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WWDC 2013: Four big Apple announcements to expect

WWDC is Apple’s annual ‘worldwide developer conference’ and it’s where we’re given an in-depth, tech focussed insight into the goings-on of the company.

If you’re hoping see the iPhone 5S or iPad 5 unveiled, you’ll be disappointed. But we expect to see four big announcements made at the show. Here’s what you have to look forward to…

iOS 7 – a new, flatter design for the iPhone and iPad operating system
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Here’s the biggie: iOS 7. The software that powers the iPhone, iPod touches and iPads will see its latest upgrade unveiled at WWDC, and it’s likely to be the most significant change to the way the system looks and feels since it was introduced in 2007 with the first iPhone.

Jonathan Ive has taken the helm of iOS development in order to revitalise a system that many consider to be a bit stale. Ive was the main man behind the hardware design of most of Apple’s iconic products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad. They weren’t all the brain child of Steve Jobs, you know.

iOS 7 is expected to strip back the system, to make it look classier, more ‘glance-able’ according to sources reportedly in the know. Some believe it’ll go as far as being almost entirely black and white, with a design that’s even flatter than it currently is – iOS is already a much flatter system than Android.

iRadio – Apple’s take on music streaming…
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According to Reuters, Apple will unveil iRadio at WWDC 2013. But what is it?

It’s believed iRadio is a music streaming service that takes a slightly difference approach to the biggest player in the market – Spotify. It’ll be a fully free service that makes money by playing audio adverts every now and then.

As such, it’s comparable with Spotify’s original desktop-only free plan, although this was never accessible in the UK using a mobile phone or tablet. And Spotify’s current freebie plan restricts how many hours you can stream, in order to try to get you to sign up to their paid-for Premium service.

Apple’s motivations are a little different. iRadio will let you buy tracks from iTunes, so there’s less need for the additional monetisation of a paid-for subscription.

What we don’t know yet is how much control iRadio will give you over the tracks you’re listening to – whether it’s based on automatically curated ‘radio stations’ like, or whether you’ll be able to directly choose some or all of what you listen to, as with Spotify.

New MacBooks – updates to the Air and Pro for Intel’s Haswell processors

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Intel has officially unveiled its latest generation of processors, dubbed Haswell. These take over from the Ivy Bridge CPUs of 2012 and earlier this year.

Apple is highly likely to announced tweaked MacBook editions using these next-generation chips. The top benefits of Haswell include much improved battery efficiency and far better graphics performance, thanks to the HD 5000 GPU.

READ: What is Intel Haswell? 5 reasons why you should care

The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines are both expected to receive Haswell updates, and a KGI Securities analyst suggests they’ll also have slightly slimmer bodies than last year’s models.

What we’re unlikely to see in the MacBook stable is a Retina version of the Air, which has to contend not only with price issues, but also battery life concerns. A Retina display will suck a good deal more power than the current lower-resolution screen.

OS X 10.9 (aka Cabernet) – a few tweaks to keep the hardcore happy
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No WWDC can go by without some word of OS X, the system that powers Apple’s laptops and desktops. In recent updates we’ve seen Apple start to incorporate more iOS features into OS X, but this time Apple will also give a nod to more hardcore users, according to 9to5Mac.

New power features on the cards include better multi-monitor support, letting you run a full-screen app on a second monitor, and tabbed browsing in the Finder app. They’re unlikely to be things that’ll get you excited unless you’ve pined after them in the past, but are important part of the maturing of the system.

Fluffier new features include possible incorporation of Siri, the virtual voice assistant seen in iOS.

OS X 10.9 may not sound quite as exciting as the Mountain Lion update, but the way it optimises and enriches the building blocks of OS X mean it could be just as important.

What we didn’t win…
We can’t finish without acknowledging the hardware everyone wants – the hardware we’re highly unlikely to see at WWDC 2013. Unless Apple has radically changed how it operates since last year, we won’t see the iPad 5, the iPhone 5S or the iPad mini 2 revealed at the conference.

These hardware updates are likely to be announced later this year, probably in September.

WWDC 2013 takes place between 10 and 14 June in San Francisco. We’ll be back with all the news from the conference, as it lands.

Next, read all the latest news on iOS 7

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