As Apple's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference draws ever closer, the wrapping has been taken off the banners for this year. All signs so far are pointing to an appearance from each of the three hottest-rumoured products: Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud.
Mac OS X Lion has seen great progress in its developer builds, with some even going as far as to declare the OS nearly finished. Assuming Apple doesn't have any secret major features up its sleeve, Lion could see a release very shortly after the conference. WWDC will also probably reveal whether or not Apple plans to distribute the OS through the App Store, like it has done with the developer builds. Interesting to note is that Apple's signs refer to Lion as "OS X Lion", without the Mac prefix. However, this could be for aesthetic reasons rather than any premature announcements of name change.
iOS 5 has been unusual. Traditionally, Apple shows off some of the features of its next iOS release in a special conference around March, but so far nothing has been revealed yet. Major releases usually have a core feature that users have been demanding, and this year it looks like the notifications system will get an overhaul. The current implementation means users have to stop everything they're doing, deal with the notification and dismiss it. There's no lists and the rest of the screen is locked away, which is even more noticeable on the iPad. iPhoneInCanada suggests Peter Hajas has been brought in to help fix the flaw. Hajas is known in jailbreaking circles as the developer of MobileNotifier, a far more elegant system which puts the notification in a bar at the top of the screen.
Other features tipped for iOS 5 include Automatic Downloading, where app updates are sent automatically over the air, and Twitter integration. John Gruber has described the Twitter feature as being a "system-level service", and Robert Scoble has tweeted that "Apple is building Twitter in deeply into iOS 5."
Last but not least, iCloud has been revealed as the official name for Apple's rumoured cloud service. Analysts and bloggers were previously convinced that iCloud will use Apple's new shiny data centers, but Cult of Mac says it will take advantage of redesigned Time Capsules. While its current form lets users back up to local storage, the new versions will serve up content to users' devices automatically. Home folders and media libraries are synced to the Time Capsule as soon as a user's device connects. The new Time Capsules will be running iOS and feature either an A4 or an A5 chip at its core.
Steve Jobs' keynote will begin at 10am Pacific Time.
Image Credit: Macrumors