Apple WWDC 2010: Five Things To Watch For

Apple announced on Wednesday that the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference will run June 7 to 11 at San Francisco's Moscone Center West. Apple is dubbing this year's WWDC "The Center of the App Universe," indicating the conference's--and Apple's--focus is on iPhone OS-based devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

The WWDC keynote address has been the traditional venue for the introduction of new iPhone devices, and there's always a guessing game about what other surprises the company might have in store. With that in mind, here's five things to watch for as we get close to WWDC 2010.

Apple WWDC 2010

The New iPhone

Gizmodo already gave us a sneak preview of the new iPhone by posting photos and a detailed breakdown of a next-generation iPhone prototype the gadget blog acquired earlier this month. But keep in mind that it was only a prototype, and there's no guarantee that what Gizmodo reported on will be the official device that Apple unveils in June--assuming Apple comes out with a new device at all.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the next-generation iPhone, including its storage, screen resolution, and even its name. It's also not clear if the new iPhone will use that flat, boxy case found on the protoype, or whether it will stick with the more rounded shape of previous iPhone devices. Will the front-facing camera be ready for prime time by June? Remember, Gizmodo reported that the anonymous person who found the iPhone said the prototype's camera kept crashing.

Also, how will Apple CEO Steve Jobs handle this one? Will he acknowledge Gizmodo's scoop with a passing reference or a joke, or just pretend that the biggest tech leak of 2010 didn't happen?

iPhone OS 4.0

Most of the big news about the latest iPhone OS was revealed during the company's sneak peek at the software in early April . But Apple likes to keep a few surprises in store for WWDC. One new feature could be iChat for the iPhone . Developers looking at the iPhone OS 4.0 preview have found references to iChat, and the leaked iPhone prototype did have a front-facing camera.

Game Center

Apple's sneak peek at iPhone OS 4.0 introduced us to Game Center , the company's new social gaming network. Game Center can tie into iPhone games and will include things like the ability to challenge your friends to a game and a matchmaking service that lets you find an opponent you don't know. Game Center will also have leaderboards and achievement tracking. While Apple introduced the feature earlier this month, the company didn't spend a lot of time on it. I'd expect to see this service in more detail, and perhaps see a few demos during the keynote. It will also be interesting to see how many game developers embrace Game Center, as some developers already offer similar features through gaming services like OpenFeint .

iAds

Advertising on the iPhone and iPad is supposedly going to get a whole lot more interactive with the introduction of Apple's own iAds advertising network . During the sneak peek of the next OS, Apple showed off some advertising mock-ups the company had made, but nothing from an actual advertising partner. Apple also said during a Q&A with reporters after the iPhone OS 4.0 preview that it didn't anticipate having to approve iAds to the degree it approves iPhone and iPad applications. So that begs the question, will iAds be something that users can embrace or will advertisers shoot low and come out with plain old mobile advertising that some free iPhone apps are using now?

One More Thing...

Steve Jobs has become famous for using the "Just one more thing," line and then introducing a new device or feature to excite the Apple user base. He doesn't use this line at every Apple event, but it's always interesting to watch out for it in case Apple unveils something particularly interesting and unexpected at this year's WWDC.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul ).

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