WWDC 2012 will be kicking off in a few days time, and we’ll be ensuring that we keep you up to date with any and every update as it happens. We’ll be covering the keynote with a liveblog (stay tuned for official page) starting from 10am Pacific Time on Monday, June 11 (1pm Eastern, 6pm British Summer Time). But, until then, do you know what you’re expecting? What’s realistic, and what is iDreaming? Here’s the lowdown on everything so far.
The one thing we know is definitely going to make an appearance on Monday: Mac’s latest operating system. Mountain Lion is set to pick up where Lion left off, integrating even more iOS features and UIs to increase the visual appeal and simplicity of OS X. The biggest improvement is the addition of Notification Center. You’ll receive alerts in a separate grey bar on the side of your home screen whenever an update requires your attention (third party apps included).
iMessages will boost your network of iFriends, by allowing you to send messages to any Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad user out there. If you have multiple iDevices, it’ll update simultaneously across all of them. You can download the beta version of Messages for Lion now, but, the beta will run out when the official version is launched on Mountain Lion.
Along with its iOS friends – iMessage and Notification Center – Reminders will be making its first appearance as a native app on Mac OS X. Personally, I can’t wait. I use Wunderlist currently, and have to remember to keep opening it up in Chrome, or as a separate app. With Reminders, there’s no installation required, it’s just there. For more in depth reminders, or jotting down thoughts, recipes and the like, Notes will have its own presence separate from the Mail app. What this means is that in future, I won’t need to open the ever-unreliable Mail app to check them. Twitter integration is also worth mentioning, and will undoubtedly make sharing thoughts and images with your followers much simpler.
The inbuilt compatibility with iCloud will be improved, with more cross-device updating taking place: emails, calendars, documents and the rest. iCloud is the future hub of your digital life, better get used to it. Another, less-hyped about feature is Share Sheets. From almost any of Apple’s apps, you can share pictures, links etc. with friends on Flickr, Vimeo, Twitter, and many more. And then there’s Game Center and AirPlay mirroring. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet looking update. Thankfully, there are no major image changes this time around.
Thanks to Apple keeping up its usual act of ultimate secrecy, we don’t know a great deal about iOS 6. We do know that there are some pretty big rumors going around. Features like deeper Facebook integration have been dabbled with in rumorville, thanks to some vague comments by Tim Cook, Apple CEO.
Apple may well be drawing closer to Facebook and Twitter with its software refreshes, but, it seems to be doing all it can to distance itself from Google. iOS 6 will allegedly feature new 3D maps from a company named C3 technologies. Thus, replacing Google as its maps provider (side note: Apple also found a different company to provide its map images for iPhoto locations earlier in the year.)
Other possibly refreshes: iTunes, iBooks and the App Store will speculatively be getting a design update as part of iOS 6. There’s nothing definitive on what it will look like, but, lets hope that the changes are more to do with the process of downloading multiple apps, and not just prettifying the store layout.
Everybody and their Mac-loving dogs was expecting new Macs to be here already. Traditionally, Mac computers get refreshes almost every 9 months (normally performance and part bumps: processors etc.). And, usually, MacBook Pros get one at a different time to the Air. iMac gets its own timetable, as well as the Mac Pro and Mac Mini. To keep us all on our toes, it appears as though Cupertino’s marketing and design teams have decided it best to get them all out at once. According to a recent leak from AppleInsider, there’s a whole list of new Apple Macs on their way. Now, I won’t be expecting a new iMac or Air design, but, Mac Pro and MacBook Pro are both in need of a make over. There’s nothing on a new Mac Mini so far.
However much we’d all like there to be a new iPhone, it’s probably not going to happen. Instead, it’s more likely that we’ll see a new AirPort Express. I know, anti-climax. Despite the recent flurry of leaks, it is strongly believed that the next iOS-powered smartphone won’t make an appearance until September/October time.
If you have any thoughts on WWDC 2012; on what we might see, or what you’d like to see, feel free to tweet me: @TiP_Cam, or leave a comment in the usual bit below this post.