Apple's WWDC 2009 is almost upon us and, by the hype, you'd think the one and only thing we'll see at the event is a new iPhone. The new iPhone may actually be the low point of the event, as many people point to the fact that the iPhone may only see a magnetometer (compass), better camera (3.2 megapixel with auto-focus) and some minor aesthetic changes (black matte back and black rim). Some are speculating that there might be a forward facing camera for video chatting but this is far from a given. There is other speculation that the iPhone will range in size from 4 to 32GB and start out at $99-149 with plan. It may even be called the "iPhone Video" or "iPhone 3GS" and have FM broadcast/receive capabilities.
iPhone 3 software has some interesting new features including a video recorder application, support for Bluetooth 2.0, Safari GPS and many more APIs for developers to work with. We'll likely see great uses of these API that haven't been seen before. I'd like to see the GPS and compass used with the camera functionality to create 3D landscapes and VR worlds.
Besides the iPhone, Apple also looks to throw the spotlight on Snow Leopard. At last year's WWDC, developers got the first preview of Snow Leopard and the promise that it would be done in "about a year". Apple's PR last month said that a final developer preview would be available at the event and the final version would be available later.
Besides what is already known about Snow Leopard, there have been hints that it might take some GPS cues from the iPhone and get a Core Location module to be built into the OS. Most of the browsers are taking advantage of this functionality already (or will be soon).
Snow Leopard likely won't run on PowerPC, leaving out a lot of Apple users in this upgrade. That's why they used the neme "Snow Leopard" instead of another big cat. Interestingly, there have been theories that it might run on ARM for upcoming tablets and "smartbooks". It also may not sell for the typical $129 retail/$99 academic since there aren't too many new features to advertise.
Snow Leopard's OpenCL support will allow it to harness the power of the Mac's GPU to make heavy duty tasks like rendering video much quicker. There has been word that the next version of Final Cut Pro, Apple's video editing software suite, will be one of the first applications to support OpenCL. If so, it will likely be announced at WWDC.
Snow Leopard also is expected to support Microsoft Exchange right out of the box for Email, contacts and calendar. Expect that to be demonstrated.
Quicktime X is supposed to run much more efficiently on Snow Leopard (possibly with the help of OpenCL). There is also upload to MobileMe and Youtube functionality expected. Apple will likely demo this funtionality.
Hardware is where it gets most interesting. We've heard that MacBooks might get a 3G WWAN option. Recent Apple job postings listed QA analysts to check integrated 3G hardware on the MacOS. MacBooks could even get GPS or WiMAX options, though that is very unlikely.
MacBook Airs, while great, still aren't the computer everyone would like them to be. They still lack 4GB of RAM and the aforementioned 3G that would get power users to adopt. They could also get more storage and cost less to compete with netbooks. they've been a rumored update as well.
AppleTV is sitting fairly idle while competitors like Windows XBox and Sony Playstation are getting amazing upgrades. Important differentiators like full HD, Netflix add to their amazing gaming capabilities. Apple has been hiring gaming experts left and right so perhaps this will be the time to push AppleTV into the gaming world.
Cinema displays. Apple updated the 24-inch cinema display to work with the new Mini DisplayPort interface in the new Macs. They subsequently killed the 20 inch Apple display, while leaving the 30-inch with the old look and DVI interface. This situation will likely change with new 30-inch Mini DisplayPort screens, if not at WWDC, soon.
iPods will wait until August to get their cameras but the new 3.0 iPhone software will also work on older iPod touches. Along with all of the new features mentioned above. iPod touch v2s will now get Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities.
Steve Jobs. The iConic one is scheduled to return from medical leave at the end of the month but many anticipate tha tthe Apple CEO will make an appearance bringing the one more thing...whatever that is.
I'll be liveblogging the event tomorrow with instant analysis on whatever new and exciting products get revealed. Stop by.