What to Expect from WWDC 2011

Apple WWDC 2011 June 6

WWDC 2011 is now just an hour away, and we’re confident that this year’s event is going to be huge. Apple has already confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs will be back to present the keynote, which promises to lift the lid on the much-anticipated iCloud streaming service, the next major release of iOS, Mac OS X Lion, and maybe – just maybe – a fifth-generation iPhone.

If you’re not already incredibly excited, here’s our expectation’s for WWDC 2011:

iCloud

We believe iCloud will take over MobileMe and deliver a much-needed revamp to this mediocre service. It will maintain the current MobileMe features, such as email, calendars & contacts, and online file storage – which will all be offered free as opposed to the existing $99 per year subscription fee – but the biggest element of iCloud will be its music services.

As we’re already aware, Apple has been working with the major music labels to negotiate deals that will enable us to stream our music library to our iOS devices from the cloud. Instead of keeping thousands of storing tracks locally on our devices, we can instead stream them over Wi-Fi and 3G and save valuable storage space.

Some believe iCloud will also offer over-the-air syncing for our iOS and Mac OS X devices. Instead of having to tether our devices to our computers on a regular basis, we can just back them up to the cloud. When we create and save important documents on our Macs & PCs, we will be able to access them instantly from our iOS devices – and vice versa – thanks to iCloud.

iOS 5

This is the big one for me. Although iOS is a magnificent operating system, and way ahead of its rivals in many aspects, some of its features are desperately in need of an update. First of all, there’s notifications: no longer will we have to put up with those intrusive, unhelpful notifications many of us have come to loathe in iOS 4. A new notification system will be introduced that I hope will be a little more subtle and a whole lot more interactive. Though it’s unclear how the new notification system will be designed, I’m sure it will be significantly different than what’s currently in place.

Home screen widgets are also expected to be introduced with iOS 5. These will be ‘mini apps’ that stick to our home screens and remain open for as long as we want them to, providing us with a plethora of features and functions ‘at a glance’. For example, home screen widgets will allow you to view in-depth weather forecasts, control your iPod music, view your Twitter timeline or Facebook news feed, and read your RSS feeds – without having to open a single app.

iOS 5 could also feature social networking integration. Twitter is already rumored to be heavily integrated into the OS, enabling us to upload photos and sent out tweets without a dedicated Twitter application, but unfortunately details a sparse right now. My guess is that if these features are there for Twitter, they’ll also be there for Facebook.

In addition to these new features, there will also be some smaller changes that will make the iOS experience a whole lot greater. Over-the-air iTunes syncing, subtle changes to the UI, and better home screen folder management.

Mac OS X Lion

Apple has already lifted the lid on most of Lion’s new features, and the Lion beta is almost at gold master, so we don’t think Apple will announce anything new – though we will probably receive a release date. Some are speculating that Lion will go live in the Mac App Store today.

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