APPLE'S MUCH-ANTICIPATED Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) will kick off in San Francisco on Monday, and the online rumour mill is furiously churning out speculation about what we can expect the firm to unveil.
We'll be covering Apple's WWDC keynote, which begins on Monday at 6pm UK time, but for now you can check out our roundup of what you can expect from the long-awaited conference.
Each year, Apple unveils its next iOS iteration at WWDC, and this year's conference is unlikely to be any different.
iOS 8 is unlikely to showcase a huge overhaul of Apple's mobile operating system, with last year's iOS 7 release landing as the most radical the firm has released since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. While its flat, minimilistic design received widespread criticism at first, it's unlikely that iOS 8 will bring many radical design changes to the iPhone and iPad.
Instead, rumours suggest that the next iOS software release will have a greater focus on fitness, with Apple looking to challenge Samsung's Galaxy S5 with its own Healthbook app. This, much like the S Health app on Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, likely will enable users to track their steps, calorie intake and heart rate, and could pair with Apple's rumoured iWatch device.
Mapping will be another focus, with the firm reportedly overhauling its Maps application with more accurate locations and public transport information.
Thanks to a leaked image of iOS 8 allegedly running on an iPhone 5S handset above, that's not all we know. The software will also likely launch with Preview, Textedit and Tips apps, along with a dedicated wearables app named iWatch Utility.
Split-screen multitasking is also rumoured to be introduced in iOS 8, a feature that will allow iPad users to use two applications on the tablet's screen at once, and Apple reportedly will also add music discovery service Shazam to iOS.
Mac OS X 10.10
While iOS 8 isn't expected to deliver a huge overhaul, the same cannot be said for Mac OS X 10.10, expected to debut during next week's keynote.
Design will be the biggest area of change, as you can see in the above leaked image via Macworld, with Apple said to have redesigned its Mac OS X computer operating system to reflect the "flat" design of its iOS mobile operating system. This means that once rolled out, Mac OS X 10.10 users will find the same app icons as found on the iPhone and iPad, as well as the same translucent effects and lack of texture throughout.
Further images leaked on the day of the launch, revealing that Mac OS X 10.10 likely will feature a Control Center similar to that on the iPhone.
In terms of new features, Apple has done a good job of keeping Mac OS X 10.10 under wraps. However, rumours suggest that Siri will make its debut on Mac OS X in the upcoming release, which could enable more advanced dictation features.
Speculation has also surfaced that Mac OS X will introduce the ability to Airdrop files between Mac OS X and iOS.
WWDC is never usually a platform for Apple to showcase its latest and greatest hardware, but rumours have suggested that the firm might have a couple of new products to show off on 2 June.
One of these could be an 8GB iPhone 5S, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Chou, joining the 8GB iPhone 5C handset that Apple introduced earlier this year.
New Mac hardware also might make an appearance. There's talk that Apple's first Macbook Air with Retina display will make its debut at WWDC, which reportedly will feature a 2304x1440 resolution screen and a premium price. Alongside this, speculation suggests that Apple might also have a 12in Macbook Air to showcase, although we'd take this rumour with a pinch of salt.
In fact, we'd take rumours of any hardware being unveiled with a pinch of salt, as renowned Apple Insider Jim Dalrymple has claimed that Apple will have no new products at WWDC.
Apple is also rumoured to be making a push into the Internet of Things at this year's WWDC, with the Financial Times reporting that the firm will release smart home controls for iOS devices, allowing users to control things such as lights, security systems and other domestic appliances. It is unclear how it will operate, but it is thought the Smart Home controls will work in conjunction with Apple TV.
Check back with The INQUIRER on Monday for all the latest from WWDC. µ