What could Apple have up its sleeve for WWDC?

A new version of iOS and new apps for maps and photo sharing may be among the items announced at this month's developers conference, says a Sterne Agee analyst.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Apple will likely unveil a new lineup of Macs at its upcoming WWDC, but one analyst thinks the bigger news will be in the software arena.

The iPhone maker is expected to announce iOS 6 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off June 11, says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. Apple announced iOS 5 at last year's WWDC, though the OS didn't reach the market until October.

A new Maps app also has the analyst and other Apple watchers buzzing. Based on industry checks, Wu sees a new in-house Maps app replacing the current Google Maps on all iOS devices. The new app will tap into the power of 3D, offering users the ability to view 3D versions of various locales.

"From our understanding, it is internally developed and will be radically different and better than existing Maps from others," Wu said. "We hear the key reason why [Apple] decided to do this is that it believes it can deliver a much better user experience in Maps, not to mention provide further differentiation for its mobile devices business."

Reported details and photos of the new Maps app have already leaked onto the Internet, courtesy of blogging sites BGR and 9to5Mac. One photo in particular clearly displays an option to switch to 3D mode.

Also on track for WWDC may be enhancements to the iOS camera and photo apps, according to Wu. Users can currently use the Photo Stream feature to share photos via iCloud, but many still rely on third-party apps such as Instagram, the analyst said. The new features would enable better sharing directly through the built-in photo app.

But the new Macs will be nothing to sneeze at. Wu expects the full lineup of Macs to benefit from an overhaul.

The iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and potentially the Mac mini and Mac Pro will likely be upgraded to Intel's Ivy Bridge chipset, offering better performance and superior graphics.

And speaking of graphics, several Mac models are expected to follow their mobile counterparts by sporting high-definition Retina displays.