Now that prototypes of the fourth-generation iPhone have been leaked-twice-what surprises await the Apple faithful at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference? Apple CEO Steve Jobs is scheduled to give the keynote address at the conference, which kicks off June 7 in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, and many are wondering if he’ll use the occasion to announce a version of the iPhone for the Verizon Wireless network. However, Apple has an agreement with Verizon rival AT&T to allow AT&T to distribute the wildly successful smartphone exclusively through 2012.
There was speculation earlier the week of May 24 that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would speak at the conference, but that rumor was debunked via a tweet from Microsoft’s official Twitter account confirming Ballmer would not be appearing at WWDC (or on “Dancing with the Stars,” in a typical stab at humor from Microsoft’s PR department).
While Jobs personally introduced the next-generation iPhone operating system, iPhone OS 4, there are questions remaining as to what features the new version of the operating system will offer, such as file sharing with a PC.
Despite the now-infamous acquisition of a so-called iPhone 4G by technology blog Gizmodo (and later a similar finding posted on Vietnamese forum Taoviet), WWDC will be the public’s first chance to hear Apple’s official breakdown of features, build materials and functionality. Michael Oh, president of Apple specialist Tech Superpowers, said it will be tough to guess what specifically Apple has upgraded on the iPhone 4G, but that information would certainly be the most prominent aspect of Jobs’ keynote address.
“In terms of features on the phone, your guess is as good as mine. If Apple comes out with a phone that is just as little bit better than the 3GS, people are going to feel Google is innovating quicker than Apple, which is what the analysts are batting about right now,” Oh said. “If they come out with something revolutionary, something like what [Google’s mobile OS] Android is bringing to the table, wireless syncing-that would be huge.”
Oh said while Apple has been rumored to be working on wireless syncing, it appears to him to be taking a long time in a market where competition from Android is heating up. “If with the 4G iPhone they talk about services like streaming, then they’re starting to do some exciting things,” he said. “That’s the real key to WWDC-how is Apple going to come out of this Apple versus Google battle?”
According to Wikipedia, WWDC “is primarily used by Apple to showcase its new software and technologies for developers, as well as offering hands-on labs and feedback sessions. The number of attendees usually varies between 2,000 [and] 4,200 developers. … All attendees have to sign a non-disclosure agreement covering the sessions and other material handed out at WWDC.” This year’s event sold out in just eight days.