Apple's WWDC set for June 10-14, hints at fall launch of next iPhone

iOS preview will be handed to developers at the conference; tickets go on sale Thursday

Apple today said that its annual developers conference will take place June 10-14, when it will provide developers with preview builds of the next versions of both iOS and OS X.

The dates were expected: Last month, San Francisco's Moscone Center, the venue this year and for the last 10, had only the week of June 10-14 open on its event calendar.

Tickets for the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. PT, Apple said in a statement. Prices will remain flat from last year at $1,599, a price maintained since 2010.

Last year, WWDC sold out in under two hours.

Apple will spell out details of the next versions of iOS and OS X, its mobile and Mac operating systems, respectively, at the conference. Developers will also get builds of the two OSes, as they have in the past.

"We can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC," said Philip Schiller, head of Apple's marketing, in a statement Wednesday.

Only Apple-registered developers may attend WWDC, but the entry bar is low: Programmers pay just $99 for a year's membership to the Cupertino, Calif. company's developer program, and there are no other eligibility requirements.

In a follow-up to last year's new rules, Apple again barred ticket resale. Before WWDC 2012, scalpers profited, in some cases by thousands of dollars, by shilling tickets on eBay and Craigslist.

Schiller's promise that developers will get their hands on previews of iOS and OS X answers questions raised by Computerworld about the timing of iOS 7, the presumed moniker for the upcoming version, and the next edition of OS X.

If Apple follows its usual timetable, a June preview of iOS 7 means that it will be available in final form this fall alongside new hardware. The last two years Apple has waited until June's WWDC to hand developers an iOS SDK (software development kit), then unveiled new iPhones in September (2012) or October (2011).

While some analysts continue to place bets on a June or July launch of a new iPhone -- for now, dubbed "iPhone 5S" -- the iOS 7 timing hints at a later debut.

"I don't expect anything major until the fall," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in a Tuesday interview. Moorhead was reacting to comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier that day during his company's quarterly earnings call with Wall Street.

WWDC announcement
Tickets for this year's WWDC go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. PT for $1,599. (Image: Apple.)

"Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014," Cook said, fueling speculation that a new iPhone will, in fact, not appear this summer.

OS X's next upgrade may also launch later than did the last two iterations, Lion and Mountain Lion, what with Apple's plans to deal developers a preview in June. Again, if Apple sticks to the timeline for Lion and Mountain Lion, a June appearance of a preview of OS X 10.9 -- it does not yet have a feline name -- would indicate a final release no earlier than Nov. 4.

Apple had said last year that it had put OS X on an annual development and release tempo. OS X Mountain Lion launched July 25, 2012.

Apple has not yet posted an agenda for the conference. The WWDC website currently lists six tracks -- including service, tools, media and frameworks -- and said it will offer more than 100 separate sessions. All Apple divulged today was that, "Developers from around the world will learn about the future of iOS and OS X," phrasing nearly identical to 2012's ticket sale announcement.

If Apple hews to tradition, CEO Tim Cook will host the WWDC keynote, which will likely kick off the conference the morning of Monday, June 10.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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