Apple plans on holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) from June 7-11 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, the company announced on April 28. The event will certainly be dominated by the iPhone OS 4 and the iPad, and the next version of the iPhone may also make its debut.
“This year’s WWDC offers developers in-depth sessions and hands-on working labs to learn more about iPhone OS 4, the world’s first advanced mobile operating system,” Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone Software, wrote in an April 28 statement. “WWDC provides a unique opportunity for developers to work side-by-side with Apple engineers and interface designers to make their iPhone and iPad apps even better.”
Apple has chosen to focus on what it calls “five key technology tracks” for the conference’s attendees: Application Frameworks, Internet & Web, Graphics & Media, Developer Tools, and Core OS. To that end, Apple engineers will host a variety of technical sessions with names such as “Integrating Ads with iAd” and “Adding Touch and Gesture Detection to Webpages on iPhone OS.”
More information on those sessions can be found here.
But Apple’s biggest news at the show may be something as yet unannounced: the next generation of its popular iPhone. With the device expected to debut this summer, online speculation is rampant that Apple will use the WWDC as the platform for a launch announcement.
Some details of the new iPhone may have already escaped into the wild, thanks to a supposed prototype lost by an Apple engineer at a German beer garden and subsequently dissected by tech blog Gizmodo. In its April 19 posting, Gizmodo broke down the device’s front-facing video-chat camera, higher-resolution display, larger battery and secondary mic for noise cancelation.
That video-chat camera may prove the biggest insight into Apple’s future strategy.
“We think Apple will spice up the [next] iPhone announcement with services that leverage its front-facing video camera,” Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, wrote in an April 21 research note. “There is a market opportunity for a network platform for video social networking, gaming and conferencing that Apple could address with its distinctive software and design capabilities.”
On the software side of things, Apple is hoping that the iPhone OS 4 will allow it to create a more substantial competitive moat against up-and-comers such as Google Android and Windows Phone 7. In addition to multitasking, iPhone OS 4 will also support background audio and voice over IP, background location, push notifications, local notifications, and task completion. A platform for embedding advertising into mobile applications, dubbed “iAd,” is designed to bring in additional revenue for both Apple and third-party developers.
The saga of the supposedly lost “iPhone 4G” prototype continued on April 23, when California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home and confiscated computers and other equipment. Gizmodo’s parent company, Gawker Media, is contesting the validity of the search warrant.