June is a busy month for Cupertino, Calif. based Apple (APPL), as they rev up for their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. To the dismay of consumers, analysts predict Apple will likely not unveil a new iPhone model, as they have in years past.
The conference, which sold out within hours of ticketing, attracts iOS and Mac developers from around the world. In years past, the conference focuses on iOS development. However, industry experts predict Apple will unveil refreshes to their MacBook Pro series and the newest sequence of their mobile operating system, iOS 6.
Apple to Unveil iOS 6 at WWDC 2012
Most notably, the next version of iOS is expected to ditch Google Maps in lieu of a custom built, proprietary mapping solution. The change, while relatively insignificant, exemplifies the ongoing feud between Apple and it’s Mountain View, Calif. based rivalry, Google (GOOG).
Analysts claim Apple has been working on such a solution for quite a while, given the company purchased Placebase, a Google Maps competitor, in 2009 and Poly9, a mapping company, in 2010. The new Maps app will likely feature real-time, crowd sourced traffic data and real-life 3-D modeling.
Maps aside, the next iteration of iOS is expected to feature significantly updated Photo and Camera apps, in addition to enhanced photo sharing capabilities. While vastly unconfirmed, there are several rumors indicating Apple will offer tighter, native Facebook functionality, similarly to how Twitter works with iOS.
No iPhone For You!
Apple threw Silicon Valley a curve ball last year, releasing the iPhone 4S in October rather than during WWDC 2011. Given this change, Apple will likely continue the October release cycle to appease iPhone 4S owners who are locked into a two-year contract.
Unfortunately, for the iPhone 4 toting crowd, they’ll have to wait another four months, even though their carrier contracts will have lapsed. This is a potential problem for Apple, if impatient techies opt for bigger, snappier Android smartphones between June and October.
The fall iPhone launch schedule replaces Apple’s “big” iPod and media event. Given iPods are being cannibalized by iPhone sales, this makes sense. The timing also coincides nicely with the holiday shopping season, perhaps boosting iPhone sales during the fourth quarter.
OS X Mountain Lion
The latest upgrade to Apple’s desktop operating system, OS X 10.8, dubbed “Mountain Lion,” is expected to be released this summer. As such, it makes sense that Apple will hold several sessions on the latest OS X innovations.
The likelihood of Apple releasing the software to the public is highly unlikely, given it is still in the early stages of Developer Preview. It is also unlike Apple to release two products so close together, as Mountain Lion would likely fall into the background, with iOS 6 taking center stage and media coverage.
The next-generation operating system will feature tighter integration with iOS products, and mirroring support with the second and third generation Apple TV devices. The software also takes design cues from iOS, implementing similar visual treatments in OS X. Apple is also adding and updating several apps, including Reminders, Notes, and Messages, which synchronize wirelessly with your iOS device through iCloud.
Apple Design Awards
Unfortunately, the specifics and schedule of the conference are limited to Apple developers. However, Apple is expected to unveil their 2012 Design Awards following the keynote on Monday, June 11 at 3:45 p.m. Pacific.