We’ve been tracking the rumors and chatting with our sources about Monday’s WWDC 2011 keynote. While Apple always has a surprise up its sleeve, we believe that we’ve pinned down some of the core features and updates Apple will announce.
We have eight predictions for what you can expect Apple to announce based on the data we’ve collected. While some are obvious (music streaming via iCloud), others are certainly going to surprise many (universal remote computer access). And there will definitely be more announced than the list we’ve compiled.
Here are our seven predictions for what Apple will announce at WWDC 2011:
1. iOS Widgets and Revamped Notifications
Apple has already announced it will reveal iOS 5 at WWDC on Monday, but what exactly will the new version of iOS do?
One rumor we’re inclined to believe focuses on revamped notifications and widgets. For years, Android has had widgets, a feature many iOS users have desperately wanted. And Apple’s Push Notification system, while groundbreaking when it was introduced, has been in need of a makeover for some time.
We don’t know what the widgets will look like, but we’re excited by the possibility of truly customizing our iPhones and iPads with them.
2. Siri and Nuance
At the same time, Apple is rumored to be working on a licensing deal with Nuance, which provides some of the most powerful speech recognition technology on the market. Siri actually uses Nuance technology already.
With a deeper integration in iOS 5 though, Siri and Nuance could transform the iPhone from a mobile computer to a smart device with the capability to assisting you in almost any situation. Chat with your iPhone, and it comes back with the exact answer to your question or hooks you up with a list of sushi restaurants to visit on your next business trip.
It may not be long until you start talking to your phone like you would your best friend.
3. A Revamped AirPort/Time Capsule
When Apple stops shipping an existing product to its stores, creating a shortage, it’s often an indication that Apple is preparing to launch a new version of that product. And Apple’s wireless routers, the AirPort and the Time Capsule, have suddenly become a lot harder to find in stores.
There are plenty of reports that support this prediction. In fact, the big rumor is that the new AirPorts and Time Capsules will run iOS. This would make them far more compatible with Mac OS X and iOS devices, opening up the possibility of cloud-based services, wireless syncing and more.
Bottom line: For Apple’s iCloud system to work properly, it’s going to need new wireless routers.
4. Universal Remote Computer Access
We’ve heard from multiple sources that Apple has been working on a solution like the one I described for a while, but Cult of Mac has described the purported remote access system in greater detail.
The Time Capsule will be the key to the entire system. Files saved to the Home Folder are automatically backed up to the Time Capsule, which are then accessible on any Apple computer in the world. Any changes you make from a remote computer are saved via iCloud to your Time Capsule and your computer.
We expect more to come, though. We’ve heard about a system where the apps you purchased can be downloaded on demand from any remote Apple computer you’re using to access your account. Imagine being able to seamlessly pull up your home version of iWork at your work computer.
5. Music Stream via iCloud
So much has been said about Apple’s new music streaming service that this prediction is a no-brainer. Check out our comprehensive roundup of iCloud music streaming rumors if you want all the juicy details.
6. Wireless Syncing
As we’ve explained before, Apple wants a world without wires, and the company will likely take the next step toward removing those pesky things from your home.
Currently, users have to connect their iPads or iPhones to a desktop computer to activate them. For a company that is betting on a post-PC world, the necessity of wires for syncing and activation must be killing them.
That won’t be true after WWDC 2011, though. Our bet is that Apple will finally unveil wireless sync, making it possible to sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch without the 30-pin connector. Instead, it will do it over the air. You won’t even need a computer for it to happen — we bet the Time Capsule will be all you need.
7. Deep Twitter, Facebook & Social Integration
Last week, Twitter unveiled a photo-sharing service that essentially makes TwitPic and other photo-uploading services obsolete. While that may seem unrelated to Apple iOS on the surface, the rumor is that Twitter rolled this feature out now because of iOS.
Essentially, Apple is making it possible to share content with your friends directly through integrations with Facebook, Twitter and potentially other social media services. We’ve heard that the Twitter integration goes deeper than that, though.
We’re not quite sure what that means, but our bet is that it has something to do with widgets and instant access to the Twitter stream. We’d be surprised if Facebook didn’t get the same treatment in iOS.
8. The Convergence of Mac OS X and iOS
We’re not expecting many jaw-dropping announcements about Mac OS X Lion (except for the launch date — don’t be surprised if it drops in mid-June), but all of its updates will make it look and feel like iOS. Launchpad looks like the iOS home screen, touch-based gestures are getting the spotlight and Lion will even get autocorrect, an iOS feature users both hate and love at the same time. Macworld has a great rundown of what to expect.
Apple thinks iOS is the future, and it’s updating Lion to be more like it. Don’t be surprised if the two OSes eventually converge and all of Apple’s products run on its mobile OS someday.