Apple has confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs will unveil Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud, the company’s upcoming cloud services offering, at the opening keynote of the WorldWide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday 6 June, it has been officially announced.
The keynote will begin at 1000 local time (1800BST) with Jobs and a team of Apple executives addressing WWDC, lifting the lid on Lion, the eighth major release of OS X, iOS 5 and iCloud, the company said in a press release.
WWDC will feature more than 100 technical sessions aimed at developers presented by Apple engineers. Developers are welcome to bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers. More details can be found on the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 website.
Though Apple’s official announcement provided few other details, one thing we’re fairly certain about is that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will be primarily delivered through the Mac App Store. However, anyone without access to the Mac App Store will still have the option to upgrade using an optical disc.
Apple has previously stated that Lion would be much more iOS-like than previous versions of Mac OS and as such we expect to see more advanced multi-touch gestures; the ability for applications to auto-save work and auto-resume when relaunched; applications will be able to operate in full-screen mode; a feature called Launchpad with functionality similar to an iPad’s home screen; and Mission Control, which combines elements of Exposé, Dashboard and Spaces.
As for iOS 5, we’re pretty sure that there won’t be a new iPhone alongside it – or if there is it is likely to be an incremental upgrade of the iPhone 4 rather than a major update. It was thought that iOS 5 would be delayed until autumn, but we’re expecting to see support for the iPhone 3GS dropped. Widgets and a new notifications system are expected, though rumours of a new mapping platform look doubtful.
iCloud is expected to be a cloud music service similar to that offered by Amazon and Google. As such, it isn’t immediately clear if the service will be available in the UK – Amazon’s and Google’s aren’t yet – but Apple is thought to have struck deals with the four major record labels, something that Amazon and Google have as yet neglected to do.
In addition to the tantalizing iCloud, which many have speculated will feature a cloud-music component to compete with recent offerings from Amazon and Google, the WWDC keynote will also focus on two major milestones: Mac OS X Lion, which we first saw previewed back in October and iOS 5, which has so far been kept tightly under wraps, but which many hope will bring much-needed improvements like better notifications and other subtler changes to the mobile operating system.
Apple has been buying up large amounts of storage space and building data centres in recent months, suggesting that it was planning some kind of cloud-based music and/or video service for iTunes customers. It’ll be intriguing to see exactly how the service will work when it is announced next week.