San Francisco - Apple on Monday will spotlight next-generation software
for its coveted gadgets as it kicks off its annual gathering of
developers whose applications are vital to the company's success.
The internet buzzed with rumours about what the
notoriously secretive maker of iPads, iPhones, iPods, and Macintosh
computers will unveil at a keynote event marking the start of the
five-day Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Analysts did not expect Apple to unveil any new
devices, believing it will opt instead to focus on improvements to
operating software and opportunities for developers to make even better
"What keeps people allegiant to and excited about their
iPhones and iPads are all the new apps that are available," said
Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.
"Appealing to the developers and continuing to enrich
the set of tools and capabilities they have to build great new apps or
enhance existing apps is absolutely critical."
WWDC comes less than two weeks before Google's annual
developers conference, which will be held in the same downtown San
Francisco conference center.
"It is a back and forth between Apple and Google in a
battle for hearts and minds of developers; to be their priority," Golvin
"What Apple wants is for them to only develop for iOS,"
he continued. "That is not realistic, but they can try to make sure all
the exciting new things come to iPad and iPhone first and maybe get to
the Android, and Google wants the opposite."
Google-backed Android software for mobile devices is
the world's leading smartphone platform and seen as the only formidable
adversary for Apple.
Banners for iOS 6, the next generation operating system
for Apple mobile gadgets, were on display in the conference venue
during the weekend.
Analysts suspected iOS upgrades to include improving
and maybe even extending Siri virtual assistant capabilities that were a
hit after being introduced in the iPhone 4S.
Apple is expected to introduce its own mapping program to replace Google Maps software that had been pre-installed on iPhones.
In apparent anticipation of the move, Google last week
unveiled a revamped maps program that allows mobile users to use the
service without an internet connection.
The service, which will be available soon on Android
devices, allows users to select an area and save a local map which can
be viewed when a user does not have a data connection.
Google Maps could still be downloaded and used on iPhones.
Apple would in theory be able to tie its mapping
service to the Siri voice-directed personal assistant, which could
supplant Google in searching for businesses.
"If Apple does a great job (on its maps program) then
we will see some substitution and may impact Google search on the
iPhone," said Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling.
Apple will also give developers the latest news about
the new Mountain Lion operating system for Macintosh computers. Apple is
expected to show off revamped MacBook laptop computers power by Intel
Ivy Bridge chips.
"My opinion is that we will definitely hear an update
on Mountain lion and we almost certainly will hear about iOS 6 with
whizzy new mapping technology that is going to replace Google Maps,"
"And the Macbook line hasn't been refreshed for a
while," he continued. "The big question is are we going to hear anything
about Apple TV."
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said recently that the
company was putting a lot of energy into its Apple TV boxes for
streaming internet content to television screens.
Apple long played the product off as "a hobby" but is
believed to be trying to duplicate its success in tablet and smartphone
markets in living rooms.
"If they are going to push Apple TV from a hobby to
something with full-force Apple marketing, I think they will do that in a
separate event dedicated entirely to that," Golvin said.