WWDC 2012: What has Apple got planned?

WWDC can be a of a party bag of surprises. It can also be pretty dull. It's typically the preserve of software developers, but Apple has a history of throwing in a hardware launch among all the SDK announcements, to spice things up.

Take 2010, for example, when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4; and in 2009 there were Macs even on top of the 3GS. So, could this be a good year at WWDC or is it going to be like walking through the spares aisle in Maplin? With rumours flying like winged monkeys, Pocket-lint takes a closer look at what we think this year will have in store.

Refreshed MacBook Pros

One of the most exciting rumours currently circulating is that the MacBook Pro is going to get a refresh. While still one of the best-looking laptops currently on the market, its design is starting to get a touch stale now.

A story coming from Bloomberg reports that the MacBook Pro is about to get a whole lot thinner. This would likely mean ditching the super drive and using flash memory rather than a conventional hard drive. The end result would definitely be a speedier and lighter Pro.

Graphics-wise, it’s entirely possible that the new thinner Nvidia mobile GPUs might be making an appearance, especially given the reduced form factor. The most exciting thing, however, is the decision to up the resolution of the Pro’s screen to Retina display levels. This would mean a significant improvement for the Pro, especially for photographers and videographers who will be able to view content in true 1080p.

Refreshed MacBook Airs

This time round the MacBook Air story is coming from 9to5 Mac which is reporting inbound Retina Displays for the laptop. No major product redesign this time, more just ultra-high-resolution screens for the portable. We imagine the likes of the 11-inch Air will be getting a screen not unlike that on the new iPad, which features a display only slightly smaller.

The current generation MacBook Airs are a tempting enough package but this could make things really exciting. The resolution jump will likely require updated processors, in the form of Ivy Bridge ones and a better graphics processor unit, something which the Air has always lacked. There is also word of USB 3.0 inclusion.

iMac, Mac Pro and Mac Mini upgrades

This is the most likely rumour of all, as most are due a significant spec jump, especially the iMac. Expect things like Ivy Bridge to be appearing all round as well as - rumour has it - a Retina Display for the iMac.

If that is the case, then the iMac is going to need a graphics update as getting retina display resolution on a screen that big is going to take quite a bit of grunt. No word of USB 3.0 for the iMac yet but it is very much a possibility.

The Apple Television set

Okay, here's one that is way way out there. The much talked-about Apple TV could be appearing at WWDC. We hesitate to believe this one just because, with a product so big, you would expect Apple to be doing one of its signature one-off launches. Still, it’s not entirely impossible.

So what of the TV? Well according to BGR its operating system is going to appear at WWDC in order to let third-party manufacturers start working with it t get apps and accessories ready for its launch.

No chance the product is going to appear then, but at least we might get an idea of how the OS is going to look when it does eventually arrive.

What we want

The Retina display thing is a pretty obvious one as it would make using OS X just that little bit sweeter. Then again it’s entirely possible that it will take a few months for apps to get themselves ready to hit that resolution mark. That said, there is already an app in the Mac App Store which claims to have Retina graphics.

The rest of our hopes are all minor niggles really. It would be brilliant to see an updated matte screen for the Pro and Air, because both could be better. We would also like to see Apple retain Firewire, as it makes dealing with Thunderbolt a tad easier. A properly powerful USB port on the MacBook Air would also be useful, particularly for doing things like charging your iPad.

Our biggest ask is microSim support. Why? Because it would be damn useful to get proper internet on the go straight from a MacBook Air or Pro without having to tether other devices and deal with hefty data bills. It’ll never happen, we know, but we can dream. Another no-chancer is the inclusion of Intel’s wireless charging tech and the ability to juice up your iOS devices without the need for a white cable.

Other than that, things we can only dream of. A look at the new Apple TV? Not likely. MacBook Airs with potent processors and a cheaper price tag? Pretty much impossible. Quite clearly Retina Display is going to be the big buzz at WWDC. Then again it might not, which means we can go back to saving for the day such an Apple laptop arrives.

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2011 MacBook Pro review

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