We’re just less than a week away from WWDC 2012. As usual, over a thousand developers will turn up along with some carefully selected members of the press, in order to take in what Apple has in store for use over the next 12 months. Like last year, the event will focus predominantly on new software, with hardware not expected at all. There could be new Macs. The MacBook Pro lineup hasn’t seen a major refresh for some time, but, MacBook Air and iMac were both updated last year. So, if we do see new computers, it will almost certainly be a new desktop-replacing notebook, and not an ultrabook or All-in-One.
What we will definitely see: Mountain Lion. Apple’s upcoming Mac software takes even more inspiration from iOS, and applies it to the changes made last year. With Notification Center, Reminders and iMessage built in, we’ll all slowly start making our way back to computers for keeping our day-to-day lives running. We’ll also see changes to iCloud. Nothing major, just the inclusion of an online Reminders presence alongside a Notes app at iCloud.com. We’re also pretty confident that we’ll see iOS 6. There hasn’t been much in terms of solid leaks. We really don’t know what to expect, but, we surely know what we’d like to see. Starting with: a redesigned iOS App Store and third party widgets in Notification Center.
But what about what we probably won’t see? No one seems to be saying that Apple will introduce the iPhone 5/iPhone 6/”The new iPhone”. “Supply chain” sources state that production is kicking off around now, to be ready for September/October launch. But, what if – like last year – the sources are wrong. They stated that they’d seen leaked schematics of the “iPhone 5” and passed them on to case manufacturers, even fairly well known ones like Case-Mate. Third party cases started to appear, apparently solidifying this new redesign as guaranteed. The “4S” in testing was dubbed a “prototype/tester” device which most likely was being used to mask the real identity of the next iOS-powered smartphone. Turns out, the 4S was the only new iPhone in the end.
One thing we didn’t really get last year was leaked parts. Sure, we got some minor components like the camera, and other indistinguishable internal iOrgans. But, nothing that showed any evidence of a redesign. All assumptions and cases were based on the schematics which were most likely just a design Apple was considering, that may never make it in to production. This year’s different. We apparently have leaked back and front panels. They show a new design. It’s similar in that it’s rectangle and flat, but, it’s longer and has an Aluminum panel on the back. There was also some new leaked info on the processor and kernel.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s every chance that these leaks and parts are fake. The new back with an Aluminum back panel rumor was started quite some time back, and the longer 4″ display theory was one posted on a forum at another iOS devoted blog. In my mind, it’s relatively simple to go and create some leaked parts based on rumors, especially if you have the ability and know-how. iPhone rumor traffic online grows every year, and more and more sites are getting in on the action. On the flip side, there’s also a chance that this is just one of many iPhone designs that Apple is trying. The company is known for its expensive and extensive production trial runs and prototyping.
Ignoring both those possibilities for a second, why not dare to ask: what if? What if there’s some small chance that these leaked panels are genuine, and that they are in production now. What if production is in full swing, and that Apple is gearing up for a launch much sooner than September/October? Sure, a 12 month release cycle makes sense, but, it made sense last year, and Apple extended its usual gap between new iPhone models to 16 months. What if the marketing gurus, and design team think that now is the best time to launch another iPhone? Since the crazily successful holiday period, Apple has seen Android surge back in to the lead and now – after One X and SIII launches – could be the perfect time to launch another attack.
Although I don’t think it’s likely, I’m not close minded enough to think that there’s not at least a tiny possibility of it happening. What do you think? Will we see a new iPhone this summer? Tweet me: @TiP_Cam