WWDC rumours abound after Apple schedules conference

Ian Paul
30 March, 2009
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Apple announced June 8-12 as the dates for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference at San Francisco’s Moscone Center West. With the date confirmed, we turn towards the rumour mill surrounding what becomes the most anticipated date for Apple watchers in 2009 now that Apple decided to bow out of Macworld Expo. Apple says this year’s WWDC will be all about the Mac OS X and the iPhone. But really, who knows what who or what will actually show up on stage? There are already piles of speculation and rumour out there, so let’s dive in!

Return of the king? Steve Jobs has been out of the public eye since he said he was taking time off for health reasons. At the time of his announcement, Jobs said he would be back in late June, but Apple loves surprises so who knows? There’s no doubt that a Jobs appearance at WWDC would invigorate the Apple-loving masses. However, Silicon Valley Insider’s Dan Frommer wonders if Jobs will use WWDC to announce his retirement instead. Jobs has apparently stayed out of the loop in planning WWDC ’09, or at least he hasn’t interacted with Frommer’s Apple contacts. It may also make sense for Jobs to ease his way out of Apple in stages since people identify him as the heart and soul of the company. In the end it’s all guesswork, but it’s worth considering as Apple looks to the future.

QuickTime overhaul. QuickTime is reportedly getting an under-the-hood overhaul, but its look may also change. Apple Insider supplied this mock up, which shows a new QuickTime with “virtual playback controls,” presumably to maximise the screen space. Instead of the regular QuickTime window, the controls will appear as a clear glass panel when you mouse over the screen. This is similar to what happens in iTunes when you select full-screen mode.

Mac OS X: Snow Leopard. You may have also noticed from the QuickTime photo that the titlebar was a little darker than usual. That’s because Quicktime’s new look would be part of a Snow Leopard visual overhaul. When Apple first announced Snow Leopard, it was billed as an under-the-hood upgrade to maximise Intel processors and improve overall performance. At the time, there were no announcements about a new look and feel.

However, rumours have been circulating recently that Apple has been working on a new user interface all along. Code-named “marble,” some are describing the visual upgrade as significant. The major change is that OS X may shed its platinum look for a darker chrome visual. Other user interface updates include iTunes-style scrollbars and menu bars with a darker background and lighter text.

The UI updates first started leaking through developers who got their hands on Snow Leopard test builds. Then it was reported that Apple stripped any new visuals out of the latest Snow Leopard test build to halt further leaks. Some are expecting Apple to unveil Snow Leopard at WWDC, and the new OS may even be available for sale this summer.

iPhone OS 3.0. There is of course the rumour that new hardware could be announced at WWDC, but speculation around this has dropped off recently. Instead many expect Apple to launch its push notification service announced earlier this month.

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