This is that time of the year. When Apple techies across the globe flock together at San Francisco to attend a 5-day long geek fair dubbed WWDC.  According to Apple’s WWDC webpage – “The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) showcases the latest innovations and the newest technologies in iOS and Mac OS X.”

In plain, simple language, it’s a tech conference. But why has it become a dinner table discussion for a commoner from Dadar? Why National televisions and newspapers are covering the event like they did for the Oscars? Why at NASDAQ Apple share points will be bullish after the event?  Well the way I see it, what everyone is interested in is of course, the now legendary, keynote speech. This will kick off  on the 6th of June 2011, at the Moscone Center.

The keynote speech, traditionally hosted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, has come to the limelight of the mainline media in its 2006 edition, when Mac Pro was announced with improvements for OS X in its next iteration ‘Leopard’. Since then, every year Apple has announced ‘one big thing’ in every edition of WWDC. Last year it was iPhone 4, and this year is no exception. The event reportedly sold out within 10 hours of the 5,000 tickets being placed on sale on March 28th, 2011. And a lot of people are expecting the launch of iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S at WWDC. But hold on to that thought, because even though the rumor mill is working at full throttle, I doubt that the next-gen iPhone will be launched at WWDC, but you never know with Apple.

So what Apple goodies can we expect this year? Here are my predictions.

The Line-Up
So far Apple has neither confirmed nor denied that Steve Jobs will deliver the keynote speech. The only time Jobs skipped WWDC was in 2009 due to health issues. So my guess is he will be there. A lot of tech journals are reporting that Apple has started inviting tech reporters from UK, Australia and from other Apple dominated territories. It happens only when Apple launches ‘something big’.

Anyway, with or without Steve we would see Phil Schiller – SVP Worldwide Product Marketing, Scott Forstall – SVP iOS and Craig Federighi – VP Engineering Mac OS X, on the podium.

The Big Announcement
Unlike last year, this year won’t see any hardware releases. This year’s WWDC is all about software.  Look at the invite, an Apple logo and inside are the app icons, and you’ll know why I am saying that.  My assumptions are that Mac OS X Lion will be officially released along with the announcement of iOS 5 and yes, I still doubt that the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S) will be a topic of discussion.

Mac OS X Lion
We’ve already seen a sneak-peek of Mac’s new iteration at the Apple Special Event last October. There, Steve Jobs while giving the preview announced that Lion would be available in Summer 2011. So it’s a definite and probably will be made available for downloaded via Apple’s Mac App Store.

The king of the software jungle?

The king of the software jungle?

iOS 5
We haven’t seen any preview, so in my understanding WWDC is the right platform to announce it. What can we expect from iOS 5? Well, I think it will showcase some Mac OS X like features, maybe a new architecture, maybe a more robust Game Center or perhaps all of the above plus more.  Whatever the case, iOS 5 should debut at WWDC this year.

One More Thing
If it’s ‘Stevenote’ you should expect to hear his trademark ‘one more thing’ announcement. This year, and I’m just assuming again, it could be iCloud.

In case you’re wondering what iCloud is?
This is Apple’s streaming music service that might well represent the future of recorded music. Rumor suggests that armed with licenses from the music labels and publishers, Apple will be able to scan their customers’ digital music libraries in iTunes and quickly mirror their collections on its own servers. If the sound quality of a particular song on a user’s hard drive isn’t good enough, Apple will be able to replace it with a higher-quality version. Users of the service will then be able to stream, whenever they want, their songs and albums directly to Macs, iPhones, iPads, and perhaps someday even into their cars.

So these are my predictions for this year’s WWDC. Like I said, I know you’re all eagerly waiting to know about the next gen handset and like I said, I could be completely wrong, because knowing Apple, it’s quite possible they could just give us a preview of iPhone 5/4S. But for now, expect to see two major OS releases next week presented hopefully by Jobs himself.

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