iPhone OS 4.0 and the new iPhone 4G. Duh!
The next version of the Mac OS X, perhaps.
In an inspired bit of entrail reading this morning, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu says Apple (AAPL) may have a libretto of big WWDC announcements. “Other announcements we are picking up that could potentially be made are iTunes.com, a web-based version of its iTunes client, and new Mac refreshes with faster processors and graphics, namely the Mac Pro and MacBook Air, which were last refreshed in March and June 2009, respectively,” he wrote in a note to clients this morning.
Wu is simply doing what most Apple watchers might do. He’s looking at refresh periods on hardware. Sure the Air is due for an update. So are a lot of things going by that metric.
But Apple’s only option right now is to pair the small-outline Core 2 Duo with the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M controller with integrated graphics. That GPU is a significant upgrade to the 9400M used in current MacBook Air models, and would offer increased performance with a decreased drain on the battery. But it is hardly an exciting step forward for the CPU.
All the Core i5 and i7 offerings from Intel require the use of Intel’s IGPs, which are less powerful than the current NVIDIA GPU being used in the Air. And now that Intel has taken the wraps off its ULV mobile processors we can see that they too rely on the same awful IGPs. Cramming an extra NVIDIA GPU into the Air, alongside Intel’s updated silicon is not really an option with its small form factor.
So no Air update. Even if it is “updated”, it’s not really an update. It’s a “bump”.
I am actually hearing whispers that Apple is at least experimenting with some custom silicon for the next MacBook Air. But I don’t see it being available as soon as WWDC, if at all.
Going out on a limb : I don’t think we’ll see any major Macintosh updates at all at WWDC this year – apart from perhaps Mac Pros.
I also tend to agree with Peter Kafka (now) that it probably is a bit early for a cloud based version of iTunes.
“Sources tell me that in the past few weeks, Apple has started signaling to the labels that it’s interested in a Web-based version of iTunes, its dominant music retail platform,” Kafka wrote on April 30. “But those conversations are preliminary at best. So if you’re expecting to hear about an ‘iTunes.com’ offering in the near future–like during Apple’s June 7 developer conference–you’re likely to be disappointed.”
I do think a ‘cloud’ iTunes is coming, especially when you consider the rumours about Apple’s new Apple TV plans from the last 24 hours. I had previously theorised that it may come around WWDC time, but in the light of the last 24 hours I do have to admit I think that is less likely now.