In a few hours, Apple will expand on the unexpected bean-spilling of its next-generation software: iOS 5, OSX Lion and iCloud at WWDC 2011 live.
It's the first time in T3's 14-year history that we can remember Apple shouting about a new product or service before its keynote, which leads us to question whether the phrase 'one more thing' may pass the lips of Steve. Who better to opine, then, than some of the the biggest names in the UK tech press. Here are their predictions and possible surprises.
Name: Shane Richmond
Writes for: The Telegraph, Head of Technology (Editorial),
WWDC predictions: If iCloud is merely a service that charges you for storing music that you already own then it will be underwhelming. I think Apple will have learned from its mistakes with MobileMe and won't simply replicate the cloud music offerings from Amazon and Google. We'll see a service that combines with OSX Lion and iOS 5 to move management of all your devices into the cloud. I'm expecting apps that update automatically, wireless syncing between devices and, I hope, the ability to store all your media in the cloud - not just those you've bought from iTunes.
One more thing: I think there could a hardware surprise at the end of this keynote but I don't think it will be a new iPhone. I think we'll see an updated Time Capsule that enables the iCloud services and, perhaps, allows you to run an iOS device without linking it to a computer.
Tweets at: @shanerichmond
Follow Shane's WWDC coverage at: The Telegraph
Name: David Phelan
Writes for: Time Out, Sunday Times, The Independent, T3
WWDC predictions: Of course we know there'll be Lion in great detail, iOS 5 and details of just how iCloud will work. I think there'll be heavy emphasis on integration of all three and how the software-hardware complete experience will become even more important, emphasising what Apple does like nobody else can. And how all these software elements will come together on the next iPhone, whenever that is...
It's always the understated elements that are the most interesting. When the first iPad was announced, almost nobody mentioned Steve Jobs's comment that 'it's all our own silicon'. But the A4 and now A5 chips have since become centre stage. Expect other ground-breakers to slip in under the radar.
One more thing: There's always one more thing. Except when there isn't. There wasn't at the iPad 2 unveil, for instance. If Mr Jobs pulls an iPhone out of his hat I'll eat mine. Instead I think it'll be: Lion will be available to download from the Mac Store. Today.
Tweets at: @davidphelan2009
Follow David's WWDC coverage at: The Independent
Name: Mark Prigg
Writes for: The London Evening Standard
WWDC predictions: iCloud is likely to be the big story, and will put a lot of Apple's most popular software products online and accessible from any computer with a browser. You'll be able to get your music (if you've bought it from iTunes) and stream it to any device. As well as taking iTunes online, I think we could also see online versions of Keynote, Pages and Numbers. There's also likely to be the option to automatically back up the documents from your Mac to the iCloud.
The new version of iOS could also see the iPhone getting its biggest change since it was introduced, with a new look and feel. Hopefully, we'll also see Apple overhauling the notifications system.
As for the desktop, the big surprise could be that Lion, the latest version of Mac OS, is made available in the Mac App store as soon as Jobs steps off stage.
One more thing: Apps on Apple TV could be a surprise addition.
Tweets at: @markprigg
Follow Mark's WWDC coverage at: The London Evening Standard
Name: Luke Peters
Job Title: Editor, T3
WWDC predictions: I've been following Apple's resurrection from the dormant tech giant it was to the global household name it is today. In those transformative years, we've seen it create brand new product categories, re-shape how media industries do business and completely redefine how people interact with modern technology. Our primary focus to date has been its stylish, innovative hardware. This is what built a cult.
Today's software announcement will demonstrate how all of its products (and your content) can work in unison – iOS 5 for portable devices, Lion for computing, iCloud to tie them together - without you having to think twice about it. This is what will build an army. However, if iCloud replaces MobileMe and adds wireless content syncing across all of its products (plus streaming any media from a home computer or TimeCapsule) how much will that cost? The primary function of Mobile Me (£59 a year) is/was to synchronise relatively small files such as calendars, contacts, bookmarks and email. Add megabyte-hungry MP3, MP4, photos, Apps and iWork documents to the mix and your yearly bill could be run into three figures. And what of your ISP's data restrictions?
Perhaps iOS 5 will have a Spotify-esque 'offline' mode for caching content. Perhaps the need for high-speed wireless internet connectivity everywhere will become even more pertinent. Whatever the outcome, you can be sure that the other tech megacorps will be watching closely. If the boffins at 1 Infinite Loop get this right, and manage to attract the floating voters who are still undecided whether to go Apple or Android, it could be years before their iCloud contract expires.
One more thing: I'm torn. I'd love to see a glimpse of the iPhone 5, Retina Display iPad (see this month's issue of T3), or a brand new MacBook AirPad, but agree with my tech colleagues – if we do see any hardware, it's likely to be one that complements the iCloud ethic. Can I get a whoop, whoop for TimeCapsule 2.0? No, thought not. Can I get a standing ovation for Steve's official retirement? Quite possibly...