Thursday, May 24, 2012

WWDC 2012 predictions (early)

So I'm not going to pay attention to the last-minute rumors this year because of my vacation plans (do I really want to do Apple tea-leaf reading while I'm on vacation? I don't think so...). And next week is a holiday week. So here, about two weeks early, is my series of predictions for WWDC 2012, with percentages and explanations:

iOS 6: 100%. Apple now unveils developer editions of the newest iThing OS at WWDC. Period (with rare exceptions if needed for a new category of device). iOS 6 is due in the annual upgrades, and will be released to developers that week, with shipping due in September-October mainly dependent on any new device announcements. If there is no fall iPhone, they'll just release it when it's ready.

Mountain Lion (Mac OS 10.8) release plans: 95%. I'm pretty sure that Mountain Lion will be released in late July, and they'll announce it that day. Also dropping will be a few new "one more thing" features, most likely dictation support.

Newer Macs: 75%. Apple is due to release newer iMacs and laptops any day now. Also likely to introduce at least one more "Mac Pro"-series machine. The timing would be right, but Apple's mainly stayed away from WWDC hardware announcements in recent years. My only hope is that they don't wait for Mountain Lion to release first - most users want new computers with the tried-and-tested version of the OS, and we already got screwed last year when Thunderbolt-based minis were released with Lion Server instead of good old Snow Leopard.

Features of iOS 6:

More resolution independence: 95%. I think Apple will put the tools in place with iOS 6 so that they won't have developers too off guard if they go with the taller form factor iPhone that is rumored. Will they make a big deal of it? Nope. They'll be cryptic.

Google Maps replaced as default mapping engine: 100%. Adios, Google. It was nice having you so integrated into iOS, but Apple doesn't like you anymore. Heck, I use Bing as my default engine now (yes, I know Google owns Blogspot).

Partial opening of Siri APIs: 75%. I think they will create a mechanism to integrate with Siri, but approve connections. It won't open up entirely.

Multiple signature support in Mail: 90%. One of the few gaps in iOS Mail today.

Support for different default system apps (like Mail, Calendar, Contacts): 10% (at best). Apple may allow you to use your own product, but you aren't getting the keys to the kingdom.

I may tweak this post a little in the next couple of days, but basically that's it: WWDC is for developers - it's not a product expo. This is inside baseball-type stuff.