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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So, here is a list of the most-talked-about potential Leopard features -- along with my take on how likely they are to happen:

  • Universal Mac OS X release for Intel and Power PC Macs -- very likely. (Apple has said this is a goal of Mac OS X development.)
  • Redesigned Finder with enhanced Spotlight integration -- very likely, though it's hard to guess how much redesign and integration will be included.
  • Intel or Universal version of Mac OS X Server -- very likely, and necessary.
  • Final Boot Camp release -- likely. (Certainly, Boot Camp will eventually be a Mac feature and not a beta tool.)
  • Built-in virtualization to run Windows without requiring a reboot -- possible, but Apple has said it doesn't plan to offer more than dual-boot options and has pushed Parallels Desktop has a solution for this.
  • Improved support for access control lists (ACL) in client and server releases -- likely, and needed. (Apple made a great first step in offering ACLs in Tiger, but these could be improved upon.)
  • Improved collaborative tools -- likely. (This speculation has been vague, but it focuses on efforts to improve the ability for users to share information from Mail, iCal, iWork and the iLife suite, as well as from Spotlight and the Finder.)
  • Improved Rosetta functionality for running non-Universal apps -- likely.
  • Increased IPv6 support -- likely.
  • Updated window graphical user interface (GUI) to solid rather than brushed metal (a la iTunes) -- possible. (Apple does tend to update the operating system to resemble the interface used in the iLife suite and has a tendency to update the GUI as a whole every couple of years.)
  • Increased home directory options -- possible. (One possibility: an iPod-based home directory, though I'm not sure of the practicality of this.)
  • More full-screen application use -- possible. (iPhoto has definitely made excellent use of full-screen editing, and I can see that option carrying throughout other bundled applications.)
  • Increased home entertainment integration -- very likely. (Apple has done a great deal to make Macs into the "digital hub" that Steve Jobs described a few years ago. Improvements to Front Row have really made the Mac a media center, and it seems almost certain Apple will continue pushing the potential for home integration.)

That's it for my speculation about what we'll see announced at WWDC. Check back next week after the main event on Monday for my recap of what was actually announced and what those announcements mean for Apple, Mac OS X and Mac users.

Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and IT consultant specializing in Mac and multiplatform network design and troubleshooting. He is the co-author of Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration (O'Reilly Media, 2005) and the author of Troubleshooting, Maintaining, and Repairing Macs (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 2000). He is a regular contributor to Inform IT. For more information, visit RyanFaas.com.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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