio 4Sure, we know that the third generation of Final Cut Studio was only released last year, but the update offered little in the way of new features and seemed to take away more than it gave (especially for PowerPC owners, who are now permanently relegated to Final Cut Studio 2, as the newest version requires an Intel processor). The biggest problem with Apple’s pro video suite is that, despite the big 64-bit push with Snow Leopard 10.6, none of Final Cut Studio is 64-bit native -- and those applications could use it.It might be out of character for Apple to unveil a new Final Cut Studio at WWDC, but given the recent hysteria among video professionals upon hearing rumors that the high-end software might be “dumbed down” to make it more consumer-centric, any news on its future would be good news.iTunes 10Speaking of apps that could use a 64-bit kick in the pants -- Apple, what’s going on with iTunes? Despite being the center of the known universe for all iDevices, iTunes continues to be upgraded on top of molasses-like legacy code. It’s like living in a parallel universe, knowing that the Windows version of iTunes is actually faster than it is on the Mac -- that speaks volumes.While cool new features would be welcome also, the reality is that iTunes hasn’t grown all that much over the last few major releases -- does anyone really use the Genius feature, for instance? Where is the built-in lyrics feature for music? (Apple added a section for such metadata several versions back, but you have to do the footwork yourself.) Or how about better media management capabilities, now that we’ve got ever-bigger video files to sync to our iPad but are running out of space on our internal hard drives?iTunes 9.x feels pretty kludgy by this point, so anything is welcome here -- but keep in mind that most big iTunes updates tend to come later in the year, often coupled with the release of new iPods.iLife ’11Maybe we’re starting to sound like a broken record here, but iLife ’09 is another Apple package that’s getting long in the tooth, and could also use a much-needed 64-bit transfusion. We can’t be the only ones who notice that iPhoto, for example, starts to bog down the more we throw pictures at it, so… there’s that. And don’t get us started about iMovie, which for all of its simplicity is an absolute speed dog when you actually have to use it.Hey, perhaps we’re just impatient -- but it seems to us that for all the advancements in the processor and graphics speed of our Macs, it doesn’t take long before all this great software starts to bog down. iLife ’11 might be a few more months in the oven, but it’s never too early to request that Apple slow down on the new features and pull a Snow Leopard here: Let’s see some performance tweaks!iPhone OS + Jailbreak = LoveIf Apple really wanted to make heads spin at WWDC, they’d put down their swords and start playing nice with the jailbreak community. You know, those guys (and gals?) who tirelessly work to free iPhone OS from Apple’s shackles so we can install stuff that Cupertino wishes didn’t exist in the first place, including a GSM unlock for our iPhone (which also frees us from AT&T’s heavy ball and chain at the same time).Frankly, the “cat and mouse game” (as Steve Jobs himself has referred to it) has kind of landed in favor of the jailbreak community anyway of late, with even the latest iPhone OS 4.0 beta build being easy prey for the jailbreak geniuses. Maybe it’s time for Apple to stop worrying and love the jailbreak, officially opening up the device to other apps beyond their gated App Store walls. We can dream, can’t we…?MacBook Air, ReduxNow that the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines have gotten a souped-up refresh and the iPad is on the scene, the MacBook Air is beginning to look a little more overpriced and underpowered than usual. Even though the device is barely two and a half years old, it may be time for Apple to either put it out of its misery or rework it as a touchscreen-enabled, lust-worthy member of Cupertino’s notebook lineup.It’s not hard to imagine that one day soon, the MacBook Air might very well become the “iPad Extreme” -- think of an iPad with attached hardware keyboard, maybe even capable of dual-booting both Mac OS X and iPhone OS so you can get the best of both worlds. We might line up for that one!iPhone Goes CDMAWill they or won’t they? An iPhone compatible with the CDMA networks used by Verizon Wireless and Sprint here in the U.S. has been rumored and desired since the device took center stage at the Macworld 2007 keynote, and here we are more than three years later and AT&T continues to have an exclusive clamp on the GSM-only device.Of course, rumors have run rampant in recent months that AT&T’s exclusive contract is about to end, and that possibly both Verizon and Sprint will finally get in the iPhone game -- to the detriment of AT&T, who is reported to lose possibly as much as 40 percent of its customer base as they defect to one of the CDMA carriers. No better time to announce such a device than at WWDC, where an annual refresh of the iPhone hardware is expected to be a lock.All we ask is that Apple make it an “all in one” device -- meaning both GSM and CDMA, so we can sign in blood with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T here and then have the freedom to buy local GSM-based SIM cards for international travel. Is that asking too much?Presenting… Something Totally New?Apple has had a busy year refreshing its Mac hardware, announcing and subsequently launching the iPad and prepping for the rumored fourth-generation iPhone expected in June, but what if we’ve all overlooked something totally new? Cupertino would seem to have all of the bases covered, from laptop and desktop computers, portable media devices, mobile phones and peripherals -- but that doesn’t mean they can’t still sneak in a curve ball to “shock and awe” us.The question is, what might that be? Only Steve Jobs and maybe a handful of others in Cupertino presumably know the answer to that question, but Apple has a way of dazzling us by reinventing something we’ve always taken for granted, such as the cell phone (with the original iPhone in 2007) or even our very definition of “portable” music (the original iPod in 2001).Whatever it might be, you’re almost certainly guaranteed to have never needed it before, but you’ll surely have to have it once Steve Jobs whips it out. That’s just how Apple rolls.*****Of course, WWDC isn’t simply about hot new Apple products -- it’s about the company intimately working with third-party developers to create the next generation of software that we’ll all swoon over. One thing that the iPhone OS-based devices have shown us: The future is less about hardware and more about the software that runs it.Viewed in that light, the developer conference isn’t simply a “gee-whiz” keynote with fancy new toys from Apple, but rather a plentiful seeding of developer talent that will grow over time and continue to harvest wonders for years to come. We can’t wait to see what Apple helps them create next!
     

http://www.maclife.com/article/feature/15_things_we_might_see_wwdc_2010
   
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