Apple WWDC: Where rumors become reality

With less than a week to go before WWDC, I decided to boldly declare the gadgets, features and software, that I think are most likely to debut at WWDC 2009

In just six days Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs from June 8-12. The perennial Apple event is one of several vehicles the company uses to unveil new tech toys and software.

Just like WWDC 2008, where Apple introduced the iPhone 3G, WWDC 2009 looks like it's going to be another one for the history books. Tickets to this year's conference have been sold out since late April, and the tech world is certain that Apple has an incredible lineup of shiny new toys for this year's WWDC at San Francisco's Moscone Center West.

So with less than a week to go before WWDC, I decided to boldly declare the gadgets, features and software, that I think are most likely to debut at WWDC 2009:

Push Notification Is a Go

Apple has been trying to get its alternative to background processes off the ground since WWDC 2008. At the time, push notification was supposed to be available by September, but technical problems held Apple back. Push notification allows developers to deliver timely content updates to applications without the need for running battery-draining background processes on your device. Rumor has it that Apple might be finished testing push notification (as pictured above on MacRumors.com), and ready to roll this feature out to the public just in time for WWDC.

iPhone 3.0 Launch Date

When Apple first introduced iPhone OS 3.0, the company said the new OS would launch this summer but didn't specify when. The two most common timeframes for an OS 3.0 launch are during WWDC or around July 17. Those who argue in favor of WWDC point to the recent release of an updated iTunes with new copy restrictions as a sign that Apple is getting ready to introduce 3.0. However, the master iPhone jailbreakers at the iPhone dev blog anticipate that Apple is roughly halfway through its 3.0 beta testing phase, which suggests a July launch. Personally, my money is on WWDC, but that's just me.

New iPhone Models

We've seen leaks from international iPhone carriers, dwindling iPhone 3G stocks, mysterious iPhone spare parts for sale on Chinese Websites and wild predictions from every blog imaginable. With all this noise, it's hard to know what's real, but I'm betting a 32GB iPhone is going to show up at San Francisco's Moscone Center West next week.

Steve Jobs

Apple's man with the Midas touch has been on medical leave for almost six months, and is expected to return to 1 Infinite Loop this summer. There have been rumors of Jobs sightings at Apple headquarters, and I'd be surprised if Steve-O let his company launch a new iPhone without at least a smile and wave from the audience.

Video Camera

In April, reports surfaced of a video camera function found in a beta release of iPhone OS 3.0. Since then there have been more iPhone video sightings in the OS, and the possibility has been raised of seeing onboard video editing for the iPhone.

Age-Restricted Apps

One of the biggest complaints about the iPhone ecosystem is its approval process for third-party applications. Recently, Apple rejected three applications because they linked to what Apple deemed to be "objectionable content." Two of those apps, a Nine Inch Nails app and an e-book reader, have since been accepted into the iTunes fold after public outcry. To get around these problems, Apple looks like it has developed a parental control system for iPhone applications. A rating system allows Apple to restrict iPhone applications to certain age groups based on the program's content. Let's hope this solution is real, and ends the ridiculous banning and unbanning of third-party apps.

iTunes-to-iPhone Direct Video Downloads

Currently, you can't download purchased video content from the iTunes Store through your iPhone. But tweaks in the recent release of iTunes 8.2 have lead some to believe you'll soon be able to order movies and TV shows without syncing to your computer.

Compass

A recurring theme with this year's iPhone predictions has been the possibility of a magnometer or compass coming to the iPhone. I'm not sure why you would want a computerized compass. But I suppose it's a cool idea.

New OS X Features with Snow Leopard

Apple has promised to hand out copies of the next iteration of OS X to developers at WWDC. When Cupertino first introduced Snow Leopard at WWDC '08, it said the Snow Leopard upgrade was largely about under-the-hood changes. Since then we've heard rumors of a visual overhaul, and images of the new Mac OS have been popping up with increasing frequency. Expect a new visual look to OS X next week, as well as some new interface changes.

Video Conferencing

Take a patent for iPhone videoconferencing and combine with a supposed iPhone 4G front bezel and you get iChat for the iPhone. This is a dream feature for many iPhone fans, and next to a Steve Jobs appearance, is probably the least likely feature on this list. Nevertheless, there is some evidence to support videoconferencing on the iPhone, which makes it a likely bet for the future -- if not at this year's WWDC.

Next Monday, we'll find out if my Apple predictions were spot-on or completely off target. Don't forget to check out PC World's coverage of the WWDC keynote address on Monday, June 8 at 10 a.m. PT.

Connect with Ian Paul on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)

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