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Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 11. And we’re expecting a slew of new product and software announcements, ranging from redesigned MacBooks to new features for the iPhone and iPad.
With luck, there will be a surprise or two as well.
So what does Apple have planned for next month? We took a look at the latest reports and rumours. Here’s what’s on the way.
Apple will likely unveil the biggest new features to iOS, its operating system for iPhones and iPads. As was the case last year, developers will get to test a preview version of the new OS so they can make sure their apps are compatible when the final version launches a few months later.
So what's in store for the new iOS?
According to several reports, iOS will have a brand new app for maps. Instead of relying on Google Maps for data, the new Maps app will run on Apple's own backend.
The maps will likely use 3D graphics from a company called C3 Technologies, which Apple acquired several months ago. We're also hoping Apple finally uses this opportunity to add built-in turn-by-turn directions, something that's been missing from the iPhone since day one.
We were very pleased to see Apple implement Twitter into iOS last year. But noticeably missing is the world's largest social network, Facebook.
iMore recently discovered some Facebook references in iOS's code, so it's pretty clear Apple is still toying around with the idea. Still, just because Apple is testing Facebook integration, doesn't mean it'll actually happen.
With hundreds of thousands of iOS apps out there, it's getting difficult to find the ones you need. That's likely why Apple recently bought a company called Chomp, a recommendation engine for apps. There's a decent chance some of Chomp's features will show up in the next version of the App Store.
A lot of people were hoping the third-generation iPad would get Siri, just like the iPhone 4S. Instead, Apple only added Siri's voice dictation feature that lets you talk to type.
According to TechCrunch's MG Siegler, Siri may finally arrive on the iPad with the new version of iOS. The reason Siri isn't on the iPad now is because Apple is still trying to figure out what it'd look like on a larger screen.
It looks like Apple is trying social again. According to a WSJ report, iCloud will allow you to share photos with friends. When you upload photos from your iPhone or iPad to your iCloud Photo Stream, friends will have the option to view and comment on them.
Apple recently let a beta version of iCloud leak out that shows support for new apps, including Notes and Reminders. This shouldn't be such a surprise as we already know the new version of Mac OS X, Mountain Lion, will sync Notes and Reminders over iCloud.
Apple has been testing an iPhone-like notification banner for icloud.com. MacRumors first discovered the new notifications system. It means whenever you get a new email, reminder, etc., a little bar pops up at the top of your screen, just like it does on your iPhone or iPad. It's just another example how Apple is making the desktop more iOS-like.
Apple surprised everyone a few months ago when it announced it would launch a new version of Mac OS X this summer. That version, called Mountain Lion, makes Macs even more iOS-like than before.
We're still waiting for the final word on Mountain Lion though. Apple will likely announce availability and pricing at WWDC.
We've been playing around with the developer preview of Mountain Lion for a while now. Here are the features we're most excited about:
- AirPlay mirroring. You can mirror what's on your Mac to your Apple TV. This will be great for videos and presentations.
- Messages. This app brings iMessage to your desktop. It allows you to send iMessages to iOS devices along with regular instant messages via popular services such as Google Talk and AIM.
- Notifications. Mountain Lion will have a Notifications centre just like the iPhone and iPad. This will contain all your calendar appointments, emails, reminders, or whatever else you choose to put in there. You'll also have the option to toggle notifications on and off if you don't want to be bothered.
Apple's MacBook line is well overdue for a refresh. The latest rumours say MacBooks are getting high-resolution displays, similar to the ones on iPhones and iPads. That means images, text, and video will be extremely crisp and clear.
Both the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are said to be getting the new high-res displays.