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WWDC 2012 : What to expect and what to hope for

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Apple is gearing up for its developers conference next week, and avid Apple fans are breathlessly anticipating what the company may have up its sleeve.

There’s been no shortage of speculation headed into the show. As is customary of the Cupertino, Calif. company, howeber, there has been a serious shortage of concrete information.

What do we know? Apple is holding a conference. It’s called the Worldwide Developers Conference. It will be from the June 11-June 15 at Moscone West in San Francisco. The company will have things to announce.

Yup.

That said, there are some things that we almost know. Apple is more or less certain to give a deeper demo of its upcoming Mountain Lion operating system, which it announced in a low-key launch in February. The system adds more iOS sensibilities to the Mac, with the addition of notifications, notes, reminders, Messages, and the Game Center. Apple has yet to give the system a big, public show and WWDC has been the traditional venue for showing off new software. Since, you know, it’s in front of an audience of developers.

We’re also expecting to see news of the next version of iOS at this year’s show, another traditional WWDC topic. Here’s where it gets a bit more speculative. Apple is expected to reveal a new Maps application in favor of an in-house design, killing the company’s partnership with rival Google. Bloomberg reported that the application will come pre-installed on the iPhone and iPad.

Another persistent iOS 6 rumor is that the company will launch Facebook integration, similar to the way that Twitter is baked into iOS 5 right now, reported TechCrunch.

There’s also been a lot of hopeful buzz around the possibility of a major hardware launch at the conference. No, not the iPhone — Apple hasn’t done that in a couple of years. But tech blogs have been humming over the possibility of a major MacBook Pro and Mac line refresh.

Again, over at 9 to 5 Mac, reporter Marc Gurman’s sources told him that Apple is planning to update at least four of its five Mac lines. The MacBook Pro’s 15-inch model is expected to have a retina display and a thinner profile. The iMac could also see a refresh, Gurman said, though it’s not clear if that would also be at WWDC.

As Wired noted, Apple hasn’t made a computer announcement at WWDC since 2009.

Wired reporter Roberto Baldwin also pointed out that if all the rumors are true, then Apple would be announcing a whole heck of a lot at its opening day keynote. Chances are that quite a few of these rumors are going to fall by the wayside — maybe for future announcements but not for this year’s show.

So, as I said earlier: you never know with Apple, particularly as the company works to “double down” on secrecy. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Related stories:

WWDC 2012: MacBook Pro rumors fly ahead of conference

Apple’s Tim Cook promises ‘incredible’ products, offers no details

Google Maps adds features ahead of Apple’s rumored WWDC map reveal

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