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What to expect from Apple at WWDC 2013: iOS 7, OS X 10.9, new Macs, iPhone 6, iPad 5?
- — 15 May, 2013 13:22
On 24 April, Apple announced that its annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in San Francisco from 10 June to 14 June.
Speculation about what could be unveiled during the conference includes a new Mac Pro, new MacBooks, iPhone 6, iPad 5, a new iPad mini an iWatch, an Apple Television and more. In a press release, Apple revealed that developers in attendance will be treated to an "in-depth look" at the future of iOS and OS X, which we expect means previews of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9, Apple's next mobile and Mac operating systems, at WWDC 2013.
"At the five-day conference, developers from around the world will learn about the future of iOS and OS X, enabling them to create incredible new apps with innovative features," the press release reads. "WWDC will also feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by over 1,000 Apple engineers, hands-on labs to help developers integrate new technologies, as well as the popular Apple Design awards, a showcase of the most outstanding apps available through the App Store and Mac App Store."
All 5,000 tickets for the event, which cost £1,050 each, sold out within two minutes - a record for Apple. In 2012, it took two hours for the tickets to sell out, and the previous year's tickets sold out in 10 hours. "Enthusiasm for WWDC 2013 has been incredible," Apple wrote on its Developer site shortly after the tickets were released. For those developers unable to attend, Apple will be posting videos of all the sessions online during the conference.
WWDC 2013: What to expect
WWDC will kick off with an Apple keynote on 10 June - a date that is rapidly approaching. Here, we've rounded up all new Apple products that are rumoured to be in the pipeline, and shared our thoughts about how likely we are to see those products unveiled at WWDC this year.
Last year, Apple launched its Retina MacBook Pro at the WWDC 2012 keynote, and also showed off iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion previews, so Apple watchers are eagerly anticipating what is in store at this year's event.
It's pretty certain that we'll get our first look at iOS 7 at WWDC this year, despite rumours that "dramatic changes" in the new mobile operating system risk putting Apple behind schedule.
In May, Bloomberg cited anonymous sources in a report that suggests Apple design guru Jony Ive, who took on software design responsibilities in addition to his hardware design leadership following an executive shakeup at Apple last year, has envisioned a major revamp of iOS for the next iteration.
It's been reported that, as a result of the shakeup, which saw former software boss Scott Forstall leave the company, Ive has ordered a major redesign of iOS, which has not seen an overhaul since it was rolled out in 2007. This redesign is expected to be "flatter" and will likely see the end of skeuomorphic design elements that Forstall is said to have loved, such as realistic-looking wooden bookshelves and sticking within apps.
Bloomberg's sources said that Ive has been "exploring more dramatic changes" for the calendar and email apps in iOS, and is also "methodically reviewing" new designs, but added that these changes may not be ready this year and therefore might be pushed back to following releases.
These significant changes mean that engineers are "racing" to finish iOS 7 in time to preview it at WWDC.
Bloomberg reiterates the rumour that Apple has pulled engineers from the OS X 10.9 team to help with iOS 7, a claim first voiced by Daring Fireball's John Gruber last month.
In addition, the report also highlights Gruber's claim that engineers working on iOS 7 have had a film laced over their iPhone screens to prevent onlookers from spotting the changes in the new operating system, suggesting that these changes must therefore be substantial.
It's not just Bloomberg that has been given details about iOS 7 from anonymous sources. AllThingsD and The Wall Street Journal also wrote that iOS 7's "look and feel" will be distinctively different from the current iOS, under the guidance of Jony Ive.
Plus, 9To5Mac claimed that iOS 7 will have a new user interface that is "very, very flat," and that interface changes will include a redesign of Apple's native app icons, as well as new tool bars, tab bars and more.
In April, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicted that Apple is busy cooking up a "killer app" that will be ready to launch with iOS 7 this summer, which could come in the form of a music streaming service or mobile payment system.
Apple is said to be in discussion with Yahoo to integrate its search engine solution into iOS rather than Google's, in a move that would shut Google out of the nuts and bolts of the iPad and iPhone operating system further than it already has been with the removal of the native Google Maps app.
Will we see iOS 7 at WWDC 2013? We say: very likely.
OS X 10.9
Some rumours have suggested that Apple may delay the release of OS X 10.9 because it has pulled engineers from the team to help in a final push on the next version of iOS, but, based on Apple's WWDC 2013 announcement and press release, we believe that we will still get a preview of the new operating system, which is rumoured to be dubbed 'Lynx', at the event.
A report from 9To5Mac in April claimed that Apple will be bringing new power-user features and core elements from iOS to the Mac with OS X 10.9.
It's been more than a year since Apple surprised developers and analysts by debuting a preview of OS X Mountain Lion, then announcing that it was shifting to an annual release schedule for its Mac operating system.
We've been left wondering where the next operating system is, but it looks like we won't have to wait much longer.
We say: very likely
New Mac Pro
We could also see the launch of a new Mac Pro at WWDC 2013. Apple CEO Tim Cook has already revealed that a new Mac Pro is in the works at the company.
In an email to an Apple customer in June last year, Cook said that professional users shouldn't worry, as Apple is working on "something really great for later next year."
Apple was forced to stop selling its Mac Pro in Europe as of March this year, as it no longer complies with safety regulations, so it's likely that the company will want to get a professional offering back into our Apple Stores as soon as possible.
We say: likely
New MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has strong track record for predicting Apple product launches, has said that he believes Apple will unveil updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models at WWDC this year, which he expects will feature Intel's new Haswell processors.
While Kuo thinks that spec boosts are likely for Apple's MacBook lineup, he doesn't believe we'll see a MacBook Air with Retina display shown off at WWDC this year.
Previously, Kuo had predicted that Apple would ditch its non-Retina MacBook Pro in favour of an all-Retina MacBook lineup, but the analyst now thinks that Apple will keep the non-retina models for now.
We say: likely
ETrade Supply and DigiTimes sources claim that Apple is going to launch a low-cost iPhone this year, and analysts at JP Morgan think it will cost $350-400 (£226-£259), but there is no definitive agreement over whether we'll see the release of this cheaper iPhone earlier or later in the year.
Pegatron, an Apple manufacturing partner, announced in May its plans to increase the number of workers at its plant in China by up to 40 per cent in the second half of the year, fuelling speculation about a budget iPhone, and on 14 May, Business Insider reported that Pegatron is gearing up to be the sole assembler of the budget iPhone.
Following recent meetings with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has concluded that Apple is likely to release the cheaper 'iPhone mini' at some stage. "We see several signs that a lower priced iPhone makes sense," she said, with the first sign being the expansion of Apple's customer base in emerging markets thanks to the iPad mini.
"Chinese consumers show a desire to purchase the latest version of the iPhone (instead of older generations)," Huberty added.
In April, a photo of a rear casing allegedly belonging to Apple's low-cost iPhone emerged online, alongside a report that suggests the cheaper iPhone could launch in October for £229, but the authenticity of this report is questionable.
We say: maybe
iPhone 5S/iPhone 6
During Apple's quarterly earnings call on 23 April, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is working on "amazing" new products for an autumn launch, adding that Apple will introduce "exciting new product categories" in 2014.
This has led to the conclusion that we're unlikely to see the launch of the next-generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, any time before autumn, unless Cook has decided that the next iPhone doesn't qualify as one of the "amazing" new offerings he mentioned.
However, despite Cook's comments, reports and leaked components that emerged in May suggested that the iPhone could arrive late-summer, with rumours that Sharp is set to begin mass production of LCD panels for the next iPhone in June, and that Japan Display and LG Display have already begun production.
Katy Huberty claims that production of the new iPhone will begin in June or July, with a September launch of the new iPhone expected.
We say: unlikely for now
iPad mini and iPad 5
It's believed that Apple is working on a Retina iPad mini for launch later this year.
Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes has forecast that we will see an iPhone/iPad event in September, which could, in addition to the second iPad mini, and the new iPhone Katy Huberty expects we'll see in September, could also see the launch of a thinner, lighter iPad 5.
According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, a third-generation iPad mini with an improved processor may come in 2014.
We think it's unlikely that Apple will unveil any new iPads at WWDC. Instead, it's probable that Apple will hold a separate special event in autumn to show of its new tablet products.
We say: unlikely for now
Despite some rumours suggesting otherwise, Tim Cook has said that the Apple won't be launching a bigger iPhone until building one doesn't require any "trade-offs" in order to accommodate a larger display.
"My view continues to be that the iPhone 5 has the best display in the industry," he said. "Some customers value large screen size, others value also other factors, such as resolution, colour quality, white balance, brightness, reflectivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility apps, many things," he said.
"Our competitors have made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display," Cook added. "We would not ship a larger-display iPhone while these trade-offs exist."
We say: very unlikely
Tim Cook has confirmed that Apple is working on "exciting new product categories," which many believe will be a smartwatch - dubbed iWatch. However, he said that we shouldn't expect to see these new products 2014.
Rumours of an iWatch have been hot topic so far this year, with sources claiming that Apple has a team of 100 people working on the product.
Further evidence came in the form of an Apple patent application in February, which describes a wearable computer with a flexible display that can snap around the wrist to become a smart watch.
We say: unlikely
Apple could be planning to launch a revolutionary 60in 'iTV' television set that is operated using an 'iRing' motion controller late this year, according to Topeka Capital's Brian White.
Following meetings with Chinese and Taiwanese Apple component suppliers, White says that he's learned that Apple's smart TV will go on sale later this year.
In March, we shared new Apple television rumours that suggested Apple is currently working on a 4K Ultra HD television set ahead of a late 2013 or early 2014 launch date.
While many are still skeptical about the idea of an Apple television set, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is a big believer in the product, and has been insisting that Apple will launch such gadget since 2009. His latest prediction also agrees that the iTV will finally come to light this year.
However, Cook's comments about new product categories would probably cover an Apple Television, so we don't think we will see it at WWDC.
We say: unlikely
New Apple TV
Alternatively, Apple could unveil an updated version of its Apple TV, which the Wall Street Journal believes will be a set-top-box that erases the distinction between live and on-demand TV.
A listing on Apple's Jobs site in February added evidence to the speculation, revealing that Apple is seeking a Software Engineer Manager to join the Apple TV team to lead the development of new features for the platform.
We say: maybe
What do you hope to see unveiled at WWDC 2013? Let us know in the comments section below, or on Twitter.