Apple Devs Play WWDC Lottery

Apple on Tuesday announced that its 26th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in San Francisco June 8-12.

The event will include more than 100 technical sessions on developing, deploying and integrating the latest iOS and OS X technologies.

Attendees will get access to the latest innovations, features and capabilities of the OSes, as well as best practices for enhancing an app’s functionality, performance, quality and design.

In hands-on labs with more than 1,000 Apple engineers, devs can learn how to integrate new technologies and fine-tune their apps.

The Apple Design Awards ceremony will be a highlight of the conference.

Devs can apply for US$1,600 event tickets at the WWDC website through 10 a.m. PT this Friday.

As in the past, Apple will issue tickets through random selection; the lucky devs will be informed by 5 p.m. PT on April 20.

Apple is offering up to 350 WWDC scholarships, under which students and members of certain STEM organizations worldwide can get free tickets.

Everything Old Is New Again

The WWDC’s tagline is “The Epicenter of Change,” but it remains to be seen whether the conference will live up to that claim.

“The next versions [of Apple OSes] are always announced at WWDC, so … I’d absolutely expect to see iOS 9 and the next version of OS X,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Rumors and Whispers

Reports that Apple will unveil its Beats Music-based subscription service have been making the rounds.

That unveiling “seems extremely likely, given the new music app that [Monday] debuted in the beta of iOS 8.4, which seems designed to incorporate that service when it launches,” Dawson told TechNewsWorld.

Apple released the beta less than a week after the public release of iOS 8.3. The music app has a new design that makes exploring users’ music collections easier, and makes it simpler to discover music on iTunes Radio. Other new features include a new global search option and the ability to discover what’s next in a music playlist queue.

Rumor also has it that a new Web TV service might be unveiled for Apple TV.

This “might well debut at WWDC too, but there’s a lot of work still to be done on it,” Dawson remarked.

Music and TV “constitute two of [Apple’s] biggest future growth opportunities,” noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“One of the biggest questions will be what, if any, announcements are made around Apple TV,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Competitors have been moving much more quickly in TV technologies and services in the past year than Apple. Absent true blockbuster TV offerings or partnerships, Apple is on the edge of being left behind.”

Apple also might make an announcement about CarPlay, which is expected to show up in 40 car models this year.

Then there’s HomeKit — the home automation system the company rolled out in iOS 8.

“I’d expect HomeKit to get some time, since not much has happened publicly since it was announced at last year’s WWDC,” Dawson suggested. “I feel like Apple has been building up to this for some time and may be ready to finally make a splash.”

What About the Apple Watch?

The company said little about the Apple Watch, despite the healthy demand reported since preordering began last week.

There are expectations that Apple will release an SDK for the Watch OS, but “when or how Apple will widely deliver it is an open question,” said King. “I expect developers would prefer something more substantial.”

Apple could announce that it will let devs create native apps for the Apple Watch rather than limiting them to making companion apps to the iPhone, Dawson speculated.

“It promised to do that later,” he said, so WWDC “seems an obvious time to announce that change and what it implies.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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