May 31, 2012 09:53 AM EDT
Apple outlined the schedule for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Tuesday, May 29, confirming that it will kick of the annual meeting as usual, with a keynote address. The Cupertino, California-based the giant also released a free iOS app, designed to allow attendees to track the conference events and plan their schedule accordingly.
Apple did not mention who would lead the keynote address, but Tim Cook seems as the most likely candidate, as the company typically relies on its CEO for the job. At last year's WWDC, Apple late CEO Steve Jobs led the keynote, marking his second-to-last public appearance. This year's annual conference will be the first WWDC without Steve Jobs, who died last October.
According to Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil, current Apple CEO Tim Cook is the most likely candidate for the 2012 WWDC keynote. "He's not a geek, but when he needs one, he can bring one on stage," said Gottheil, as cited by Computer World. The annual conference is a major event for Apple, worthy of bringing its CEO on stage, added the analyst. "That's worked for them well in the past, and I don't see them changing it."
Focus on iOS and OS X
The conference schedule is available only to those who managed to get tickets, sold in April for $1,599. While many hoped to see the next-generation iPhone launch at WWDC, this year's conference will focus on Apple's two operating systems, iOS and OS X. According to Gottheil, iOS 6, the OS that will power the next-generation iPhone, will be the star of the show, along with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, the desktop OS expected to ship later this summer.
"They'll maintain that pace," said Gottheil, as cited by Computer World. Apple unveiled iOS 5 to developers at last year's WWDC, and launched the iPhone 4S in October 2011, running the operating system. "It's still a young enough OS that it shouldn't be a terribly great challenge for them to focus on new features the iPhone needs."
As Computer World points out, a top priority on Gottheil's iOS 6 wish list is an application programming interface - API - for Siri, Apple's sassy voice-operated, talking assistant, currently exclusive to the iPhone 4S. One or more APIs would allow third-party developers to use Siri with their own apps. "They may have over promoted Siri, but I don't see that hurt them," said the analyst. Though Siri launched seven months ago, it is still officially in beta.
Meanwhile, Apple's WWDC agenda will also include sessions dedicated to Mountain Lion, the successor to last year's OS X 10.7. While the company said it will release Mountain Lion in "late summer," some reports earlier this month suggested a sooner debut, perhaps at the WWDC. On the other hand, Apple has last issued a build of the OS X 10.8 developer preview on April 18, making such projections seem unlikely.
Apple could, however, use this year's WWDC to announce more features in Mountain Lion, as well as its price and release date, as it did last year with its predecessor. If Apple maintains its usual routine and practice, the keynote will be accessible only to attendees and a small part of the media, rather than broadcast to the public.
Tickets for the conference sold out in record time last month - 5,000 tickets sold in less than two hours. This year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will run through June 11 - 15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The keynote address is scheduled to kick off the conference at 10 a.m. PT on Monday, June 11.
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