What to expect from WWDC 2013: Rumour Roundup

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off on Monday, June 10 at 10:00 AM PDT (13:00 PM EDT, 18:00 PM GMT). With just a few days to go, it's time to take a look at all the rumours that have been swirling around, and to speculate on those that are the most likely.

When the company announced the conference in April, it was mentioned that "new versions of iOS and OS X" will be revealed, naturally referring to iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. Whilst many would look forward to a hardware launch, Apple's move to adjust its iPhone launches later in the year means it's far from likely. WWDC 2013 is expected to focus primarily on software.

It's almost certain iOS 7 will make its debut at WWDC. We know that Jony Ive has led the team to rethink the design and usability of company's mobile OS, and if leaked photos are anything to go by, it's clear Apple are moving towards a 'flatter' interface, favoured by platforms such as Windows Phone. Since its release alongside the original iPhone in 2007, users have complained that the company's mobile OS is 'stale'. Given the advent of Windows Phone 8 and Android 4.2 'Jelly Bean', Apple's 5x4 grid of app icons have, for many users, become unfit for purpose.

With Live Tiles on Windows Phone and widgets on Android, a simple grid of icons provides far less interactivity than on rival platforms, leading many to abandon their iPhones in favour of cheaper devices with larger screens, faster processors and more advanced operating systems. It has been reported iOS 7 will include a flatter, cleaner design, as well as the possibility of native Flickr and Vimeo integration.

The demand is clearly there, given that tickets for WWDC 2013 sold out in 1 minute 40 seconds, netting the company $89,000/second in ticket sales; almost 160x their normal revenue speed through hardware and content sales. Initially there were reports that the company were having difficulties in getting the software ready for the advent, however more recent reports, and the suggestions on the WWDC tickets themselves, show that this shouldn't be an issue.

OS X 10.9

Also expected at WWDC 2013 is the next major iteration of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X 10.9. As with the 2012 release of OS X Mountain Lion, developers were expecting previews beginning around February ahead of a late summer release, however no such announcement has been made. 

Rumours surrounding OS X 10.9 have been far more sparse than those surrounding iOS 7, although it has been reported by MacRumors that the next update to OS X will include Siri and Maps integration, as well as enhancements to Finder and Safari, Multiple Monitor Support and updated multitasking functionality. Job postings up on the Apple site additionally show that the company is interested in integrating the technology further into its products.

Given the reported issues the company was having in getting iOS 7 ready on time, Apple had also reportedly been pulling in OS X engineers in order to assist the process. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple corroborated this with a simple "Yep." It's unclear whether this has made any difference to the features available to show off at WWDC, though.

MacBook Updates

It's been reported Apple's notebooks are likely to receive a refresh at Monday's WWDC. After Intel announced its 4th generation of 'Core' processors on Tuesday, it seems increasingly likely that the Mac lineup will be taking them on reasonably soon. 

Notebooks appear to be the likely candidates for an update, becoming the main hardware upgrade seen at the conference. 9to5Mac reported on Monday that new model numbers had leaked, hinting at notebook updates in the immediate future. 

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a reliable track record over the past few years, has suggested that internal updates with the inclusion of Haswell chips may not be the extent we'll see at WWDC, with the possibility of a slimmer 13" Retina MacBook Pro, MacRumors reports:

We expect the 13" Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also we think the camera spec will be upgraded from 720p HD to full HD. This will improve FaceTime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.

With regards to the MacBook Air, the analyst believes that dual built-in microphones will be introduced, as seen on the Retina MacBook Pro last year:

We forecast that this year's new MacBook Air model ail also have dual built-in microphones as a result of positive feedback on this feature in Retina MacBook Pro, which delivers clear voice quality on FaceTime and VoIP service.


Apple creating a iTunes-based streaming service has long been in the rumour mill. Competing with online radio services like Pandora and streaming packages like Google Play Music All-Access and Spotify, 'iRadio' would tap into the company's iAd service to generate revenue, whilst keeping the service free for users. This business model would prove highly attractive for users and advertisers, and has the potential to knock existing streaming services off the top spot.

Back in April it was reported that Apple were closing deals with major music labels in order to release a service informally dubbed 'iRadio'. Recently the company were alleged to have signed a deal with Warner Music in order to unveil the service at WWDC, the New York Times reported earlier this week.

Apple aren't known for unveiling products before they're happy with them ("what about Maps?"...I hear you say), so we can't be entirely sure if 'iRadio' will make an appearance at the conference. As with the rumoured iWatch, Apple would likely hold a dedicated press event for an entirely new product.

WWDC Coverage

It is unclear yet whether Apple intends to offer a live stream of the event, as it has done in previous years, however Neowin will cover all major releases from the event on Monday. Again, WWDC 2013 kicks off at 10:00 AM PDT (13:00 PM EDT, 18:00 PM GMT).

Images via TheTechBlock, Apple

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Apple's last chance to make their phones at least interesting, let's see if they can do it without sending people driving into lakes this time.

I was hoping to see OS X 10.9 return focus to the desktop and keep iOS features on iOS. I don't need Siri on my computer. So I hope those rumors aren't true. I'm eagerly waiting to see what they did with iOS 7 and the new hardware they've been working on seeing that my MacBook Pro is aging.

Depending on what's revealed Monday, I'll either purchase another Mac or I'll be looking at the Sony Vaio Duo 13 - the only computer that has piqued my interest thus far.

I am looking forward to seeing iOS 7 & the Mac refresh.

Most importantly I am looking forward to seeing if 10.9 can drag OS X from being a dated cluttered mess to something more modern and useful. I've enjoyed using 10.8 but Windows 8 looks like something from the distant future in comparison. Apple need to convince an awful lot of people that they can offer viable alternative Operating System.

Steve121178 said,
OS X from being a dated cluttered mess to something more modern and useful. I've enjoyed using 10.8 but Windows 8 looks like something from the distant future in comparison.

In what way do you feel OS X is a "dated cluttered mess" ? I'm having trouble understanding how "Windows 8 looks like something from the distant future in comparison". I mean, to each their opinion, I'd just like to understand where you're coming from...

I'm pretty much a Windows fanboi but even I think that's totally ridiculous dude. OS X is a great OS, it's just different. Personally, I don't use it, but my girlfriend does and I think it looks great... I just cba learning my way around it now.

Steve121178 said,
I am looking forward to seeing iOS 7 & the Mac refresh.

Most importantly I am looking forward to seeing if 10.9 can drag OS X from being a dated cluttered mess to something more modern and useful. I've enjoyed using 10.8 but Windows 8 looks like something from the distant future in comparison. Apple need to convince an awful lot of people that they can offer viable alternative Operating System.

Wow. The only bit of Windows 8 that looks remotely futuristic is the metro start screen, but that's basically just an app launcher. Behind that it's the same old windows, pretty much unchanged since Vista in appearance....

Pretty much the same stuff from WWDC 2011 and 2012 except the iCloud segment. The question is can we expect any surprise from this conference or not. Not the same old speech that TIM COOK gonna be iterate over and over again. It's why we make the best product in the world and yet within half a year the competitor find a way to outperform Apple Hardware performance and a much reasonable price.

Correction: 89,000 from ticket sales a second. They actually made 9 million from ticket sales, didn't they? I think it says that in the article you linked.

Probably not. Apple usually previews the upcoming iOS update at WWDC in summer, followed by an autumn event for the new iPhone, which is released a few days after the aforementioned iOS update.

It will be interesting to see how much Apple will be able to catch up and with the rest of the field and how much of the catch up will be presented as ground breaking and invented by Apple.

I look forward to this one and it sort of feels like this is make or break for Apple... they've got to show some good progress, and some good improvements to their core products otherwise I think a lot of long term faithful / fans are going to start getting disillusioned.

For me iOS7, Mac OSX 10.9 and (fingers crossed) an all new Mac Pro reveal are what I'm going to be waiting for.

Disillusioned, and do... what, exactly.

Not to say they should rest on their laurels, but I doubt Mac "faithfuls" are going to jump ship to Android / Windows any time soon.

Agreed! I have often presented extremely logical arguments with numerous and explicit examples of equivalent and superior technology in alternative devices to Apples offerings, but the Apple faithful are unwilling to concede even a millimetre. Its like a religious combatant in the face of incontestable scientific fact.

Edited by Iridium, Jun 10 2013, 3:58pm :

Let's hope Neowin doesn't go down or some of their writers are sleeping. I don't have time til follow both MS and WWDC at the same time ^^