Apple said this week that its Worldwide Developers Conference would focus on the next-generation operating systems powering its PC and mobile products. In a keynote speech, Jobs will highlight new features in Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5, and introduce a new service called iCloud.
Apple’s annual WWDC is a weeklong event for programmers from around the world, where they can network and attend software-development seminars. Despite its focus on software, the event has traditionally been a showcase for Apple to introduce new iPhone and Mac hardware.
This year, however, several tipsters claim that WWDC will be hardware-free, which means the software news should be plenty interesting. Here’s what you can expect from WWDC.
Mac OS X Lion
Apple already has a head start on this goal: Earlier this year it launched the Mac App Store for downloading third-party apps, and released a Mac version of the FaceTime videoconferencing app. The App Store and FaceTime originally debuted on Apple’s iPhone.
So how exactly will Lion be like iOS? One example is the ability for apps to resume — that is, to pick up where they left off when you closed them. (Say, for example, you’re playing a poker game and you quit it in the middle of the hand. Relaunch the game and you’ll be able to finish playing that hand.) That’s how apps already work in iOS.
Another new iOS-like feature appearing in OS X Lion is Launchpad (pictured above). It displays applications in a grid similar to the iPhone home screen, for quick and easy launching.
Applications will have full-screen support, similar to iOS, which means programmers will be able to code Mac apps that fill up the entire screen, temporarily ditching the windows metaphor.
Those were a few tidbits Apple previously revealed in Lion, and we should expect to hear about some significant changes that make Macs a bit more like an iPad. Think improvements to enhance battery life and a speedier bootup process.
We also wonder if Apple will offer an option to make the Mac App Store the only channel to download new apps like it does with the iOS App Store. Unlike iOS, Macs can install applications downloaded through websites and other external sources in addition to the Mac App Store — but offering an option to make the Mac App Store the only authorized source for applications could help secure less tech-savvy customers from downloading viruses.