Apple iOS 6, iCloud Refresh to be Main Focus of WWDC: Report

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference doesn't start until June 11, but the rumor mill is already in full tilt.

As the world awaits Apple€™s latest Wordwide Developers Conference (WWDC), to be held June 11-15 at San Francisco€™s Moscone West, reports and rumors are piling up as to what the company will choose to showcase.

May reports suggested Apple would unveil photo-sharing capabilities for iCloud service. An investor note by Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, which Mac-centric blog AppleInsider picked up, said the mobile iOS operating system would be upgraded to improve photo-sharing capabilities and an in-house 3D mapping application to replace Google Maps.

Apple€™s new mapping application is reportedly using 3D mapping technology by C3 Technologies, which the company acquired in 2011. This followed earlier acquisitions of mapping-software companies Placebase and Poly9, which led analysts to think Apple was trying to wean its iOS devices off Google Maps. Google is actually hosting an invitation-only event on June 6 to showcase features from the next generation of Google Maps, an invite received by technology blog TheNextWeb confirmed.

Getting back to Mac and the WWDC, Apple CEO Tim Cook threw some grist into the rumor mill during a keynote interview at the D10 tech conference earlier this week, telling the crowd Apple will €œblow them away€ with WWDC announcements. "We have some incredible things coming," he was quoted as saying, tantalizingly withholding anything approaching specifics. Many analysts have been anticipating Apple will unveil a high-tech television, but whether Apple would dive into such a competitive commodity market remains subject to debate.

To top it all off, AppleInsider also reported some employees at a Texas Apple Store have been asked to stay late on June 5, which has fueled speculation Apple is planning on a product launch or promotional event in anticipation of WWDC. The blog also reported on alleged unannounced visits by Apple network engineers to several of the company€™s retail stores in possession of a black box, an incident likely to raise further speculation about Apple€™s immediate plans.

At this year€™s five-day conference, Apple will also offer more than 100 technical sessions presented by company engineers on a range of technology-specific topics for developing, deploying and integrating iOS and OS X technologies, as well as the Apple Design Awards, a showcase of the most outstanding apps from the past year. €œWe have a great WWDC planned this year and can€™t wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers,€ Philip Schiller, Apple€™s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in prepared remarks.