It’s Monday, and that means it’s the day of Apple’s keynote address at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT (1 PM EDT) and usually last about two hours. We’ll have live coverage of the event from our own Colleen Taylor and Om Malik who are in attendance, but here’s our best guess of what you can expect to go down at the show.
By the numbers
Steve Jobs is hosting this year’s keynote, and generally speaking, he kicks off Apple’s public events with a look at the company’s success to date. Since this is a developer-focused event, expect to hear about the App Store’s growth, an updated figure regarding revenue paid out to developers (over $2 billion at last count), and possibly some numbers about in-app subscription adoption, since that has turned out to be quite a nice little victory for Apple. There should be an acknowledgement of the record-setting sellout of this year’s batch of WWDC tickets, and how that reflects the health of Apple’s development platforms.
Jobs will also likely talk about the success of iTunes, and the number of active accounts on file associated with the iTunes store, especially if today is the day Apple unveils its cloud music service.
Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud
The known variables about today’s talk are OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud. Apple issued an official press release stating it would be talking about these three software releases specifically, though it didn’t elaborate much about any of the above. I expect Apple to talk about these new software offerings in the order I’ve listed them here, since we know less about each product as we move down the list, ending with iCloud.
OS X Lion has gotten a lot of press, and the features are not really a secret thanks to Apple’s decision to release developer preview builds of the OS. We’ve covered some of the more notable new features of Lion, and detailed many of the smaller changes it brings as well. What Apple will show off today will better reflect Lion as a polished, shipping product, and they’ll probably announce a release date, too, which could come very soon.
iOS 5 is Apple’s next big update for the mobile OS that powers its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad line of devices, and though specific information about the update are few and far between, there have been reports that show notifications and other improvements are likely on the way. Over the weekend, iTunes users also discovered an Apple slip, noting automatic over-the-air updates could be in store, too, thanks to a line included in iTunes referring to the feature. Apple also is thought to have hired a notifications specialist, reinforcing the idea that iOS 5 will change how those work. Apple will also probably take some time while unveiling iOS 5 features to bring out key development partners (like EAand Gameloft, for example) to show off new APIs in action.
iCloud looks like it will be Apple’s big unveil at this year’s conference, since there’s a lot of excitement surrounding this product. We don’t yet have a really good idea what shape iCloud will take, but John Gruber said Sunday we should think about it like iTunes, or, in other words, a repository for all the information you regularly sync to and from iOS devices, but one that resides in the cloud, instead of locally on a computer. We’ve also discussed other potential features of the service, including cloud music and media streaming, and how it might benefit iOS developers.
One more thing
At big public Apple events, we often see Steve Jobs reveal something that few, if any, saw coming. This “one more thing,” has become the biggest draw of these addresses for some. Some have speculated Apple will indeed unveil new iPhone hardware today, despite many reports to the contrary, and that this will be the “one more thing.” Supply-side, things have been awfully quiet, which is generally not the case leading up to a new iPhone model release (we almost always see reports of hardware going into full-scale production before an update), so don’t get your hopes up.
iTunes music streaming services could be the last “surprise” announcement at WWDC, especially if Apple doesn’t include them in the basic iCloud package. It would make sense if Apple planned it that way, because according to reports, the company’s negotiations with record labels came right down to the wire. If no deal was reached, Apple could leave it out without affecting their other planned announcements.
That’s the short version of what you can expect from Steve Jobs and the Apple executive team in just a few short hours. Stay tuned for our live coverage, and detailed reports on all the new features announced today.