WWDC 2012 Predictions

Tomorrow is the big Tim Cook keynote at WWDC. So it’s time for the last minute predictions:

I think everything rumored to be coming out of Apple will come out. I just don’t think it’ll happen miraculously all on the same day tomorrow. For starters, rumors of a refreshed hardware line seem off to me. Coordinating the shipments and handling of one new batch of computers is tricky enough, I’m sure. Doing it for four or five lines at the same time would be madness. Where in the Apple Store back rooms would they stock all of those machines? Maybe they can announce them tomorrow for future shipments.

I’d expect to see something along the lines of what we saw a few years back. It was in January/February, and Apple released a new something every week for five or six straight weeks. Maybe that’s what they’ll do here, too. Don’t fill the press’ heads with too much news tomorrow. Give them one piece and let the rest roll out as the news cycle slows down and Apple can steal a headline or three.

This is a developers’ conference, so I’ll go big and say the Mac Pro will get a refresh. After that, perhaps one laptop that will have a retina display screen. Everything else waits.

Along those lines, while the prospect of an App Store for the Apple TV is the most exciting thing to be rumored, I don’t see it happening. The Apple TV 3 is short on space to store those apps. You can’t load one up with lots of applications, when there’s only 8GB of space on there, most of which would still be used to make temporary storage of video streams more seamless. You need new hardware — possibly including a new remote — to make an Apple TV App Store work.

Either that, or we will get one, but people will be ticked off that Apple will be limiting it. Either Apple won’t grant developers access to the videos the box streams, or access would be limited strictly to those multimedia elements. No Angry Birds for you. (How would you play that, anyway?)

How awkward would it be if Apple held a special event in the future to announce an Apple TV SDK/App Store? Once the invitations went out, everyone would assume it’s for the much-hyped “Apple TV” all-in-one package. That’s why Apple wouldn’t hold such an event. They’d just open up a new page on the developer website and let people download the framework and go nuts. Maybe they’d run a press release, but the whole thing would come with zero warning.

Will we see a Siri API? That would be a big deal. Handling voice recognition and the discipline of parsing language like that would be daunting. It would require a lot of training of the devs. Again, though, Apple could limit access to Siri in such a way that simplifies things for developers, but ultimately disappointing the loudmouths who’d be ticked off that they’re access there isn’t unfettered. Fuller access will come someday, but maybe not just yet. Apple still needs to work on the Siri servers and their slowness.

Or I could be completely wrong and Apple could announce all of this stuff at the same time and blow San Francisco off the map with the explosion of happiness at Moscone West.

That would be cool, but I’m trying hard not to let rumors disappoint me for the realities of Apple.

We’ll see new Maps, though. I’m sure of that. Facebook integration? Yes, but it’ll be limited to posting on your own wall with text or a photo. Basically, it’s the tweetification of Facebook. And I bet we’ll see a firm release date for Mountain Lion. From the scuttlebutt I’ve read, the beta tests have been going fairly well lately. The only big question is when iOS 6 will be released. Will it be tied to the next iPhone, which I’m sure we won’t see tomorrow? Or will it be released for all current models first over the summer, ahead of a fall phone release?

I can’t wait for the videos from WWDC to hit the Dev Center. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the ride tomorrow. By the time I wake up on Monday, the Wall Street Journal will likely spoil all the announcements, anyway. And maybe I’ll be wrong and we’ll be awash in a sea of awesome news and golden unicorns.