A Layman’s Guide to Apple’s WWDC

By  |  Monday, June 1, 2009 at 1:02 pm

macmondayMany had hoped that Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference would signal the triumphant return of Steve Jobs. It looks like that may not be happening, but there looks to be plenty of other possible outcomes for what we might see at Apple’s yearly developer confab.

Traditionally this has been a developer event, thus any announcements we see here usually are non-consumer. If its not consumer news, what should you expect? Announcements on Mac OS X, new computer systems, new development tools.

At WWDC 2009 it may be slightly different, but only because of the way Apple’s refresh cycle is falling combined with products it already had in the pipe that are ready for prime time. Below, I’ve listed what I think is the Most Likely, Likely, and Not Likely as a guide for those of us Apple fans who may not have the time (or will) to track every Apple rumor that comes across the wires. My thoughts are below the fold.

Before I forget: be sure to participate in our WWDC Prediction Challenge for a chance to win a $100 Apple gift certificate!

Most Likely

iPhone 3G Part Deux: I would be absolutely shocked if there is no announcement regarding the iPhone 3G refresh at WWDC. Everything we are seeing — from the shortages, to the ever-building rumors, to those “leaks” all point towards it. Don’t expect anything ground shattering however. Most likely here is an upgrade to the internals to handle faster 3G (thus AT&T’s sudden will to upgrade its network quickly), the rumored compass functionality, and tweaks to the design of the unit including a much-improved camera. It also seems that we’ll be seeing higher capacity phones as well.

iPhone OS 3.0: It wouldn’t make sense for Apple to debut its shiny new iPhone 3G without also releasing the long-awaited upgrade to the operating system. If its not released next week, I expect to at least get a more solid date from Cupertino rather than “this summer.” From all we’re hearing, its just about fully baked so it seems WWDC will be the place to roll it out.

Consider also that this year’s confab will also be featuring a lot of tracks familiarizing developers with the new functionalities made available by OS 3.0.

Mac OS X 10.6 Preview: This is the only item to be confirmed by Apple as actually happening at the event. The keynote will likely feature a rundown of the company’s progress on the OS X 10.6 front, and attendees will receive a developer preview copy. A more solid date for release could also be provided here, although Apple may not want to tip its hand with the imminent release of Windows 7.


Mac systems refresh: News of any refresh of the Mac line has been pretty scant when it comes to pinning anything down for WWDC. However, in recent years a part of the keynote has featured some kind of laptop/desktop release and it’s not out of the question to see it here.

Using the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide for guidance, all three laptops are approaching the end of their product cycle and look prime for upgrades. Anything that happens here would likely be a performance bump rather than any physical change. The iMac is mid-cycle, so anything there would be a surprise, although it might be a good idea to wait it out a week if you’re planning to buy just in case.

Cinema Displays: Could get burned here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and call an upgrade of Apple’s signature displays “likely.” A major upgrade to this product hasn’t happened in two years — and supplies of some displays were reported to have been dwindling. That’s always a sign that Apple’s about to make a move.

Not Likely:

iPod nano 5G: Yes, this product is due for an update. But WWDC is not the place for it to happen. My guess is that Steve’s first big event after he comes back would be this. Judging by past releases, this has typically happened at a September event. So expect it then, not now.

Any kind of Tablet/Netbook announcement: Apple loves to throw us curveballs, but I don’t think either of these apparent projects are baked enough for it to talk about them. While I’d love to be pleasantly surprised here, I don’t think its happening.

This seems to still be something that we might hear about next year. I haven’t seen much that would make me think otherwise.

Steve Jobs’ return: Yes, I said it in the opening but I’ll repeat it here. Apple has long been planning WWDC without Jobs, and I don’t think he wants to add a distraction to the event. Bringing him back here would take away from what’s being announced and make the story about him, and that just doesn’t make good business sense.

Now, Apple could always stay in the headlines by announcing his return the following week…


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10 Comments For This Post

  1. John Baxter Says:

    Why have people been expecting the Return of Steve Jobs at WWDC? June 8 is hard to justify as “the end of June”. I don’t think people predicting the premature Return have been thinking clearly.

    It seems to me that the most that could happen would be a quick iChat-based cameo from home (sort of the way Phil Schiller first appeared in keynotes).

  2. joecab Says:

    The updated Cinema Displays with the MacBook chargers built in and the LED screens don’t count as a major upgrade?

  3. Ed Oswald Says:

    nice catch joecab. I thought it seemed a little off, but honestly those cinema displays aren’t my forte… i confess to not following them as closely. Updating..

  4. Amir Says:

    Why do people care so much about rumors and blah, blah, blah??? Who cares? Wait for it, it’ll come out, look deep in your pockets and if you have more than lint, buy it! People have too much time on their hands- no wonder this country is becoming lazy by the minute and ignorant to the point of not being able to spell when writing their opinion on a website- instead of running around acting like this is so important asking what the next apple toy will be, how about cracking the dictionary and learn how to spell.
    Tangent over!

  5. Simon Says:

    Amir- you read the article and took the time to comment on it. Oh yes, and while you’re bitching about posters’ English, that should be “becoming lazier by the minute”, and we don’t, to my knowledge, crack dictionaries.

  6. Amir Says:

    Simon- it shouldn’t be lazier because I never said we were to begin with… So there! On that note: don’t get your panties in a bunch unless you are getting lazier and worried about the next apple item on the menu-

  7. Amir Says:

    Btw- what is posters’ English? Is that a poser’s or porter’s or partner’s or peter’s because I never heard bunch of posters speaking a language- and if you don’t understand slango then don’t comment wanko or jango- whatever you choose, bingo- wait how old are you, and have you gone to college and actually graduated?

  8. Amir Says:

    One more thing- I do not believe bitching is in da dictionary, dango!

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