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What will Apple announce at WWDC?

9:06 AM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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LOS ANGELES - For Apple watchers eager to find out what cool new stuff the company has in store, all eyes lead to its Worldwide Developers Conference.

The WWDC in San Francisco, typically held in June, is where Apple clues in some 5,000 developers (the folks who make apps for the iPhone and iPad and software for Macs) on what's in store and coming in the product pipeline.

This year as Apple stock has taken a dive, Wall Street analysts and investors have clamored for the company to respond to increased competition from Samsung, Google and others with new products, but Apple has been quiet.

As it reported financial results on Tuesday, Apple said it sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter, up from 35.1 million the year before. It sold 19.5 million iPads, compared with 11.8 million.

In years past, Apple has had a spring event to tout new iPads, but that has not happened this year, leaving the WWDC for new stuff. Apple hasn't announced an official date, but Apple fan websites have pointed to June 10 as the most likely date for the event, which sold out last year in 2 hours.

(UPDATE: On Wednesday, Apple announced it will hold WWDC June 10-14 in San Francisco.)

So what will it be? A new iPhone? A smart watch that lets you take phone calls and check your texts? A new take on a living room TV?

Tuesday, Cook hinted that you won't be seeing any of those items at WWDC.

"Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services that we can't wait to introduce in the fall and throughout 2014," Cook said on a conference call with analysts.

His comment knocks out an updated iPhone in June, but leaves the door open for a preview for developers of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, which dominated most of the session last June as well; iOS 6 was released to the public in September.

Beyond iOS 7, Gartner analyst Van Baker thinks Apple will introduce or preview its long-rumored answer to Pandora with a personalized online radio station for Apple devices.

"The installed base that Apple has will make the service immensely popular from the outset," Baker says.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster sees Apple expanding its Apple TV product, which connects to TVs to bring online entertainment into the living room, with an "app store" similar to its offering for iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch.

An app store for TV would bring in independent games, additional TV channels and other offerings, and "is long overdue," Munster says.

Wall Street would love to see lots of new products even earlier than WWDC, but Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf says, "Apple doesn't pay attention. It does what it does and releases products when they're ready. Wall Street was clamoring for Apple to release a netbook in 2010. Instead it put out the iPad. Look what happened there."

Still, Apple has been quiet for too long, and needs to show the world what it's got in store for the second half of the year, Munster says. Young consumers still want to buy Apple products, and have been giving the company a pass in light of increased competition from Samsung and Google.

"Apple has to do something in the next six months," Munster says. "Or else the consumers will start going elsewhere."

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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