Apple WWDC Dates, Tracks Revealed

Mac OS X Leopard and the iPhone share top billing.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held June 9 to 13 in San Francisco, the company announced March 13.

Though more specific information about seminars and topics is not yet available, one noteworthy change for the 2008 version is Apple's statement that the focus will be on "two most innovative platforms": Mac OS X and the iPhone, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other company executives have recently referred to as a platform.

There will also be three educational tracks: the Mac, the iPhone and IT. Though WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is, as its name implies, primarily for those who want to develop applications for Apple's products, the IT track will focus on "setting up, integrating, deploying and managing Leopard, Leopard Server, and iPhone OS technologies in heterogeneous environments.," according to Apple's WWDC Web page.

Apple's WWDC is for developers, rather than the general audience that attends the annual Macworld Expo (also held in San Francisco). At WWDC, Apple hosts educational tracks for these developers to learn and optimize OS X development tools, as well as how to use new features and APIs that have been introduced since the previous year's conference. Often, these sessions, such as the "State of the Mac", will talk about future features not yet released to the public. Because of this, only the conference's keynote speech, usually given by Jobs, is open to the public.

At these keynotes, Jobs has introduced new products; the company is, as its wont, tight-lipped about these announcements in advance.

Last year, Jobs unveiled a Windows version of the Safari Web browser and features of the then-unreleased Leopard operating system. The previous year, Jobs previewed Leopard and completed the transition to the Intel platform with a revision of a new Mac Pro desktop. In other years, product announcements have also included a new Xserve and even consumer products such as new iPods.

This year, there is speculation about Apple giving more insight into the iPhone SDK (software development kit), which is scheduled for release in June. With Leopard recently out of the gate, few expect serious revelations about Mac OS X.

On the hardware side, the rumor mill is currently quiet, though some have noted that products such as the Mac Mini, Cinema Displays and maybe even iMacs are due for an update. The iMacs and Mac Minis, especially, are expected to be refreshed soon, as Apple recently released MacBook and MacBook Pro models based on the newer Penryn mobile platform, which offers increased bus and other speed improvements.