Apple Matters’ WWDC ’08 Rumor Roundup
While we, as a rule, do not take much stock (or any at all) in the myriad rumors floating around in the Mac community throughout the year, we like to let our hair down every once in a while, specially in the days preceding a Jobsian keynote, and indulge in a little speculation. What follows is a summative overview of the three major rumors regarding WWDC floating around the Mac web in recent times.
iPhone 3G: This is being considered almost a given by pretty much every writer and analyst on every publication across the interwebs. Over at Infinite Loop, Chris Foresman has penned down a series of articles, shedding light on iPhone rumors of all shapes and sizes.
If the word on the street is to be believed, a 3G version of the iPhone is being launched on Monday, as surely as night follows day and Steve Jobs wears blue denims and mock turtlenecks. Apparently, it will have twice the memory, a larger screen, GPS, video conferencing and recording and wireless synching, while simultaneously being cheaper and having better battery life.
There is also supposedly going to be a second version of the iPhone, a thinner, smaller, even cheaper version with a smaller screen—iPhone lite, perhaps? Apple will also launch the iPhone software v2.0 along with the App Store.
Whoa! They call them rumors, we call them pipe dreams. It’s a near certainty that even if Apple does announce the iPhone on June 9th, it will probably only have half of the features listed above, along with a couple of new ones that no one had any clue about. Whatever happens though, it’s clear that big changes are in store for the iPhone and we can hardly wait to lay our hands on the next big thing from Cupertino.
.Mac revamp: It all started with Todd Ditchendorf’s seemingly offhand tweet about there being “something big” in store for .Mac and Coding Robots’ discovery that a potential .Mac rebranding might be on the cards in the near future. The story was then picked up by TUAW, which got John Gruber’s attention and things snowballed from there onwards.
As of today, the Mac rumor web is intent on believing that a complete revamp of .Mac is going to be announced onstage by Steve Jobs during WWDC ’08. The service will be rebranded to “MobileMe” or “Mobile Me” and all .Mac users will be “upgraded” to ‘@me.com’ addresses. Furthermore, the new service will offer push IMAP email and other features currently offered by Microsoft Exchange Server.
Assuming that this turns out to be true, and it does seem to be very likely given the uncovered evidence so far and the general dissatisfaction that the .Mac service inspires among even the most diehard of Mac enthusiasts, I do have one major complaint against it. An email address that ends in ‘@mac.com’ is much cooler than one that ends is ‘@me.com’. I’m all for new features but if my opinion mattered, the service would retain its fancy name.
OS X 10.6: It may come as a surprise to some but Apple still makes Macs, fellas, and WWDC has historically been the company’s venue of choice to dole out hints about the next major release of Mac OS X, their desktop operating system that powers those Macs. Our beloved Chris Howard returned from his self-imposed exile just to remind us of its existence.
TUAW broke the news about the impending debut of the next version of Mac OS X during WWDC ’08 and Ars Technica brought us word about its code name being Snow Leopard, thus furthering Apple’s trend of christening each major OS X release with inspiration from a member of the cat family.
According to rumors, this release is just going to be a bunch of bug fixes and all-round stability and security improvements for each and every component of the OS. Leopard is already a feature-packed, mature operating system and Snow Leopard will seek to make it run like a well oiled machine, perfect in every regard, which might explain the similar names. Supposedly, it will also drop support for Carbon apps and the PowerPC architecture, making OS X 10.6 a "pure Coca", Intel only operating system and giving Apple the opportunity to clean up the code-base.
Those of you who’ve been around for the past decade or are familiar with Apple’s history can immediately recognize the precedent Apple set for such a release with the launch of Mac OS X v10.1 “Puma” in September 2001. Much like Snow Leopard is rumored to be, Puma was a bug-fix release which added no major features to Mac OS X v10.0 and was a free upgrade for all existing users of the latter. It is being hoped that, if indeed Snow Leopard shares characteristics of Puma in the features department, it might as well maintain the similarity with regards to pricing too.
I, however, don’t see that happening. Macworld editor Dan Frakes expressed his disbelief about the possibility of Apple releasing an OS X update with no major new features to speak of in this day and age and I have to say that I tend to agree with him. As much as I would like to see such a release, which fine tunes Leopard and irons out any and all issues, I don’t think it’s on the cards. However, Apple has a knack for breaking the rules and doing uncharacteristic stuff, so the possibility of it happening is just as much as that of its not.
So there you have it, a concise summation of all the rumors swirling around the Mac web currently, serving as fodder for the thousands of Mac users and Apple watchers to obsess and fantasize over, while they impatiently wait for Steve Jobs to take the stage on 10:00 a.m. this coming Monday, in the Moscone West, San Francisco.
My only wish now is that no one spoils what promises to be a very exciting WWDC keynote by uncovering conclusive evidence about some major impending announcement and stealing Steve Jobs’s thunder. Much in the same way as the possibility of unearthing a spoiler before the release of the seventh book made Harry Potter fans cringe with terror, I’m trying to avoid being disappointed by the keynote by not knowing what’s coming our way beforehand.
It’s your opportunity now to let us know what you think.