Like the lead-up to any big, annual Apple event, the weeks and months ahead of this year's WWDC brought the usual wash of rumors about new hardware, software, and online services.
The biggest unknown was not so much on the hardware side--as we all knew there was a new iPhone on the way (even what it looked like and whose fault that was), but the software and online services portion remained a mystery. This is typically the chunk of the WWDC keynote where Steve Jobs and company go into detail about the latest operating system tweaks and new software offerings.
There were rumors on both sides of the spectrum ranging from paid services like MobileMe going free and iTunes getting a streaming component to a fancy new wireless trackpad. Read on to get the details.
1. OS X 10.7
Apple's preview of OS X 10.6, nicknamed Snow Leopard, happened at 2008's WWDC. 10.5 was unveiled during 2006's keynote, and 10.4 in 2004's. Following that logic, 2010's show would bring a preview, or at least an acknowledgment that Apple had 10.7 in the oven. Though given the focus on Apple's iOS, and the shiny new device that will run on it, it's not all that surprising we didn't hear a peep.
An OS update, especially for the desktop, would have likely filled an hour or two on its own. Yet, the downside of this omission is that the eventual preview of that update will likely be shelved until next year's show, since WWDC is Apple's only big developer event of the year.
2. A developer preview for the iPad's iOS 4
When introducing OS 4 at a preview event back in April, Jobs said we'd be seeing a public release of it for the iPad sometime this fall. Again, logic would dictate that developers would get their hands on a build of the iPad 4.0 SDK at Apple's big developer event, alongside the first beta of the firmware for testing on real devices.
So why the no-show? Apple has likely had its hands full getting the iPhone and iPod Touch version of OS 4 ready to go in time for the iPhone 4 launch in two weeks. And developers only got their hands on the gold master candidate version of that late Monday. Maybe the delay was to include some new OS features being baked into the next batch of iPods this fall.
3. A Steve Ballmer appearance
In a note to investors, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry claimed that Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer would be giving a seven-minute presentation of Visual Studio 2010 during the WWDC keynote. This was vehemently denied by Microsoft reps, then later retracted by Chowdhry, though many large news outlets (including us) picked up the story and ran with it.
There was some semblance of truth to the rumor of Microsoft having a presence at the keynote, in the form of Jobs announcing that Microsoft's Bing was now a search option in Safari, both on portable devices and on the desktop software.
4. iTunes streaming service
Like Apple's annual "buy a Mac, get a free iPod" promotion, which always manages to end just a few days before the company announces a new model, it seemed just a little too convenient music-streaming service Lala, which Apple bought back in December of last year, was being shut down just a week before WWDC.
Prior to Apple picking up the company, sources had told CNET that Apple was planning to purchase the company primarily for its music streaming technology and engineering talents. It seemed fair then (given the timing), that Apple would fill in the gap Lala.com's closure had left with something similar built right into iTunes, though that never came to fruition during Monday's keynote. Then again, given Apple's propensity for having its "music" events in September, we might just have to wait three months. … Read more