WWDC 2011: Steve Jobs, Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, iCloud Confirmed. MacBook Air & iPhone 4S Maybe?
The usually tightlipped Apple has dropped a few bombs this morning, announcing that none other than Steve Jobs himself will unveil Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud at WWDC 2011 on June 6. Did you catch that? Apple has confirmed much of what was only speculation until now. This is an unusual move for Apple, so let’s break it down:
- Steve Jobs is healthy enough to unveil major product announcements, although he is still technically on medical leave
- Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is clearly on track to meet the summer ship date
- iOS 5 will finally be unveiled to the world, this is expected to be a big one and it will put to rest the rumors of what iOS 5 will and won’t do
- iCloud is now confirmed by Apple, answering questions about the patents and cloud rumors that have floated around for over a year
Apple is typically silent on upcoming products and events, so the fact they are telling the world ahead of time about two officially unannounced products (iOS 5 and iCloud) is significant. I think the press release also means that developers will see the following at WWDC:
- Mac OS X Lion GM : Likelihood – High : Judging by the current state of Developer Preview 3, a Golden Master release probably won’t be available immediately, but perhaps a few weeks out from WWDC. Developers will probably at least get a release date for the GM, and a new more stable build to play with that has features currently lacking in the existing previews (iCloud integration?).
- iOS 5 Beta Builds : Likelihood – High : There’s a very high probability that Apple will release the first beta build of iOS 5 to developers at WWDC. Do you really think Apple is going to tease everyone with the latest and greatest iOS 5 features but not let developers play with it? It’s coming.
Chances are also good that we’ll see the Mac OS X 10.6.8 update released either before or at WWDC 2011, this is an essential update to Mac users one because it addresses the MacDefender scareware, and more importantly, because it readies Mac OS X to upgrade to Lion.
Will There Be “One More Thing” at WWDC 2011?
Now the big question is, what, if anything, will be the “One More Thing” that Apple and Steve Jobs are so famous for, waiting until the end of a keynote presentation to unveil a new product or piece of hardware. Speculation is running rampant about this one, here are some of the candidates:
- MacBook Air Sandy Bridge & ThunderBolt Updates : Likelihood – High : Word on the street is that supplies of existing MacBook Air models are dwindling, which typically points to an imminent refresh. The MacBook Air lineup is expected to get upgraded CPU’s with Intels Sandy Bridge chipset and the inclusion of the ultrafast ThunderBolt I/O port. Other signs of a coming refresh? Apple has lowered the price on MBA refurbs, and Best Buy is selling the current models at a reduced price.
- iPhone 4S : Likelihood – Low : Most rumors put the next iPhone release date at the end of summer, sometime in August or September, but some are interpreting a report on Macotakara to suggest that the “4S” could be unveiled as soon as next week at WWDC. This is unlikely to happen, but it would produce a lot of excitement if it did.
- Mac OS X Lion available immediately : Likelihood – Low : A few sites have suggested that Lion will be made available immediately to the public at WWDC, but if you’ve heard much about Developer Preview 3 you’ll know it’s not ready for primetime quite yet. There are still bugs, quirks, crashes, but more importantly, developers need their hands on a GM build before it would ship to the public anyway.
- iOS 5 available immediately : Likelihood – Zero : This is so ludicrous it’s almost not worth publishing, but some of the rumormills out there are claiming iOS 5 will see an immediate release at WWDC. The reason this won’t happen is simple, developers need time to ready their current applications to work with iOS 5 and whatever new features and enhancements it will have. Will they get an iOS 5 beta? Yes. A final release? Not a chance.
Anyway, enough speculation. Here’s the full press release about WWDC 2011, courtesy of Apple:
CUPERTINO, California—May 31, 2011—Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.
WWDC will feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers. Mac® developers will see and learn how to develop world-class Mac OS X Lion applications using its latest technologies and capabilities. Mobile developers will be able to explore the latest innovations and capabilities of iOS and learn how to greatly enhance the functionality, performance and design of their apps. All developers can bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers.
For more details, visit the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 website at developer.apple.com/wwdc.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.