WWDC - 2012 - iPhone - 005

Apple announced Wednesday that WWDC 2013, its annual developer conference, will kick off on June 10 in San Francisco. What can we expect? Apple has a room full of developers, that’s why it’s called the “Worldwide Developer Conference” after all, so software is going to be a key focus. We can look at past years to get a sense of what’s going to be in store for attendees.

Last year Apple had several announcements on June 11, including Siri enhancements, iOS 6, a new MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air, a quiet refresh to the Airport Express router, its own Maps application, support for FaceTime over cellular networks and new Facebook integration inside of iOS 6. It wasn’t a quiet day, and all said and done we were exhausted after covering all of the announcements. I think we can expect a similar event this year, even if Apple is relatively quiet on the mobile side.

It’s possible we’ll see refreshed Mac computers, although I’m a bit wary to jump on a hardware bandwagon since Tim Cook’s statement on Tuesday that new products reveals won’t come until this fall. Instead, I think we’re going to see plenty of software updates. I imagine iOS 7 will be unveiled, and it’s expected to launch with a brand new user interface that’s unlike iOS 6 and “flatter” in design. Recent rumors have suggested that there’s some sort of delay with iOS 7, but that shouldn’t hold up an announcement or a discussion of new features. Remember: developers need to know what to expect when the iPhone comes out, and software is going to be key to making sure that apps are ready to take advantage of all of the new features.

Last year we were provided a sneak peak at Mountain Lion, and I imagine Apple will provide a new look at whatever its next laptop and desktop operating system will offer. We don’t know what’s planned, but Apple added several new features last year including the notification center, iMessage, Power Nap, Game Center, AirPlay mirroring, dictation and much more. It also let us in on the super budget-friendly price of just $19.99. Where can Apple build on Mountain Lion? I really think it will add some of the new features that will appear in iOS 7 to the operating system, so it’s tough to say right now; but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of Siri integration. That seems like a natural step.

So what can we expect from WWDC? Software news. Maybe we’ll see a little bit of hardware but right now I think it’s going to be focused on iOS 7 and OS X, as it very much was last year. It’s a trend and, historically, Apple doesn’t step away from its trends. It will surely be an exciting event, though, and one that Apple will need in order to toss fire back into the hearts of doubts that are starting to enter the minds of analysts on Wall Street and consumers alike.