WWDC 2012: Apple’s iOS 6, Mountain Lion, MacBooks, Macs

June 11, 2012

Apple is almost ready to reveal what it has in store for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference and rumor has it that it will be a doozy.

Bloomberg reported that Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook will not be the emcee at Monday’s show, giving that honor to product marketing head Phil Schiller. Cook has taken a more delegated approach to his keynotes in the past, a departure from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s all-but-one-man shows.

In any case, company executives are sure to show off new software in the form of iOS 6 and Mountain Lion at the show in front of its most dedicated developers. Mountain Lion, which was seeded to developers in February, will also probably get a firmer release date than the “late summer 2012” window that’s been floating around. Firmer pricing details are also likely Monday, though it will be hard to follow up the WWDC 2011 announcement when Apple announced Lion would be just $29.99.

(Yes, Snow Leopard was cheap, but it was an upgrade. Lion was a whole system.)

As for mobile, part of Apple’s keynote, at least, is highly suspected to be devoted to announcing a new maps application and deeper Facebook integration.

The company is also said to be refreshing a lot of hardware — something it hasn’t done at WWDC for a couple of years now.

On this year’s list of things to update: Apple’s MacBook Pro and Mac lineups. The Apple-focused blog 9 to 5 Mac has led the way on churning out hardware reports and speculation leading up to this year’s WWDC, and reported Monday morning that the Mac Pro will get to see its first update in two years. The machine will have three configurations, the blog said, each with at least 1 TB of hard drive space, will add USB 3.0 technology and Thunderbolt ports.

The blog also reiterated what it had heard about thinner MacBook Pros with retina displays, as well as AirPort Express and a USB SuperDrive.

Some are also expecting to see a television announcement come out of the show Monday, ZDNet reported. Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek said that he expects to see a $1,250 television set called the iPanel at the show Monday, possibly with a $500 cable subsidy. Apple is expected to do some interesting things in the television space, but has been fairly tight-lipped about whether it will continue to develop its current set-top box or go into television production. It would be an entirely new business for Apple, and one that’s fairly different from its current product lines, as consumers tend to upgrade their televisions far less than they do their laptops and smartphones.

That’s an awful lot to get into one keynote, so we’ll have to see what Apple actually puts forward Monday and what may be left for another time.

Related stories:

WWDC 2012 : What to expect and what to hope for

Bloomberg: Apple aims to remain apps leader

WWDC 2012: Apple iOS 6 coming, banners show

WWDC 2012: MacBook Pro rumors fly ahead of conference

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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