Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off with a keynote at 10 am Pacific time on Monday, and as is usual with this sort of event, rumors are swirling around at a fever pitch. Though there probably won't be any really stunning announcements Monday, you can be sure that there will be some tidbits of interest. Here, in advance, are what will probably be the high points:
- A new third-generation iPhone, possibly called the iPhone Video, which name probably indicates (a) video recording and editing capabilities and/or (b) over-the-air video downloading capabilities (ouch for AT&T's network). A new iPhone model is all the more eagerly awaited because Palm's Pre launches on Saturday, and the reviews are pretty good (if not great). The new iPhone might have a 3D gaming chip, though it might not be available until July 17 (er, six weeks of bad sales?).
- A cheaper version of the iPhone, which I imagine would not be the same thing as the third-generation iPhone mentioned above. Perhaps one in a slightly different (smaller?) form factor but with essentially the same specs as the current model. To go with the lower price, we may finally see tiered pricing on data from AT&T.
- There's been significantly less buzz about Snow Leopard, the next OS X iteration, which was previewed at the last WWDC and billed as arriving "in about a year." Macworld has a good round-up of what we know it -- in short, intriguing under-the-hood advancements but not a lot of new features -- and speculates that developers (who are in theory the real audience at WWDC) will get some kind of final developer release at the show.
- Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball believes that we might see a bit of a bump to MacBook specs, with all the metal notebooks getting "Pro" designation and the plastic models alone filling the intro-level MacBook slot.
- And, finally, could there be a surprise appearance by Steve Jobs? Rumors are that he's feeling better and has been seen around the Apple campus. I'd hate to see him endanger his health for a stunt, but he does always seem to have a flair for the dramatic.
Whatever Apple decides, they must be sure to follow this counterintuitive advice, from Benjamin Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays Capital: "If they start making products people don't want, and start losing users, then Apple's strategy will run into problems." People get paid to say this stuff, and yet your Inside the Cult blogger can't get free airfare to WWDC! Nevertheless, tune in here Monday afternoon for a post-keynote wrap-up.