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Simplest WWDC predictions ever

Apple will open its annual developer show, WWDC, next week, and while the notion of a developer show being interesting is, of course, hard to believe, I would remind everyone that Apple now participates in exactly two major shows a year. So the WWDC is a big deal. A very big deal.

I don’t have much to say from a prediction standpoint, though there is a cottage industry around this type of thing in the Apple world. I do have a few general predictions, however:

1. WWDC will be more about the iPhone than the Mac.

2. Jobs will announce that the iPhone 2.0 software and the iPhone gen 2 hardware will ship within 30 days, but not be widely available this week. They will barely meet or not meet those estimates, based on their track record.

3. Apple will likely provide a very general preview of the next version of Mac OS X (10.6), which may or may not be code-named Snow Leopard, a name that suggests that that OS X 10.6 is to OS X 10.5 what Windows 7 is to Windows Vista. My guess is that Apple will ship OS X 10.6 in time for the 2009 back-to-school season or, in Steve Jobs’ expected words, “before Windows 7.”

There are other great rumors around, of course. CrunchGear reportedly has believable leaked pictures of the iPhone 2 and news that Apple is bringing iChat to Windows XP/Vista. There could be new MacBooks and MacBook Pros and, possibly, a new Mac mini. Many hope that Apple will further bolster the Apple TV; that will never happen at WWDC, in my opinion. Apple’s ludicrous .Mac service is being renamed to Mobile Me or *something* Me and will likely be opened up to Windows users (thus the name change) and provide something of value to iPhone users as well (think Push IMAP, shared calendars, etc.). There is talk of an iPhone-like Internet Tablet or the long-rumored Mac Tablet, but I think Microsoft’s failure in this category should be a warning sign: What, exactly, is the market for such a toy? There is none.

Anyway. Life is always interesting when Apple has something to say. I can’t wait.

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