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Thursday, May 31, 2012

WWDC 2012 - Predictions

Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) is right around the corner. The feature Keynote address is probably one of my favorite times of the year... actually any Apple Keynote event is great. With WWDC 2012 less than two weeks away the rumors are flying around the internet. These are my thoughts on the subject.

Hardware

The New iPhone

Easily the most talked about rumor is the new iPhone. 9to5mac has posted some pictures (see one below) of the alleged next generation device however this is not what will be presented at WWDC. Allow me to explain, there are some obvious flaws with this "leaked new iPhone".

First is the two-toned back panel. Unless Apple is stepping away from their sleek form factor, the panels on the new device will be of singular material, or at the very least singular colour. Having a split panel design such as this will lead to a host of other problems (such as higher potential for liquid damage).

Secondly, the 30-pin dock connector. The new device will not have a smaller port connection. The idea behind this rumor is that with iCloud taking care of the data to and from the device, the connection's only purpose will be charging. Unfortunately iCloud is to ambiguous of service to fulfill this need and many people still do not understand how to use it (more on that later). Furthermore, there is an entire industry build around the "Made for iPhone / iPod / iPad" accessories. These Apple approved peripherals would be rendered instantly obsolete. For someone like myself who has multiple Apple dock enabled devices, the change away from a 30-pin connection would not encourage me to get the new device.

Lastly, the form factor. The buzz right now is looking at the device history. We had the a large change between the 3GS and the 4 which has lead to the assumption that there will be a change between the 4S and the new device. What seems to have been forgotten in this timeline is the original iPhone. From the device that was revealed in 2007 through to the 3GS model there were few exterior changes. That, in my opinion, puts us at three iterations of the first form factor and only two iteration of the current. Now that being said I still anticipate a newly designed device. This redesign will not include 4" screen as many have assumed and as shown in the picture above.

MacBook Pro

The other major hardware topic that is floating around this year's WWDC (though the focus is on software and development) is the MacBook Pro. There are some very passionate voices demanding a new model of MacBook Pro. To this I say, stop wining. The current unibody design has no reason to be pushed aside. If changes are being made it will be with the internal hardware, most likely the use of the new Ivy Bridge chip sets. It is more likely to see an announcement about the Mac Pro (though I doubt this group has influenced Apple any).

Software

iCloud


iCloud will be a hot topic of discussion at this year's WWDC. Currently the service is understood as live syncing across your deices and document storage. The trouble with the current set up is that not all your devices are up to date in that same fashion. For example, photos can be seen in Photo Stream on you Mac, or iOS device but not on the icloud.com web client. Documents can be seen on the web client and your iOS devices but not on your Mac. Then there is the ever confusing 5GB of free storage which has too many exceptions to remember. And finally iTunes Match...what does this even do?

The upgrades and clarification that will be seen for the iCloud service will walk hand-in-hand with OS X Mountain Lion. From the List of included features already released by Apple, Mountain Lion will boast many of the same features as the current iOS 5. Specific features that I anticipate seeing are: the inclusion of Photo Stream over the web client, documents available on the Mac, and third party app support.

iOS 6

Yes, your iPhone will be getting a software upgrade announcement. I anticipate that the supported devices will be the iPhone 4 through what will be announced as the new model. Everything about iOS 6 is pure speculation as Apple has not released any details as they have with Mountain Lion. Here is the list of what I would like to see while staying in the realm of what is possible.
  1. Replacing the Google Maps app with Apples own application. Apple did recently take over a 3D mapping software company, and I think it is highly likely that they will use the mapping in a unique way.
  2. Third party widgets in notification center. Without opening this up to outside developers, the widget feature is not all that useful to remain the same.
  3. Panoramic photos. This feature already exists inside the code of iOS 5 and with a simple code modification (no jailbreak) it can be unlocked on your device.
  4. System level toggles. The settings app is one that I try not to frequent but there are situations that require its use; brightness, Wi-fi, Bluetooth... Having simple toggles for the system level settings would allow for ease of use. These toggles could be made available as app icons, in the notification center, or in the multitasking drawer.
There will be plenty of other items spotlighted at this years WWDC. June 11th is the Keynote address where I believe all of these topics will be touched on. What are your thoughts on the next generation of Apple's hardware and software?

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