Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference is still a few weeks away, but such a detail has never stopped rumors and speculation from flowing.
What will Apple unveil at the sold-out event? Some things are more certain than others, and anybody expecting major hardware announcements will probably be disappointed. The focus this year will be on operating systems, but there are a few other suprises Apple could sneak in.
Mac OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6
The WWDC will almost certainly feature appearances by the next version of Apple's major operating systems. Both OS X and iOS are due for upgrades, as they both gradually evolve toward one another.
We already got a detailed look at OS X Mountain Lion, which has been available as a developer preview for three months. The new desktop operating system borrows heavily from iOS and continues the tradition started with Mountain Lion of making OS X start to look and feel more like Apple's mobile OS.
The next version of iOS is also due in 2012. It was a year ago at the WWDC that Steve Jobs debuted iOS 5 and iCloud. It's yet to be seen what iOS 6 will feature, but rumors include an overhauled, non-Google maps application, enhancements to Siri and some changes to the look and feel of the OS. Since iCloud has only been in the public's hands since October, we can reasonably expect some updates there.
New MacBook Pros: Thinner With a Retina Display
It's been awhile since the MacBook Pro line got a significant overhaul. There's no reason not to believe speculation that that may finally happen next month.
In particular, 9to5 Mac says we should expect a thinner design, USB 3.0 ports and the sort of high-resolution "retina" display that has grown so popular among iPad and iPhone users.
iPhone 5? Don't Count on It.
As fervently as many Apple-watchers pray for this one, it probably won't happen. The company used to unviel new smartphones at its annual developers' conference, but they broke that tradition in October with the launch of iPhone 4S. Like the 4S, the iPhone 5 will likely be released around the same time as the next version of iOS, which of course will only be announced at the WWDC. Just like last year.
Some are still clinging to hopes that Apple could drop a major surprise by giving us a sneak peak at the iPhone 5. We're still skeptical.
The iPhone 4S, which just started shipping in October of last year, has been a phenomenal success. It broke early sales records and helped propel Apple to one of the most successful quarters in any company's history. The more likely scenario is that they'll make iOS 6 available to developers, allow them to kick the tires and then launch both iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 in the fall.
What about the long-rumored 7" iPad? The outlook doesn't look overwhelmingly strong for this one, but it's gotta a better shot than the iPhone 5 of showing up next month.