By Ola Ojka.
With tickets sold out within 2 minutes of going on sale (an impressive statistic considering the entrance fee stands at $1,599 USD), at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on the 10th of June in San Francisco technology enthusiasts from around the globe will assemble in order to find out what is next from the technology giant. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, and over 1000 Apple engineers will gather at the WWDC in order to guide developers through the company’s latest and freshest updates to its product range. Last year highlights included a revision to the MacBook Pro line as well as the systematic yearly update to iOS6, which introduced iPhone users to the problematic and underwhelming Apple Maps. Apart from annual Apple Design Awards for innovative apps and the perks of great fun and experience for the attendees, what can we expect this year?
According to Tim Cook, the key to Apple’s success has been innovation. With the monumental success of the iPhone, and a landmark 50 billion downloads from the AppStore, there can be little doubt to this claim. Some of Apple’s software offerings have been lagging behind those of competitors in recent times however, so it can be safely assumed that the focus of this year’s conference will be application and software development rather than new hardware.
The next version of iOS is predicted to bring about quite a few changes to the way the system looks and feels, because it is the first one led by the Apple design guru, Jonathan Ive, who is expected to bring a breath of fresh air to Apple’s development strategy. As sources have revealed a new design to iOS is to be announced, which is supposed to be flatter and simpler, and most importantly, more intuitive with some functional changes. Don Reisinger from Eweek expects iOS 7 to introduce quite a few changes, such as improved notifications, enhanced security, and a better Apple Maps app. Considering the flak Apple has taken from some critics for how little iOS has changed since its launch in 2007, such changes will most likely be welcomed.
There are many who argue that the Apple operating system has been lagging behind competitor’s offerings (e.g. Android), and many potential customers would prefer to wait for a major update before switching to an iPhone or iPad. If you are particularly concerned about the features of iOS 7 however, you can relax. In 7 days as WWDC 2013 kicks off, it is likely a sneaky preview of iOS 7 beta version will be made available to download during the event, as it has been in previous years.
A concept video of what iOS 7 may look like.
Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has successfully predicted some of Apple’s previous reveals, believes that updates to the MacBook Pro and Macbook Air will be introduced during the conference. The major change, as emphasised by the Analyst, will be the new Intel’s Haswell processor, replacing last years Ivy Bridge version. However, substantial design changes are not likely to happen. Apple CEO Tim Cook, during the D11 conference, stated that Apple’s Retina display still remains one of Apple’s best devices, but as Kuo states, the new Macbook Air with Retina Display will be released later this year due to ‘low yield of the notebook’s high-resolution panels’.
If you were looking for an iPhone with larger screen, you might be disappointed; Tim Cook has already confirmed that the new iPhone will not be the focus. Cook has repeatedly emphasised the disadvantages of large screens, such as shorter battery life and poorer colour and picture quality. As much as consumer’s desires are important, they need to be weighed against the drawbacks in delivering them.
Overall, as much as the Internet seems to be buzzing with iOS development possibilities, little is known of Apple’s hardware offerings. However, knowing the ‘surprise factor’ of Apple during WWDC, we can assume there will be unexpected features announced – maybe even some innovative gadgets? How major will they be and which devices they will concern? Only time will tell.
Tim Cook in one of his recent interviews, summarised today’s market:
‘The key in the post-PC era for having a great product is incredible hardware, incredible software, and incredible services, and to combine them so you can’t tell what’s what. The magic is at the intersection.’
But how will that influence the revelations presented during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference?
Maybe we will witness the unexpected products with incredible ground-breaking features or maybe we will mainly see innovative software developments. One thing is sure: Apple need to bring their A-game to WWDC 2013. Apple’s market share of the smartphone market has shrunk (22.5% to 18.2% – 1st quarter 2012 vs. 1st quarter 2013) ), while its major rival Samsung increased its share by 3.2%. With its product offerings, even iOS lovers are already getting bored with no major changes by Apple, which only stresses the importance of needed focus on replacement or better offerings for consumers. There is no doubt though that in a weeks time Apple is going to announce something big, all that remains is seven days of impatient anticipation.