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Apple's WWDC: What to Expect (Update 2)

iOS 7

One of the main attractions at WWDC will be Apple's next mobile operating system, iOS 7. The previous mobile OS, iOS 6, had many improvements and features over the previous version, and this update is expected to be a dramatic reimagining of what iOS looks like.

Since Scott Forstall was ousted at Apple, Jony Ive has taken a larger role in developing Apple's software. Ive is expected to make the operating system look much flatter and get rid of the skeuomorphism (making the icons look like real world objects), leading to a more timeless design. This would be a drastic change for iOS and, quite frankly, Apple needs to inject a little bit of life into the OS to give it a new feel.

Some of the new features, aside from a complete redesign, include the upgrade of Apple Maps. Last year, Apple removed Google (GOOG) Maps as the standard mapping application in its software, sparking much controversy and finger-pointing.

Topeka Capital Markets Analyst Brian White believes that Apple is facing increased pressure from Android, and that's part of the reason for the iOS 7 redesign. "As such, we expect Apple to continue to innovate on the iOS front for mobile devices and also update OS X for the Mac," White wrote in his note. He said he expects Ive's redesigns to show up in iOS 7 first. He rates Apple shares "buy" with an $888 price target.

Apple may also be pushing continued integration with social features. Last year, Apple announced a partnership with Facebook (FB - Get Report), along with its previous integration of Twitter into iOS 5. CEO Tim Cook has said in the past that Apple doesn't need to own a social network when partnerships will suffice. "We do some things that are social: iMessage, Game Center," Cook said at the D11 conference while noting that Apple would open its API a bit more than it had in the past.

There may also be big changes to the actual operating system itself, especially as it pertains to swiping. This is something that consumers and investors alike will want to keep an eye on because it may provide an entirely new way of using iOS.

Regarding Apple's digital wallet solution, Apple may also choose to integrate Passbook with iTunes and make that a prominent feature in iOS 7. Cook recently said that it's still early days for this tech area, hinting that Apple might have something to offer here. "I think it's in its infancy, Gene [Munster]," Cook said, discussing Apple's latest earnings. "I think it's just getting started and just out of the starting block."
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