Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2006 Rumor Roundup [Updatedx2]

With the 2006 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) quickly approaching, the Mac rumor scene has been buzzing with rumors and reports. As usual, MacRumors provides this Rumor Roundup as a summary of major rumors circulating around the Mac Web before the big event. In last year's WWDC roundup, we summarized the possibility of an Intel-based Mac. Readers should remember that it was only a year ago that Apple first announced they would be switching to the Intel platform.

Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

Apple has already announced that Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) will be discussed and demonstrated at WWDC 2006. In fact, a recent slip-up on Apple's developers pages indicates that Apple will be distributing a Developer's Preview of Leopard at WWDC.

Detailed information about Leopard, however, has been very limited. Very few reliable sources of information have come forward. The earliest rumors pointed to Virtualization software to be built into Leopard, but this was flatly denied by Phil Schiller.

Job postings, Patent applications and Page 2 rumors point to a focus on updating Finder with extensive and improved integration with Spotlight. This has even been the topic of some presumed fake screenshots.

Perhaps the most corroborated claims are ones of Apple's iChat 4.0. Appleinsider claimed that iChat 4.0 will incorporate the ability to call traditional phone lines much like existing Voice over IP services, with similar reports elsewhere on the web. As well, Appleinsider has claimed that Leopard will features OS-level integration of a geographical mapping technology, similar to Microsoft's Virtual Earth.

While MacOSXRumors have offered a list of other possible features: virtual desktops, collaborative features, tabbed iChat, the reliability of this source is not entirely certain.

ThinkSecret does not believe Leopard will be shipping in 2006.

Mac Pro

The Intel-update to the PowerMac line remains highly anticipated. The first hints at a name-change came in January 2006 when Apple was revealed to have trademarked the term "Mac Pro". This was largely dismissed until Steve Jobs revealed the plan to change the name of the existing PowerBook and iBook lines to "MacBook" and "MacBook Pro". Meanwhile, we received early confirmation in May that the Mac Pro was indeed targeted for release at WWDC 2006. (Update 2) According to our sources, the Mac Pro will be announced at WWDC and shipping in August.

In July, Appleinsider felt confident that Apple had chosen the Woodcrest (dual-core Xeon) processor for use in the upcoming Mac Pros. While similar to the recently released Core 2 Duo (Conroe) chips in architecture, the Woodcrest processors allow for multi-processor configurations which have been a feature of the high end PowerMacs. Meanwhile, ThinkSecret believes that while the high-end Mac Pro will use the Woodcrest chips, their sources are split on the use of Core 2 Duo (Conroe) chips in the remainder of lower-end models. One Page 2 rumor claimed Apple would incorporate both Conroe and Woodcrest into different Mac Pro models, but the validity of this information has been cast in serious doubt.

Other features also rumored include substantially different enclosures, dual optical drives and an Intel-designed motherboard.

iPhone

Despite ongoing unsubstantiated claims that the iPhone will be released soon, there has been very little credible evidence that the iPhone will be seen at WWDC.

iPod

iPod rumors are more difficult to pin down, as iPod rumors have been circulating in full force for months. Rumors of a full video iPod started in early 2006, but peaked in late March due to Apple's impending 30th anniversary. Subsequent rumors of video iPod delays and difficult Hollywood negotiations have pushed off the release further, with one analyst believing September-October to be a more likely timeframe. In July, however, ThinkSecret had mentioned the possibility of iPod nano updates at WWDC, but now reports this update will be delayed until September.

Xserves, Displays and Other Updates?

The release of backward compatible Core 2 Duo processors by Intel as well as rumors that Apple has placed large orders for them has prompted speculation that Apple will be updating some of its existing Intel Macs to the new processors. The MacBook Pro is the prime candidate, but these conclusions remain speculative.

ThinkSecret reports Xserves will see Woodcrest updates at WWDC and new displays are possible.
Coverage

Steve Jobs will present the Keynote address starting at 10am Pacific Time on Monday August 7th. MacRumors.com will provide live text-transcript coverage of the event on MacRumorsLive.com. The MacRumorsLive system uses the latest web technologies to efficiently provide dynamic text updates.

Stay tuned, as last minute leaks are not unusual in the final moments before an event.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)
Related Forums: iPod touch and iPod, Mac Pro

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