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WWDC banners are up: Let the guessing game begin

As the first signs for the Apple developer conference next week are hung in the Moscone Center, the speculation over what Apple will unveil intensifies.

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The WWDC banner hanging inside Moscone Center in San Francisco. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple has started decorating San Francisco's Moscone Center in anticipation of the Worldwide Developers Conference, which opens Monday morning.

And as has become tradition, when the banners go up, the seemingly round-the-clock guessing game of what Apple will announce intensifies. This year, the banners say "WWDC: One year later. Light-years ahead." Now the objective for many is parsing that phrase and poring over every image on the banner to extract some sort of meaning.

The phrase itself, plus all the application icons on the banners, indicate the centerpiece of the conference will be the App Store and the new features of the iPhone OS 3.0. Apple said as much in its announcement of the conference keynote address, which is on Monday at 10 a.m. PDT. We know there will be discussion of the updated mobile operating system as well as more details on OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard. And of course, there have been previous indications that a new iPhone is on the way.

The iPhone Blog points out that the App Store did launch in July, not in early June at WWDC last year, so it hasn't technically been "one year later." Gizmodo thinks "light-years ahead" is a snarky reference to the jumble of competing smartphones debuting soon--particularly the Palm Pre, which launches two days before WWDC opens.

TUAW took out its copy editor's pen, noting that "a year is a measure of time while a light year is a measure of distance." Of course, anyone who remembers "Think Different" knows Apple slogans haven't always been bound by the traditional rules of grammar.

In any case, all the mysteries will be solved by the end of Monday's keynote speech, which we'll be live-blogging. Until then, check out the gallery of photos below that we snapped Wednesday morning.