Against the backdrop of shrinking profits and pressure to keep up the momentum in creating dazzling consumer products, electronics hardware and computer giant Apple has announced it will hold its Worldwide Developers Conference June 10-14 at San Francisco's Moscone West Conference Center.
More than 100 technical sessions will be held by more than 1,000 Apple engineers at WWDC, according to Apple's announcement, and tickets go on sale Thursday.
The Heat Is On
The stars of the show at WWDC are the updated versions of Apple's operating system, iOS, and computer operating system, OS X.
"Our developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever, and we're excited to show them the latest advances in technologies and tools to help them create innovative new apps," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in announcing the conference dates. "We can't wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC."
Apple has seen its share price drop from a high in September of $702.10, closing at $405.27 on Wednesday. According to Reuters, Apple predicts revenue of $33.5 billion to $35.5 billion in the current quarter, far short of average Wall Street benchmarks of $38.2 billion. With new models of the iPad and iPhone -- the latter is Apple's most profitable product -- in the works, sales will likely slow down in advance of their release.
According to IDC Research, tablets running Google's Android will outship Apple's iPad, which created the tablet market, for the first time this year. And Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy S IV smartphone, launching imminently, will likely take a huge bite out of sales of iPhone 5, which launched last September.
Like other top tech manufacturers, Apple is rumored to be considering a smart watch as the next big gadget to inject some excitement into devotees of its brand.
'Take Our Breath Away'
"The pressure is really turned up on Apple to take our breath away like the good ole days," technology consultant and commentator Jeff Kagan told us. "They have not had a new product launch in years. It's past time. They need to update everything and introduce something new. At least one thing that can really knock us off our feet."
The big question on everyone's mind, Kagan said, is what can that be?
"Every one of their previous products were new and innovative, starting an entirely new category," he said. "That is what I am expecting. If Apple can do that, if they can take our breath away again, perhaps they can restart their growth engines once again."
But he noted that Apple isn't expecting to launch anything new until the fall at the earliest.
"The ball is in Apple's court. Can they make lightning strike once again? We'll see," he said.
In addition to technical sessions, WWDC is also the forum for the annual Apple Design Awards, which recognize iPhone, iPad and Mac apps for excellence in innovation and design.