Apple Keeps Em Guessing

As Apple prepares for its Worldwide Developers Conference, ever-curious experts and consumers speculate on what the company has up its sleeve.

With Apples Worldwide Developers Conference about to kick off in San Francisco, the usual rumors, innuendo and sheer guessing of what CEO Steven Jobs is about the reveal is well underway.

It is no surprise to anyone that, as in years past, Apple continues to keep its true motives well hidden, but some possibilities for the Aug. 7 WDC have managed to reach the Web.

Its all part of Apples plan to build up anticipation and create buzz for products, said Roger L. Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Association, who has written about Cupertino, Calif., company.

"Very rarely do you get a definite picture of what is going to happen in advance," Kay said. "What you can expect is an extension of the companys products. Then you have the complete surprises and Apple is very good at keeping that under wraps."

On the sure side of the ledger, Apple itself announced that it will discuss developments in Mac OS X technologies, including what it bills as a preview of the Mac OS X Leopard.

According to Apple Insider, Apple will finally offer some specifics about the new operating system. Some of the top features include a new geographic mapping solution, a possible VOIP (voice over IP) feature for its iChat and an expansion of Spotlight, its search feature, according to Apple Insider.

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It has been a year since Apple began offering Intel processors in its Macintosh line of notebooks, and Kay suspects that the company will continue to expand that relationship and offer Intel-based desktops for its commercial market.

There are also expectations that Apple will announce plans to move to Intel Core 2 Duo for notebooks, otherwise codenamed "Merom."

That announcement might not count as a major surprise since the new chip is a drop-in to existing platforms. There is also speculation that the Power Mac professional desktops will use Intel Xeon 5100, which shares circuitry with the Core 2 Duo.

According to Think Secret, Apple is ready to move forward with the Core 2 Duo. The site also reports that the company is ready to move forward with its own spreadsheet component for iWorks 07.

The Core 2 Duo is expected to show up in the Mac Pro, and the spreadsheet program is rumored to have about 200 different functions from financial to statistical, according to Think Secret.

Lately, Apples sales of Macs have helped boost profits due to increase demand for the refreshed Mac line. Although the company said it would have to restate its third quarter earnings following an internal investigation into how it handled stock options among some executives, including Jobs.

Then there is the iPod.

Kay said to look for Apple to make strides in using more flash memory in some products. Using flash will allow the company to make iPods smaller, lighter and more durable, for example.

With the unveiling of Microsofts Zune, digital music enthusiasts have been talking about what Apple will do to continue its stranglehold on the digital music market.

Consumers should look for iPods, especially the nano version, to come with better video capabilities, Kay said. Some other speculation points to a possible deal between Apple and Hollywood that would allow iPod users to rent movies.

Despite what is possible with Apple, Kay suspects that Jobs and his crew will likely save the biggest surprises for the end of the opening keynote address.

"Steve himself will present the opening and hell start at the more obvious and then work his way toward a surprise," Kay said. "Its a tried-and-true formula and the faithful really love it."

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