So what do we expect from WWDC this year? We know 3 things so far, IOS 5, Lion, and iCloud. These three things will take up and excuse the phrase the lions share of what goes on at WWDC. Other less notable things would likely be questions from developers about the Lodsys debacle, we may also see new Airport and Time Capsule announcements tied to iCloud. Lets move through the rumors.
Lion – OS X 10.7 will bring many changes over from the IOS world such as Launchpad which resembles the folder expansion introduced in Snow Leopard, and also full screen apps. The full screen apps will be welcome to those of us who do not need to see the app bar at the bottom and allow us hopefully to navigate at the bottom of the app without popping the app bar up. The other few notable things are Mission Control (Think Windows 7 window management), the expansion of FileVault which brings XTS-AES-128 bit encryption to your entire drive, and Airdrop which allows you to share files with anyone nearby wirelessly. Rounding it up you also have versions, autosave, and resume which all relate to how you work with your apps by backing up changes, to restoring where you were at if you ran a software update in the background and rebooted your machine.
Expected price? Considering a lot of this is feature creep, but with a few added value features I would expect it to fall between 59 and 89 dollars. I would consider 129 a high price for what were getting when you consider some things like launchpad already exists, and Mission Control is duplicate of several apps out already such as Better Snap Tool.
IOS 5 – Steve has had a singular focus on IOS since it was launched and with every new version we have seen great new features. What’s different this time around is aside from iCloud integration nobody really knows what it’s bringing except rumors about more customization and twitter *rolls eyes*. Seriously who still uses twitter? I’m not even sure what to expect other than it probably will not support the iPhone 3G, and there’s a slim chance the 3GS may be left out if Apple announces the next iPhone at WWDC. I give that prospect a 50/50 chance being in the form of “One More Thing”.
iCloud – What we know through “reports” is that iCloud is another of these cloud services. People may wonder what the cloud is, we’ll it’s nothing new, the cloud has always been the internet. What they really mean is that the services are hosted on a giant server farm that’s supposed to provide massive capacity and redundancy. If anyone is familiar with the outages involving Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud aka EC2, it can still have catastrophic failures. It also exposed a number of websites reliance on a service rather than maintain their own hardware. This website itself is actually hosted on a cloud service, the main benefit is that I can expand my cpu power as needed to handle high loads and crank it back during lulls.
The rumor mill is that Apple has signed a number of agreements with content providers along with providing some cash up front to grease the wheels so to speak. We all know how the labels hate new ways of getting content to users so the money was probably a necessity, I seriously doubt the labels myopic views have changed any.
It is expected to provide ways to upload your content to the “Cloud” and be able to access it anywhere. Sounds great, but I’m positive that the Wireless carriers are cringing at the prospects of another heavy streaming service will creep up on their networks. Will AT&T and Verizon limit it to Wifi only? Only time will tell. Expect to see a free portion of the service which will hopefully include what many of us pay for already on me.com to finally come about. Me’s service offerings work, but I doubt the 99 dollar price point is really in line with the services or amount of service people actually take advantage of.
Airport/Time Capsule – Rumors state that these are becoming scarce, yes at my local Apple store you can only find one of each, and luckily I decided to not purchase one right before these rumors came out. The expectation is that these may migrate to a IOS based setup. What we have not seen is a IOS based web server provided from Apple to handle administration of the Airport or Time Capsule products. I would not expect much of a price decrease if these come out as Apple is famous for refreshing products to maintain their lofty prices. If they produce a 450mbps Airport Extreme, I will probably be in line for one if the price remains similar.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting week and hopefully after WWDC and can begin speculating on when the next Mac Mini and MacBook Air will release, both are overdue, and I’m sure there are those waiting on a new Mac Pro with all the Thunderbolt goodness.