A new Apple iPhone 5S, tweaks to the existing line of MacBook computers, an upgraded desktop operating system, and a new, free, streaming radio service call iRadio are all among the rumored goodies that may emerge at Apple’s highly anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference that kicks off Monday in San Francisco.
For the Apple-obsessed crowd who follow the company’s minutia – and there are millions in that cult – the WWDC is an event that spawns guessing games for weeks beforehand.
But if you’re expecting an Apple television set, don’t get your hopes up. What is more likely is the release early next year of an iPhone 6 with a larger screen – perhaps six inches – that would allow Apple to compete with its chief rival, Samsung, and its Galaxy smartphone line.
A note put out last week by Citi Research, which follows consumer electronics, said they expect an iPhone 5S reveal on Monday with the new device coming to market in September, and a less expensive iPad Mini, priced at about $230 versus $329 for the current model, later this year.
iRadio – or perhaps just Apple Radio – is likely to be the most compelling news out of WWDC. As of this week, according to CNET, Apple has signed agreements with the three major music labels to provide content for a free music service that would be tied into iTunes. Sony, Universal and Warner Music are the big players here. Apple’s service would face off against competitors Spotify and Pandora. Google is working on a similar music service, partnering with YouTube.
iRadio would likely include features such as the ability to rewind a song from the middle and would have a simple click-on button that would give users a simple way to purchase a song through iTunes.
The time also seems right for refreshes of the Mac laptops, most probably the MacBook Pro models, which may incorporate a new computing processor from Intel call the Haswell chip. Another potential tweak is the inclusion in the new notebooks of an advanced WiFi chip, the 802.11ac, which will allow much faster Internet access once the new standard is widely rolled out by hardware manufacturers.
There’s also the possibility that in the traditional keynote speech, Apple CEO Tim Cook will preview the new desktop operating system, Mac OS X 10.9, the successsor to Mountin Lion. Possible animal this time: Lynx.
Late last month, the company went deep under the radar to reveal a tweaked, less expensive version of its hugely popular iPod touch.
The fifth-generation touch with 16 gigabytes of memory and a four-inch Retina display screen sells for $229, which makes it $70 less expensive than the 32-gig version that came out last fall.
The new model is slimmer than existing versions of the touch, but customers will give up the rear-facing camera built into other touches to achieve a trimmer profile and a weight of only 3 ounces.
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