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The Other Big Show

June 2, 2008
Summer is almost here so that must mean that it’s time for another Apple conference. In January, Apple uses the MacWorld Expo to start off the new year, usually showing off consumer-oriented products. At the beginning of summer, Apple puts on its own show, the WWDC, or World Wide Developers Conference. This is where Apple gets together with those who create the software and hardware for Macs and other Apple products. This year, WWDC takes place from June 9-13 at the Moscone West center in San Francisco, Calif. Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, will kick off the conference with another of his famous keynote speeches. The big news this year is that the show is sold out for the first time.

This year’s WWDC looks to be all about the iPhone. In January, at the Macworld Expo, Jobs announced the creation of an SDK (Software Developers Kit) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. With this kit, software developers could now create third party software for these devices. Up until this announcement, Apple had kept the iPhone and Touch locked. Because of this, you could not add any other software on a device that you owned, which frustrated many iPhone/Touch users. Jobs also announced that come summer, an iPhone App store would be created. This would be a one-stop shopping center for Apple-approved iPhone software. This new ‘‘store’’ and any finished applications should be a big part of the keynote.

During the January Expo, Jobs showed off what software was already done for the iPhone. We should expect even more of this, possibly having actual third-party vendors showing off their ‘‘wares.’’ One of the big draws of the iPhone, and Touch, will be games. Several companies have shown that the iPhone platform can be ideal for gaming. There will no doubt be productivity, Internet, and other utility software too. There should be plenty of new iPhone software available soon after the show.

Along with all the software and extras for the iPhone, the consensus is that there should be a new second-generation iPhone. This new iPhone should be bigger, faster, better, cheaper, etc. Some of the features that everyone is hoping for are: a bigger screen, real keyboard, and high-speed data connections — also called 3G. Apple is infamous for keeping things secret, so it’s only a guess about what features it will have, but all signs point to a new iPhone.

Along with all the iPhone news, there is a good chance that there will be an OS X update to 10.5.3. This could come during the show or even just before it (like new releases of DVDs, CDs, books, etc. — Apple seems to releases updates and announcements on Tuesdays). Most rumors have Jobs talking mostly about the iPhone, but there could be plenty of info on the next OS X, the Apple Stores, and the iTunes Store. It’s unlikely that there will be any new Apple hardware shown (iMacs, MacBooks, minis, etc.). We have recently seen updates of everything except the Mac mini, and that is a consumer product and unlikely to be shown at a developer’s conference.

While Microsoft is already talking about its next OS, they are calling it Windows 7 (for the moment), Jobs is unlikely to mention the next Mac OS. Leopard was just released last fall and is doing exceptionally well. There is a slim possibility of some updates to Apple software, things like iLife, iWorks and such. Another thing that Apple is proud of, but seems under utilized by the Mac community, is .Mac (Dot Mac). This is more than just a simple server giving you e-mail and web space, it allows for things like synchronizing multiple computers, off-site backups and storage, remote administration, and group collaboration tools. It also works seamlessly with iLife, allowing you to create blogs, podcasts (audio and video) and Web Galleries (both photos and videos). Let’s hope for some new .Mac features making it an even better value.

Laptops are driving Mac sales. Since a MacBook Pro and MacBook can run both the Mac OS and Windows OS, sales have gone through the roof. Apple’s market share in laptops is at an all-time high. Jobs will most likely take this time to tout their notebooks. Who knows, there might even be a new MacBook shown, since it has been a while since it was updated. Take this one with a grain of salt.

This year’s WWDC is setting up to be one of the best ever. With a sold-out crowd, it’s hard to think otherwise.

(Just after this I finished this article, Apple released an OS X Leopard update, 10.5.3. This can be downloaded from www.apple.com or by using the Software Update function in OS X Leopard. For other Mac news and info, check out my new Mac blog at www.post-journal.com/page/blogs.list)

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This year’s WWDC looks to be all about the iPhone.

 
 
 

 

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