On the eve of the 2011 World Wide Developers Conference, magic is in the air. The Apple rumor mill has been churning, and Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud are all confirmed topics of discussion for tomorrow’s keynote. Steve Jobs himself will be presenting, and the industry eagerly awaits to see how Apple will revolutionize the market.

The iDB team has prepared a Q&A-style roundtable discussion with each of our opinions on what we expect from the WWDC keynote tomorrow. Read each of our thoughts and comments after the break!

 

Sebastien

Like I said in “my predictions for the iPhone in 2011” at the beginning of the year, 2011 is the year of the iOS. Like I predicted, and like one of our tipsters informed us recently, I believe that iOS 5 will take a stab at the jailbreak community and give developers the ability to develop apps that previously couldn’t be done. Apple won’t call these apps “tweaks,” but they will call them “widgets.” I think there is no doubt at this point that iOS 5 is going to blow our mind, and this is the first year since the iPhone came out that I’m actually excited to see what new features and capabilities iOS is going to bring to the table.

Cody

iOS 5 will be the biggest iPhone software update since the original iPhone was launched back in 2007. I think we’ll see an updated notification system, and it will be as good (if not better) than the popular concept videos we’ve seen floating around.

We’ll also see some interesting things with Apple’s Nuance partnership. Apple’s philosophy has always been “it just works,” so they wouldn’t even think about introducing a voice recognition feature unless it was dead-on accurate. I can’t imagine Steve Jobs on stage demonstrating new voice command features and them not working. That being said, I think we will see deeper voice command integration in iOS 5 than any other smartphone platform in existence.

Will all of the laws coming into play concerning use of cell phones while driving, advanced iPhone voice control would be a huge win for Apple, not to mention the appeal it would have to non-tech savvy users looking to join the smartphone realm.

I think we’ll see social networking services deeply integrated in iOS 5 to the point where users login to their accounts when initially setting up iOS 5. This will be for status update widgets and the ability to upload and share photos with a single tap.

Alex

iOS 5 is going to be the biggest advancement Apple has made in mobile software since iOS 4. That sounds ridiculous to say, but it’s not really that silly if you think about it. There wasn’t even the term “iOS” until 4.0 was unveiled, and the entire OS was fundamentally different- cosmetically, internally, and so on.

I think that Apple will make a huge play towards the social and cloud space in iOS 5. We’ve already heard that there will be Twitter integration, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook was also integrated at a system level for the user to access. Apple could also introduce its own (what I believe will be photo-based) social network that integrates with its native apps.

As far as the cloud goes, iCloud should have a huge imprint on iOS 5. I’m not exactly sure what that will look like, though.

Jeff

I think that iOS 5 will be much more revolutionary than the next iPhone – whether it be the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5. iOS 5 will bring revamped notifications, integrated cloud syncing, integrated twitter features, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Peter Hajas’ hiring is evidence that Apple is taking itself more seriously with iOS 5. They are going to give the users what they’ve only been able to previously get by means of jailbreaking. Expect iOS 5 to be the most exciting version of iOS thus far.

Killian

I think iOS 5 will be much the same as the existing operating system that we all know and love, but with some significant changes that will revamp outdated features and introduce new ones. As recent speculation has suggested, I believe we will see a completely new approach to the notification system, the introduction of home screen widgets, and possibly a slight refresh to the UI.

I believe there will be new iCloud features that replace the existing MobileMe ones, and that there will be Twitter & Facebook integration for photo uploading — though I’m skeptical we’ll see any other social networking features. I think we will see Wi-Fi syncing for certain content, but with possible size restrictions similar to that of the 20MB cap on app downloads over 3G.

Oliver

We seem to have this discussion every time a major new release of iOS is on the cards, but I’m very much hopeful that we are in for an overhaul of the way iOS handles notifications this time around. Both Android and Windows Phone 7 handle the process of passing information to the user in a much more organic way than Apple’s offering. I’m quietly hopeful Apple won’t just go for the slide-down drawer option, but rather bring their own design flair to the subject.

Other than notifications, it’s certainly becoming clear Apple are integrating social media and particularly Twitter into the new operating system if reports from both John Gruber and Robert Scoble are to be believed. Is it a coincidence Twitter has just launched its own photo service? Probably not.

Don’t forget the usual 500 new APIs too.

Sebastien

I’m not the right person to ask about iCloud because I couldn’t care less about the service. I can’t see iCloud being more than a MobileMe clone with streaming capabilities, and if it is indeed “just that,” I won’t be very much excited about it. Now if iCloud included some kind of over the air syncing of the content on my iPhone and OTA update of the firmware, I’d be very happy with that.

Cody

iCloud is going to be big – it’s not just an updated iSync. I think iCloud will give you the ability to share media seamlessly with your desktop, especially Apple’s new OS X Lion. Users won’t have to spend hours uploading files, the service will simply mirror the recognizable music from the desktop to the cloud to be accessible by mobile devices. The service will even mirror movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes, once again — no more lengthy uploads.The service will be free at first to entice users to try it out. They don’t want another MobileMe disaster.

Alex

When Napster went public, the industry got turned upside down. I believe the same will happen with iCloud. Apple doesn’t like to play second to anyone, and they’ve been patiently waiting and learning from Amazon’s and Google’s failures in this area. iCloud is going to get cloud-based content and syncing right. If it doesn’t initially, it will eventually. And the industry will again be playing catch-up for years to come.

I expect iCloud to be focused on media (music, movies, books, etc.), but I wouldn’t be surprised if iDisk was merged into iCloud’s offerings.

Also, I think iCloud will be a lot cheaper than everyone expects.

Jeff

iCloud will finally take away the annoying issue of having to sync your iPhone every time you want to add new music, or anything else for that matter. I think iCloud’s goal is to remove the need for syncing altogether. Initially, it might not be that robust, but over time I think that it will be the standard way to ensure sure you have all of your files while on the go.

Killian

I’m incredibly optimistic about iCloud and I think we may be in for a surprise. I believe the service will offer significantly more than speculation would have us believe. In addition to taking over the existing services offered by MobileMe, I think we will also receive cloud-based music storage and content streaming, and an online backup service for both iOS and Mac OS X devices.

Oliver

Ahh, the fabled iCloud. We seem to have been talking about this for so long that it’s morphed from a MobileMe replacement, to a music locker, and back again so many times that we honestly don’t know what it’s going to turn out to be. Yes, I think Apple will launch a service similar to that of Amazon and Google with iTunes joining the cloud but I’m sure it’ll be so much more. MobileMe never really got that much traction, specially amongst the general populous.

People don’t want to pay for what amounts to email (that’s not as good as Gmail) and calendar/contacts syncing. The less said about iDisk the better, and hopefully Apple has found a way to make that 20GB of storage useful – it’s just so slow at the moment that it’s a chore to use. Bring Dropbox-like syncing and backup to OS X (Lion?) and iOS (similar to how Android saves your settings knows which apps you’ve installed for easy OTA restores) using that storage and the whole thing begins to get a bit more interesting. If iCloud is just a place to keep your music online, I’ll be very disappointed.

iPhone?

Sebastien

Tough question. Everything seems to lead to the conclusion that there will not be an iPhone announcement. But because 2011 is all about iOS 5 doesn’t mean that there can’t be an iPhone announcement, such as an “iPhone 4S” – a slightly better iPhone 4. If that was the case, iOS 5 would still be the star of the show. I believe that if Apple doesn’t unveil a new iPhone on Monday, they will sometimes in September during the music event, where they usually unveil the iPod touch.

Announcing the iPhone in September would actually make sense because every time they announce a new iPhone, they pretty much give away all the info about what the next iPod touch will be like. If they announce both at the same time, the surprise effect will be greater.

In short, a new iPhone will be unveiled either on Monday or in September.

Cody

I believe we’ll see a new iPhone announcement on Monday. While it’s probably more hopeful than anything, there are a couple of reasons why I can’t shake the feeling. Apple has watched some serious competition enter the smartphone market over the last several months. They don’t dominate in the smartphone arena like they do the tablet arena and I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with Steve Jobs. I don’t see him waiting until the fall to release a new smartphone.

Imagine all the iPhone customers who have been drooling over 4G Android devices with dual core processors that Apple could potentially lose if they don’t give users any indication that an updated iPhone is on the way. They already have dual core technology experience from the iPad 2 and know that they can still squeeze 10+ hours of battery life out of it. Why wouldn’t they give users a 4S model at the very least this summer? I realize there is a lot of evidence stacked against this theory, but after last year’s debacle, why wouldn’t Steve Jobs and company take measures to ensure this one was kept a secret?

I believe the white iPhone 4 (or just the iPhone 4 in general) sold more units because of all the rumors that Apple wouldn’t be unveiling a new smartphone this summer. It won’t be LTE, but HSPA+ technology could give Apple the right to call the iPhone a 4G device like everyone else is doing.

Alex

This one is so tough. I want to say that Jobs will come back on stage at the end of the keynote with his infamous “One More Thing…” and shock us all with an iPhone 4S, but the logical side of me doubts that highly.

Apple just isn’t in the position to release a new iPhone tomorrow. There have been no signs of an announcement, and if it does happen, it will be Apple’s greatest example of media diversion to date.

I’ll be the first to pre-order a new iPhone if it does happen, but it’s probably not going to happen. I expect an iPhone-centric media event from Apple this fall.

Jeff

Yes. It’s the same pattern we’ve seen since who knows when. Apple will announce the iPhone 4S (one more thing, perhaps), which will basically redesign the iPhone 4, and add additional features like improved camera, antenna, etc. It will be more of an incremental upgrade like the 3GS was. The next iPhone will be nice, but iOS 5 will definitely steal the show.

Killian

No. With my current iPhone contract ending imminently, I’d love to see a new iPhone unveiled at WWDC, but you can’t ignore the vast amount of recent speculation that claims the fifth-generation device won’t launch until September.

Oliver

In a word: no. The recent release of the white iPhone 4 and relatively recent Verizon release of Apple’s handset all but confirm the company will not be launching a new just yet. Buyers of either new handset won’t upgrade so quickly, so why reduce the potential sales of a new piece of hardware?

Any more thoughts?

Sebastien

I think Apple owes a lot to the jailbreak community, and I wish someone at Apple would at least acknowledge that. I’m not expecting Steve Jobs to get on stage and thank the Dev Team, but it would be the right thing to do to have an Apple executive mention that the jailbreak community has been an inspiration and pushed the boundaries of what iOS could do. This will definitely not happen on Monday, and will probably never happen at all.

Cody

We’ll see a relationship between iOS 5 and OS X Lion like we’ve never seen before between a smartphone and desktop. While I can’t really back that up with evidence, I think that iCloud and other features could make sharing information and media between the 2 devices more seamless than an unaltered piece of fabric (I know, that was a bad joke). I’m hoping Apple’s one more thing is a MacBook air and/or Apple TV refresh.

Alex

I think that there will be more to tomorrow’s keynote than Apple has let on. In the WWDC press release, Apple announced that Jobs would unveil iCloud, and that’s something that has never been done in Apple’s history. In a press release, the most secretive company on earth actually stated the certified name of an unreleased product. Not only that, but Apple also called iCloud its “cloud services offering.”

iCloud will be much bigger than we all expect. Apple will lap its competition with iOS 5 and iCloud. I also believe that Mac OS X Lion will leave Microsoft and the upcoming “Windows 8” shaking in its boots.

Jeff

iCloud is going to make both Google Music and Amazon’s Cloud solutions look amateurish, and their decision to proceed without the label’s blessings, foolish. Just wait and see.

Killian

Unfortunately I think iPhone 3GS users will be disappointed with a lack of iOS 5 support on their devices. And if it is supported, it will be a watered down version like iOS 4 has been on the iPhone 3G.

Oliver

I’m possibly more excited by the prospect of a new iOS with improved notifications and possibly a few new user interface changes than I would be by new hardware. While shiny new hardware is all well and good, after a while the only thing that really matters is the software. It’s what we interact with day in, day out and it’s what can make the difference between a good smartphone and a great one.

Android has taken great strides in the last couple of years, and Apple is in danger of losing that lead they worked so hard to create.
Here’s hoping the Cupertino outfit can get back on form with iOS 5 and iCloud integration.

If you’d like to ask us any more questions or continue to hear our opinions, feel free to follow the iDB team on Twitter.

Now that you’ve read our thoughts, we’d love to hear yours! What do you expect from tomorrow’s keynote?

[image via Kiel]

  • Will

    I enjoyed ready this . Good article … There’s not much to say … You guys covered my predictions … Will just wait patiently and see what happens tomorrow ! I’m excited !

    • We’re all excited, Will. Here’s hoping for an iOS 5 beta tomorrow!

  • Ken

    What time does this kickoff tomorrow on the East coast and will there be any live feeds to view online??

    • David

      Yeah I’m sure the apple website does a live feed but only if your using osx or iOS so

    • 11 am east coast

  • Ricardodelsidney

    I did not read a lot about the possible comparison between iCloud and Dropbox. I think that will be a BIG thing. Apple will have a sweet API for it, too.

  • Potamus

    One more thing… You guys forgot to mention the rumour about a new time capsule and airport express and their capability to function as a synch hub. I think this would be pretty interestig to see…

  • bob-o

    I agree with Sebastien 100% on iCloud. I have limited access to the internet at home, so this doesn’t excite me in the least. Nor does the rumored iPhone Nano, because of it’s proposed OTA OS.