As I look out the window here it’s a beautiful, sunny Summer day. So why does it feel like Christmas is about to arrive? Well, anyone tuned into the Apple universe will tell you that’s the way we feel every year before the WWDC keynote. Apple always arrives with a big sack of goodies for us. So what do our Cupertino benefactors have in store for us this year? While mitigating circumstances may have revealed some of the surprises in store for us next Monday, some may yet appear.
The truth part of the equation comes in the form of the iPhone 4G / HD and the iPhone OS 4.0. Both are known factors at this point. Thanks to an apparent Spring of misfortune for Apple’s research and development department, we already know most of the hardware details. The fourth generation iPhone will sport a forward-facing camera, improved IPS display, faster processor, and longer battery life. Many of the technologies going into the 4G / HD have already been rousing successes in the iPad. While some have argued the iPad was just a big iPod Touch it seems the reverse will be true of the new iPhone; with many of the innovations the iPad introduced, the next iPhone is a lot like a little iPad. On the software side of the equation, iPhone OS 4.0 should prove to use the new hardware to the fullest extent possible. The most anticipated known feature is multitasking. Long an item only available to native iPhone apps like Mail, Music, and Mobile Safari; Apple has opened it up for all to use. I am particularly excited about the general availability of multitasking although I am a bit worried as well. I recently used a jailbroken iPod Touch with the Backgrounder app running. For those that may not know, Backgrounder is a hack that brought multitasking to jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches long before OS 4. While it was interesting to use a multitasking device running the iPhone OS, it seemed to burn through the battery life at an astonishing rate and it did seem to lag the OS some. Now, it was hardly a scientific test of the feature so any number of variables may have been in play but I hope official multitasking support addresses my lingering doubts.
With most of the iPhone announcements are already known, you may wonder what there’s left for Steve to surprise us with on June 7th. There are actually two prominent rumors floating around that might make a debut at the WWDC keynote. First was news late last week of a rumored new cloud-based Apple TV product. While Apple TV has never been much cause for interest in the iPhone OS crowd, this new device should cause a stir. Not only will it offer cloud-based streaming instead of the traditional local storage model, but it will also run the iPhone OS. In this new device we see Apple’s strategy of using the mature iPhone OS as the platform for a complete line of consumer content products, much like Google is attempting with Android.
The second rumor will serve as a compliment to the first. If the new Apple TV makes its debut at WWDC we should also see the unveiling of the much rumored “iTunes in the cloud” service. Video is a good starting point but Apple should see the obvious advantages of moving everything to a streaming model. The LaLa acquisition should finally start to bear fruit as Apple takes a multi-pronged and concerted approach to cloud-based content usage.
Regardless of what happens next Monday, it will be exciting to see what goodies Apple brings us. Just like kids on Christmas Day.
What do you think will come out of the WWDC keynote this year? Do you have a wishlist of products or features you’d like to see? Will there be more than new iPhones in store? Let us know in the comments.