June 4, 2012 at 4:36 PM ET
Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) runs June 11 through June 15. Because the event kicks off with a keynote presentation, there's always plenty of speculation regarding what might be announced. One hot topic: The next iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 6, the Apple product most likely to be discussed when the event kicks off.
Apple is in the habit of previewing major iOS updates during its summer developer fest, a global crossroads for Mac and iOS programmers. Apple announced iOS 5 during WWDC 2011, though it didn't ship it until the iPhone 4S launched last October. Additionally, OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, is due to hit virtual shelves this summer — and an iOS update would complement that perfectly.
In fact, 9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman reports that "trusted sources" tell him that the next version of iOS will borrow a lot of features from the upcoming release of OS X Mountain Lion.
Gurman's sources say that a feature called iCloud Tabs will allow "iCloud users to view a list of tabs opened in the Safari web browser across multiple iOS devices and Macs." In other words, your Web browsing experience will be synced across devices.
Another Mountain Lion feature which will supposedly come to iOS 6 is Mail VIPs. This means that you'll be able to mark specific individuals to as important and have their messages starred, so that you notice them sooner.
Do Not Disturb
There will also be a "Do Not Disturb" feature, Gurman says. This feature will allow you to temporarily toggle off notifications, alerts and banners when you need a bit of quiet time. (This could be handy if you're doing some quiet reading, trying to focus on a task or don't want a game interrupted by a popup notification.)
Siri for iPad
iOS 6 will also bring Siri support to the iPad, another "trusted source" told Gurman. The virtual assistant will be different on Apple's tablet though. Siri will apparently be confined to a small corner of the screen on the iPad, and only appear in a small pane which slides out from the bottom of the screen.
According to BGR's Jonathan Geller, iOS 6 will bring 3-D mapping features. Geller's own "trusted source" says that the Maps app will soon include a new look and some rather awesome — albeit not very useful seeming — 3-D geographical features. You can check out mockups of the new Maps app over at BGR.
As recent remarks by Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested, iOS 6 will likely include Facebook integration — similar to the Twitter integration already found in iOS 5. This notion has been backed up by multiple reports.
All Things D's Kara Swisher and TechCrunch's MG Siegler, both tech reporters prone to getting things right when it comes to Facebook, say that they've got sources who say that Facebook and Apple are finally ready to update their relationship statuses. (Pardon the pun, I couldn't resist.) Of course, things could change if Facebook put out its own phone, and stepped into direct competition with the hardware/software giant.
The rumors are starting to pile up, but that's all they are at this point — rumors from anonymous sources. While much of what we discussed above is likely and certainly desirable, we'll take all of them with a grain of salt for now and see what happens on June 11.
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