Apple’s 24th annual developers conference kicks off next week, and will be the company’s first event in more than seven months.
The conference lasts the entire week, but the highlight is Monday’s keynote address, where Apple typically announces new products and services. This year, Apple has only said it will give developers new versions of iOS and OS X software, though there’s likely to be a surprise or two.
Expectations are high, in no small part because it’s been so long since Apple has released anything new. Its last big product launch was the iPad Mini in October, and the months since then have contained little besides tweaks to some existing products. The company has also attempted to temper expectations in the lead up to WWDC, saying there are “amazing” things, but that they were coming in the fall, and throughout next year.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things to look forward to at next week’s conference. We’ve rounded up some of the top rumors going into the show, as well as our own expectations.
Apple has already said it will be showing off new versions of iOS and OS X, though the software will almost certainly be only for developers to test before either is released to the public. In the past there has been a several months-long delay between when developers first get new software, and when it’s released to the public.
As a frame of reference from last year: OS X Mountain Lion went out as a developer preview in February, and was released as a finished product near the end of July. iOS 6 went out as a developer preview at WWDC in June, and was released to everyone else in late September. Apple patched bugs and added a few more features along the way.
iOS 7 is expected as a follow-up to iOS 6, which first debuted at last year’s WWDC. There’s been much rumbling about a complete visual overhaul led by Apple’s top designer Jony Ive, a detail that was confirmed by CEO Tim Cook in an interview last week. Impressively, few details of new features and functionality have leaked out ahead of Apple’s reveal. Here are some of the big ones:
- New interface — A report from 9to5Mac in April, as well as the New York Times in October suggested Apple was changing the design to do away with many longstanding visual features of iOS. 9to5Mac’s report, in particular, suggested Apple would keep the functionality of iOS apps and features the same, but lose some of the digital facsimiles of real world objects in favor of simpler designs. A purportedly leaked shot of the new look cropped up earlier this week (pictured above).
- More gestures — Also from the 9to5Mac report, Apple was said to be looking into additional ways to access basic information with gestures, similar to what it currently uses with a one-finger swipe to bring up Notification Center, and a four-finger swipe on the iPad to pull up the multitasking menu.
- More sharing tools – Once again from 9to5Mac is a report Apple plans to add its AirDrop file-sharing service, which is built into OS X, into iOS so that users can swap files with one another if they’re on the same Wi-Fi network. The blog also adds that Apple intends to build in system-level integration to send media to Flickr and Vimeo.
- More Yahoo — An April report from The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says Apple and Yahoo are working together to bring more of Yahoo’s content and services to Apple’s devices. That includes more content from Yahoo’s sports and news sites.