WWDC: Final Apple predictions

The following article is reprinted from the Today@PC World blog at PCWorld.com.

All Apple rumors will soon either be satisfied or squashed during the keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. We're less than an hour away from the presentation, and the tech world has been in full gear all weekend to get their final predictions out before the speech at 10 a.m. PT. So here are highlights of the latest rumor and speculation about Apple's developalooza.

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iPhone 3GS

John Gruber of Daring Fireball has weighed in with one last set of predictions on the possibility of a new iPhone. Gruber stands behind his prediction from several weeks ago of an iPhone with a faster processor, and double the RAM and storage of the current iPhone 3G. However, Gruber says he's heard the codename for the new iPhone is iPhone 3GS, and he bets Apple will also use this moniker as the official name of the next iteration of the iPhone.

iPhone 3GS is the second name to be thrown around concerning the next iPhone. On Friday, we heard rumors the device might be called iPhone Video, which would highlight the new video capability believed to be built into iPhone OS 3.0.

So if Gruber were right, what would the “S” in iPhone 3GS stand for? Gruber’s best guess is it stands for “speed.” For me, a name like iPhone Video or something similar makes more sense than iPhone 3GS. Simply because Apple product names typically follow a basic principle of marketing: use the brand name to identify product value. Consider iPod names like nano, mini, shuffle and touch, or even iPhone 3G. All of these identify something particular about the product, while iPhone 3GSpeed is just a general promise of improved performance. I’m not buying it, because iPhone 3GS just isn’t Apple’s style.

In other iPhone predictions, Gruber believes the new iPhone will have 15-20 percent longer battery life, and the current 8GB iPhone will downgrade to a $99 model—possibly until Apple runs out of stock of the iPhone 3G.

More blurry iPhone photos

More photographs purporting to be the next iteration of the iPhone have surfaced. The French blog Nowhere Else has photos of an all-black 16GB iPhone. Similar photos popped up last week on the Italian blog iSpazio.

The photo sets from Italy and France coincide with previous claims by a Chinese electronics reseller that it is selling official spare parts for the next-gen iPhone. Among those parts was an all-black iPhone bezel, as opposed to the chrome ring that has gone around previous iPhone models.

Snow Leopard

Apple has already said it plans on distributing copies of Snow Leopard, the newest version of OS X, to developers at WWDC, with a public launch several months after.

When it was first announced at last year’s WWDC, Apple said Snow Leopard would focus on under-the-hood improvements with no new features. However, there has been speculation that Apple would add a few little goodies including a new look, codenamed Marble.

Computerworld’s Seth Weintraub weighed in on Snow Leopard saying he believes Apple will port the Core Location feature from the iPhone into the new version of OS X. That would allow your Mac to identify its location, which could then be used by your Mac’s dashboard applications and standard programs. Weintraub is also betting that Snow Leopard may work with ARM-based chips so that Apple can port the OS to tablets and so-called smartbooks. Other predictions from Computerworld’s blogger include out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange, and a new version of QuickTime with direct upload capability to YouTube and Mobile Me.

However, Gruber is also making some bets for Snow Leopard saying the new OS will not have any new features, as promised, and will not include the new Marble look. Gruber also says a free Snow Leopard upgrade for current Mac owners is out of the question due to how Apple interprets U.S. business accounting rules. Both Gruber and Weintraub agree that Apple may sell Snow Leopard at a lower cost than typical OS upgrades for its Mac and MacBook lines.

MacBook Mobile?

Sticking his neck way out there, Weintraub is also betting that Apple may unveil MacBooks with 3G or WiMax capabilities, including the MacBook Air which could also see an upgrade to 4GB RAM.

The End is Near

At 10 a.m. Pacific, a team of Apple execs will take the stage at San Francisco's Moscone Center West for the WWDC Keynote Address. At that time we'll know the fate of the rumored front-facing video camera, tethering capability, and FM transmitter for the iPhone. And we could learn more about the mysterious Apple Tablet. Then again, we could hear nothing new at all.

The best way to find out is to follow our WWDC coverage for all the Apple-juicy details.

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