NEW YORK (TheStreet
AAPL is going to hold its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) next week, and the tech world is abuzz about what new products the technology titan might unveil.
This year the annual conference, which runs from June 10-15 in San Francisco, will give developers a look at the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, as well as its next desktop operating system, OS X.
Rumors have been flying around about what Apple could announce this year, especially as talk continues to heat up about the iPhone 5
and the oft-rumored Apple television.
Here are three items that Apple is expected to reveal at the WWDC next week.
One of the main attractions at WWDC will be Apple's next mobile operating system, iOS 6. The previous mobile OS, iOS 5, had many improvements and features over the previous version, and it is expected this update will be no different.
Among the expected additions is a new map app
. Apple currently relies on Google
GOOG Maps for its mapping application. Apple has purchased two smaller companies to help redesign the mapping software, providing users with a 3D image.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu sees the new app a "significant upgrade" that will be much different from the previous version.
"While a lot of focus will likely be on how this replaces Google Maps that currently powers every iOS device shipped (365 million iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch units as of the March quarter), we hear the key reason why AAPL decided to do this is that it believes it can deliver a much better user experience in Maps, not to mention provide further differentiation for its mobile devices business," Wu wrote in a recent research note. He has a buy rating on Apple with a $780 price target.
Also expected to be included in the new mobile operating system is Facebook
FB integration, similar to what Apple already has with Twitter
. CEO Tim Cook recently said the relationship between Apple and Facebook is "very solid" and there is more to be done with the two companies. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek believes integration with Facebook will be announced at the conference. He has a buy rating and $800 price target on Apple shares.
Siri support for the iPad
may be included in iOS 6 as well. Up until now, Siri has been exclusive to the iPhone 4S, while the new iPad
has the voice dictation feature of Siri, but nothing else. Cook said recently that Apple has more coming from Siri in the next several months, further adding credence to this rumor.
Other features of iOS 6 may include automatic updates for apps, a change in the user interface coloring scheme, and perhaps the ability to swipe with two fingers, as well as several other features.
Apple has not refreshed many of its Mac lineups in a year or more, so many are expecting several of the lines to get an update at the conference next week.
is going to announce a new 15-inch MacBook Pro, which may feature Retina Display, support third-generation USB, have a design similar to the MacBook Air, and sport no optical drive.
The MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro may also receive updates, wrote Sterne Agee's Wu. He believes these lines will be upgraded with Intel's
INTC Ivy Bridge microprocessors, "which brings more performance per watt and enhanced graphics."
Sales of Macs showed weakness in the company's fiscal second quarter ended in March, according to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, with Apple selling 4 million Macs during the quarter.
He expects it to increase as Apple refreshes the lines and adds more features.
"We believe innovations, new software, more NAND options and more attractive pricing could catalyze sales - with the potential to double the run rate sales of portables at Apple within a few quarters," Reitzes wrote in a research report. He rates Apple at overweight with a $750 price target.
Apple TV software
This is somewhat of a long shot, but Apple may announce new software for its existing Apple television set-top box, or perhaps hint at the actual television itself.
Rumors about Apple's new television have swirled seemingly forever, but there have also been rumblings
about a new operating system for television.
"Apple may possibly introduce a new Apple TV OS for the current set-top-box device, we believe it would just be another UI user interface
on top of iOS 6. New content bundles and partnerships may be announced as well as we believe video and TV will be the major focus," Jeffries' Misek wrote in a note.
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--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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