WWDC 2014 opens up with Apple's keynote speech at 1 p.m. ET. Hundreds are already gathered outside the Moscone Center hall to see what the company has to say -- and we are live blogging what happens as it happens right here. Here's what to expect (and what happened):
Software not hardware
WWDC is a developer's conference, so don't be too surprised if the focus today is on software -- Apple knows software is the glue that binds its entire ecosystem and will want to explain some of the new features inside of iOS and OS X to developers.
This also means it's unlikely the company will introduce hardware products at the show -- partially because two hours before doors open and the company's online store remains online.
That's not to say new hardware releases won't be hinted at: this means analysts and pundits alike will be looking at Apple's software revelations in an attempt to decode the company's future plans.
Software expectations before the show are currently coalescing around:
Theres been lots of claims the company is plotting a redesign to its Mac OS. The suggestion is that it will adopt a flatter more iOS-like interface for Macs, another step to bringing the iOS and OS X experience closer together. Xcode may also see an upgrade. All of this happened, and Apple introduced a new programming language. OS X Yosemite is available in Fall.
That's not to say we won't hear anything about iOS. The next iteration of the mobile operating system is critical and Apple will want developers to get deep inside the new OS. And told us a lot -- available Fall.
Everyone and their brother seems to believe Apple will introduce iOS 8 features designed to underpin the digital home. It seems most likely part of this will be to introduce compatibility to some of the third-party smart home systems that already exist (WiMo et al) within the OS. Apple has introduced this.
There have been claims Apple will demonstrate health-related technologies the company is said to be working on. And indeed this has been introduced.
(NY Times this morning seemingly confirmed both smarthome and Healthbook features will be announced today).
There have been some claims Apple will introduce new iMac or MacBook Air (with Retina Display) models at the show. Analyst Gene Munster just told CNBC he sees a "50/50 chance" of new MacBook Air models. To this, I'd like to add speculation we may see Apple introduce its own 4K display for the Mac Pro. Apple television rumors appear to have disappeared from view recently. And not a single new Mac appeared during the keynote.
Split display view for iPads has been suggested as an iOS 8 feature. It also seems very likely Apple will introduce new improvements to its iWork and iLife apps, and there's some possibility the company will open up the Apple TV a little more to accept apps created by third-party developers. (Games? TV channels?) We didn't get any of this -- but we did get good iCloud improvements.
There's very little chance we will see Apple launch an iWatch -- the best I can imagine is the company may confirm it is working on something of this kind and briefly discuss some of the ways in which developers will be able to build apps for such a device. (It didn't)
These are the current speculations as Apple prepares to open up WWDC, but you need to take each one of these with a pinch of salt -- Apple under Tim Cook is not Apple under Steve Jobs, and as the Apple Beats purchase suggests, the company is quite capable of making moves that surprise even experienced Apple watchers. (But Dr. Dre told us all he was looking forward to getting to work).
One thing's for sure -- Apple knows this event will mark its first major attempt this year to regain its position at the vanguard of industry innovation. Check back our live blog for more information from the show as it transpires.
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