WWDC 2005: What can we expect?
At the beginning of the 21st century, it was clear that WWDC would bring news about the next big version of OS X, a developer preview version and the promise that the final version would come out the same year. Last year, though, Apple did all that - with the change that Tiger would be out only shortly before the next
WWDC. 1.5 years would be the new cycle for big versions of Mac OS X.
So what we can't
expect from the Steve-Note early next week is a look at Mac OS X 10.5, since that will probably be on the shelves at the very end of 2006 (to coincide with Longhorn's debut). We'll hear a lot about Tiger, though. About its technologies and about how developers should make use of them. And maybe
about what Apple will do with what Tiger enables them to do.
Traditionally, WWDC is not the place for hardware announcements. But Apple is not all about traditions, and it has announced the G5 at WWDC 2003 as well as the iSight camera. So it's not completely impossible that some or other hardware will be talked about at the Steve-Note.
Which leads us to the dearth of hardware-related rumours. Apple's lawsuits at the end of 2004 vs. rumour sites certainly has had its impact. Still: There are some things that have
been talked about.
Some old rumours never die. Apple talks to intel. A tablet Mac. An iBook mini. A PDA. A mobile phone. Those never come true, though. (Surprise us, Steve!)
Both the iBook and the Mac mini are in for an upgrade sooner or later. The iBook shouldn't push too close to the PowerBooks, of course (although they did the last
time they were updated - and for quite a while). The Mac mini is expected to get faster processors at up to 1.67 GHz. Again: WWDC is not necessarily the right place for such announcements. But it certainly could
iPod shuffle going to 1 and 2 GB is the next logical step in its evolution, a small display for at least some
information is not completely out of the question - but whether WWDC is the right place for such an announcement - we're not so sure.
Multiple core PowerPCs? The PowerMac has just been updated, and although it was certainly a rather small
step for the PowerMac, right now would be to soon after their introduction. And announcing them for August or September would quite probably kill their already lackluster sales numbers.
So: Let's not
expect too much this time. Apple still has to make sure that Tiger really takes off. Both by fixing it, but also by making sure that developers will
make use of the new technologies that Tiger has to offer.