Apple WWDC To Unveil 'Future Of iOS' - InformationWeek
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09:29 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Apple WWDC To Unveil 'Future Of iOS'

The next iPhone and iOS 5 may be announced at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, slated for June in San Francisco.

Apple typically holds its WWDC each June, and this year the Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off at San Francisco's Moscone Center on June 6. In the announcement, Apple makes it clear that it will "unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS." This means it will introduce the next major version of iOS, which is likely to be called iOS 5. Apple has already given us a sneak peak of what OS X 10.7 Lion will offer, but we're sure to get the full scoop -- including pricing and availability -- at WWDC in June.

Apple hasn't provided any information yet about iOS 5, but a report over the weekend listed a number of potential changes to Apple's mobile operating system. According to sources cited by TechCrunch, there's a lot to look forward to. Though the OS won't launch until the fall, TechCrunch said, it is likely to rely heavily on the cloud in conjunction with revamped MobileMe Web-based services. One such new service might include a "music locker" for online music storage, as well as location services for finding family members and friends.

MobileMe is definitely in need of an upgrade. The $100-per-year service offers some basic services such as email, contact syncing, photo storage, and the Find My iPhone feature. Storage for photos and/or documents is limited to just 10 GB, though, and many felt the $100 yearly cost was too steep. TechCrunch suggested that a revamped MobileMe might cost as little as $20 per year, though surely plenty of iPhone/iPad users would prefer the service to be available for free.

Apple has updated iOS continuously over the years, with the most recent update (4.3) hitting devices several weeks ago. Apple has launched a new version of iOS each summer to coincide with the launch of a new iPhone. TechCrunch isn't so sure we'll see a new iPhone at WWDC, though. WWDC is, after all, a developers conference and Apple typically doesn't use it to launch new hardware.

The laundry list of features that iOS lacks seems to grow as quickly as the features it has. Many hope to see completely re-designed notifications, a local file system, and more.

Apple's 10.7 Lion operating system is still on track to launch this summer, and WWDC will provide developers with plenty of opportunity to learn about it. The preview Apple gave in late 2010 showed a heavily revised OS that makes use of the trackpad (on laptops) for all sorts of touch-based interactions (similar to those of the iPad).

Apple's announcement today notes that WWDC will offer "more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers on a wide range of technology-specific topics for developing, deploying, and integrating the latest iOS and Mac OS technologies." It also said that more than 1,000 Apple engineers will be on site to assist developers and provide additional insight.

"At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a prepared statement. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss."

Go to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 Web site to purchase tickets, as well as for updates and more information.

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