Apple's WWDC: What's coming, what's rumored

Will next week's event bring more than a preview of the next Mac OS X?

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Aside from incorporating Intel processors, it's unclear what other hardware changes Apple may have in mind, including whether new Macs will use ATI Technologies Inc. video chip sets (as the MacBook Pro and iMac do) given the planned acquisition of ATI by Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Apple may also adjust its Cinema Display line, which -- other than price cuts -- hasn't seen any substantial changes in years.

Demos of Universal Design Apps

Along with the expected new desktop Mac, WWDC is likely to feature demos of the revised Adobe Creative Suite designed to run native on Intel Macs. This is almost required given that higher-end Macs will target design professionals, many of whom have put off their own Intel transition until Universal versions of the major design applications are available.

New iPod Nanos or an iPhone?

Speculation about new iPods has been floating around for months, including rumors about production and design delays. While the prevailing sentiment seems to be that a successor to the video iPod is weeks or months away, there have been some recent suggestions that a souped-up iPod Nano might be released. And there are the ever-present (and still very much unconfirmed) rumors of an iPod/cell phone combo.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a refreshed iPod Nano that offers larger storage capacities. But I also wouldn't be surprised to see that kind of announcement made later, given that WWDC has less of a consumer or end-user focus than Apple's other media events or MacWorld Expo. As for that "iPhone," there doesn't seem to be any concrete evidence of it appearing at WWDC or in the immediate future.

New MacBook Pro

In addition to shipping a desktop variation of the Core 2 Duo, Intel also announced last week that it is shipping the mobile version (known by the code name "Merom") ahead of schedule. That has led to speculation that Apple will be releasing an updated MacBook Pro next. However, while the existing Core Duo and the Core 2 Duo can use the same motherboard socket, it's likely that the motherboard and overall design of the MacBook Pro would need adjustments. So, while I see new MacBook Pros coming, I doubt that they'll appear at WWDC.

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