There are a handful of things I'd like to see announced next week, and a few possibilities that get my nerdiness going. It's been a long while since Apple's last major announcement, as they seem to have favoured quietly making incremental updates to existing product lines in the last few months (as with last week's new iPod Touch).
In no particularly sensible order:
- Redesigned OS X and iOS interfaces.
Apple infamously ousted Scott Forstall last year and put Jony Ive in charge of software. It's not hard to imagine that many aspects of the familiar interfaces will change. There's a lot of speculation about this on the net currently - it's going to be interesting to see how it turns out (says the early-adopter in me).
- iCloud and syncing improvements.
Not only do Apple have a vested interest in integrating iCloud into the every day Mac workflow, but they also have a number of syncing bugs to iron out (both with iCloud Core Data and with wireless syncing to iOS). Hopefully we'll see some significant development here, and some improvement to reliability in those areas where it is lacking. In some areas iCloud really "just works" (Contacts, Calendar, etc.) and in other places, particularly complex third party syncing needs, it tends to fall short. File handling still isn't as seamless as it needs to be.
- Retina screens.
I'm still holding out hope for a retina iPad mini. It's far from guaranteed but chances are good. It also seems reasonably likely that the MacBook Air might see the debut of retina display models and not unreasonable that the non-retina MacBook might show signs of being phased out completely in favour of retina models. After using retina screens for approximately a year I'm a huge advocate of high-DPI being the future of computing.
I really want a retina iPad mini.
- Major App refreshes.
There are a lot of apps on iOS and OS X that seem to have languished somewhat of late, and some of Apple's apps still miss the mark (Podcasts, for example). There have also been rumours of extensive hiring of software developers at Apple for products such as iWork. We might see the result of some of that investment next week.
- Apple TV.
I can't help but think that the Apple TV still represents a huge missed opportunity for Apple. I got a second generation model soon after they came out and think it's a great piece of kit - it gets a lot of use my us and by friends, but it's capable of doing a lot more than just streaming media. An app framework and tighter integration with iTunes in the Cloud must be in the works. This would be a big deal if it happened.
Music streaming has proven to be great business, and while iTunes Match streams your library, it still has to be your library. Recent negotiations between Apple and major music labels seem to indicate that the iTunes streaming service is about to make another leap. I'm not sure how interested I am in this, but it seems like a sound enterprise to me.
- Something new?
In a number of interviews Tim Cook has hinted at new devices in the works. It's possible we'll see something completely new at this WWDC. I wouldn't like to put money on it though.