Tickets for Apple’s WWDC 2013 event sold out in less than 2 minutes, compared with 2 hours last year. And it’s easy to see why there’s so much anticipation. During the opening keynote, presumably headlined by CEO Tim Cook, Apple is expected to unveil the next version of its mobile operating system in iOS 7 and a new version of OS X. There could also be new hardware in store, which makes sense given that MacBook inventory is drying up. Here’s what to expect from Apple’s big event June 10th in San Francisco, where we’ll be reporting live to bring you all the new goodies.
1. iOS 7 Cometh
Based on reports, Apple’s mobile OS is undergoing a major overhaul, with Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design,introducing a more modern and “flat” design. Apple Insiderrecently posted a screenshot that could give users a hint as to what’s to come. Other rumors point to a revamped home screen and improved gesture support. We’d especially like to see an easier way to access settings. Right now, you have to drill down into menus to toggle Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode and Bluetooth. This is an area where iOS needs to catch up to Android. Other rumored features include AirDrop wireless file-sharing capabilities and much improved car integration.
2. iRadio takes on Pandora
Apple is reportedly rushing to finalize a new ad-supported radio service that will compete with the likes of Pandora, which could be unveiled at WWDC 2013. According to theNew York Times, Apple recently struck a licensing agreement with Warner Music Group to add its artists to the mix. Universal is also on board for music rights, but Sony is allegedly still in the wings. With Google Music All Access already launched, Apple could really use a counterpunch at WWDC 2013 to demonstrate that the company has finally evolved beyond iTunes purchases. The so-called iRadio could be a serious revenue stream, too.Bloomberg says Apple is revamping how it sells mobile ads for this highly anticipated launch.
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3. New MacBooks on the Way
It’s been ages since Apple updated the design of its MacBook Air line, and the timing is right for a refresh. Not only is back-to-school around the corner, but Intel has launched its Haswell chips, which deliver longer battery life along with beefed-up graphics performance. In fact, Apple could debut a MacBook Air with a Retina Display, which would compete against such sharp-screened ultraportables as the Toshiba Kirabook. According to one KGI Securities analyst (via 9 to 5 Mac), Apple may decide to make the 13-inch MacBook Pro thinner while upgrading the camera to full HD. In this scenario, the Air would get a dual mic upgrade and not a Retina screen. We'll have to wait and see.
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4.OS X 10.9 to improve finder, Possibly Integrate Siri
Power users should be pleased by the next version of OS X, if you believe the report from 9 to 5 Mac. At the same time, OS X 10.9 should also offer more in the way of integration with iOS 7. Some of the rumored features include a new tabbed browsing and tags system with the Finder and "improved page loading, speed and efficiency" in the Safari browser. This improvement would certainly be welcome, as we’ve found Chrome to be faster on OS X. MacRumors also says to expect a dedicated space for keeping a full-screen app open, ideal for multimonitor setups. It’s not clear whether Siri will make it into this release, but with Google Now coming to Chrome, the pressure is on Apple to demonstrate that its digital assistant has legs.
5. iOS Gets More Open for Developers
At the D11 conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he wasn’t interested in bringing anything like Facebook Home to iOS (sorry Chat Heads fans), but he did say that “you’ll see us open up more.” In other words, we could see some welcome cracks in Apple’s walled garden at WWDC 2013, with more hooks being offered to developers. For instance, we’d love to see Apple offer different keyboard options, such as SwiftKey. Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch believes that Apple could release an API for Siri that would allow devs to tap into her intelligence, as well as widget access for Notification Center.