Apple's New Products At WWDC: What We Can Expect, And What We're Hoping For

The 2014 Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco kicks off Monday morning, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to unveil new products on WWDC's first day. It's become standard-operating procedure for years for the head of Apple to handle the big WWDC reveals himself, a tradition at which the late Steve Jobs excelled, and his predecessor has continued — Cook will be onstage at 1 p.m. ET to dish some information on what's coming our way.

There are three expectations almost everybody has going into Apple's event, and which the company will likely deliver — upgrades to Mac OS X, the iOS mobile device platform, and the introduction of its new top-dollar (if not top-quality) audio acquisition, Beats. This is basically par-for-the-course stuff for an Apple WWDC keynote — the company is constantly working on new cycles of their operating system upgrades, as well as new models of iPhone, iPads, the whole lot.

To what extent the Beats acquisition will enter into the proceedings isn't entirely clear, but given the huge price tag of the purchase, you'll be hearing about it today.

What We'll Definitely Hear About

  • Mac OS X 10.10, replacing OS X Mavericks which was released late last year. Mavericks was touted as a battery-saving solution, though it did suffer some issues that users found vexing. Early reports suggested the new OS could be named "Yosemite," a banner photographed at the conference set-up seems to support this.
  • iOS 8, the latest (and hopefully greatest) update to Apple's mobile platform. It would seem a safe bet that this iOS jump won't be as major as the last one was — iOS 7 featured an overhauled aesthetic, spearheaded by Apple design guru Jonathan Ives.
  • Some sort of indication of the direction Apple's acquisition of Beats is going to take them. In spite of the aforementioned quality criticisms of Beats headphones, that it was a potentially-huge purchase is undeniable — they were the only type of headphones preferred over Apple's by teenagers.

What We Might Hear About

The really intriguing, less clear rumors, however, are on a couple of nascent Apple plans that have been revealed in recent months, one of them announced a couple months ago — CarPlay is Apple's new attempt at automobile integration, boasting a spate of high-end car companies already signed on to develop dashboard hardware specifically suited to the system.

It's not cheap by any stretch, as you'd need a sparkling new car with the appropriate hardware. But just as the iPhone was a newcomer before becoming the ubiquitous device that it is, it's possible CarPlay could have a big future ahead of it.

What We're Most Excited About

The other big possibility, which has some tech-savvy tongues wagging, is that Cook will announce Apple's plans for a new "Smart Home" system that would allow users to easily, comprehensively adjust everyday conditions in their homes via a connected iPhone or iPad app. The ability to switch lights on and off and manage your home's security system have specifically been cited, but who's to say just how much integration could ultimately result — thermostat controls, perhaps?

Cook is expected to take the stage at 10 a.m. PT, amid much hoopla, and he may not be by himself. According to TIME, it's possible that his newest cohorts, Dr. Dre and Johnny Iovine of Beats, may join him up on the stage.

Images: Apple, Beats