Apple's Craig Federighi introduces OS X Mavericks at WWDC 2013. Kimberly White/Getty Images.
Technology diehards circle only a few dates a year in bold red marker. The first week in January brings the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft's Build conference is a must. Don't forget Google's I/O conference later this month. But there's an unidentifiable energy that surrounds Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. Maybe it's because Apple has a track record of being a disruptive hardware maker, having led the charge on portable music players, tablets, and smartphones. It's because of this that WWDC attracts a certain "what will they think of next" excitement.
This year's conference will continue the trend.
Next Monday at 1 pm ET, everyone will be able to watch the hour-and-and-a-half live stream of Apple's tech deluge, bringing (hopefully) new gadgets, details on new partnerships, and improved software to a user base that's been starved for official news from Cupertino for months. There's definitely a lot look forward to, but here four things in particular that have us feeling a little restless for Monday.
Conversations and rumors surrounding Healthbook, Apple's software take on the growing mobile healthcare trend, began around the beginning of this year. Slowly, more and more information surrounding this app came to light. From preliminary descriptions, Healthbook is an all-in-one, quantified-self hub that will be able to track your calories, steps walked, hydration levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, among other things. Last year, Apple began , evidence of the company's growing interest in health.
With so many reported functions of Healthbook, especially heart rate and blood pressure, the rumored iPhone 6 (don't worry, we'll get to that in a second) would have to have a few more bells and whistles, similar to Samsung's Galaxy S5 heart rate monitor. However, Apple could be taking an arguably smarter approach by relegating that function to Apple's rumored iWatch. However, it's possible that the long-awaited wrist wearable .
Apple will also be entering home automation with a rumored "made for iPhone" program, which will most likely be outlined in more detail on Monday. Original reports pegged Apple with grand ambitious and as having the capability to show the smart home industry a few tricks, but instead paints a different picture. Essentially, Apple will be working with hardware partners to help decrease fragmentation among third-party apps. What this means is that some devices or apps might support Siri voice integration, allowing users to control certain functions without ever opening a native app.
Regardless of what Apple's intentions are, it's an important first step toward an iOS-powered smart home for a company that, until now, appeared to have little to no interest in the idea at all.
Apple's acquisition of Beats Electronics has been the biggest official news from Apple for quite some time. Although the $3 billion purchase is nothing but good news for the company, we're not exactly sure what CEO Tim Cook has in mind for Beats Electronics. At its most simple, Apple wanted the hardware, the brand recognition, its streaming software (Beats Music), and the man behind it all—not Dr. Dre—but Jimmy Iovine. Basically, you'd call that a win-win-win-win.
Questions still remain whether we'll see deep product integration (remember when HTC branded their phones with the familiar Beats logo?) or more of a conglomeration approach with Apple just wanting in on the future that Beats Electronics is building. Hopefully, we'll see at least some of their ideas on Monday despite fact that the business deal is still waiting review from regulators.
Be prepared: Big iPhones are coming. Earlier this year, several outlets reported that Apple would be bumping up the size of its iPhone collection to 4.7 inches and another that will be even larger still. But apart from its size, not much else will be changing with these devices from the 5s.
There's nothing certain on whether we'll see a completely reimagined iPhone iteration (most likely named iPhone 6) or not. Even if the details on a new iPhone aren't spilled on Monday, the announcement should come shortly after if Apple still plans to hit a summer/fall release date.