Apple's WWDC: What to Expect

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone 5 won't be in attendance, but a few other very huge items are on the docket Monday for the company's World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco, which starts at 1 p.m. ET.

It's the first WWDC in four years that doesn't focus on the iPhone, a product refresh that is likely to take place this fall. Instead, Apple is expected to show off a few gems like new versions of its Mac OS and iPhone iOS 5 software, a possible update to its MacBook Air, an inspiring performance from co-founder Steve Jobs, and lastly, the long-awaited unveiling of iCloud, a service that could help transform Apple.

The keynote to these annual developer events is usually a consumer-focused showcase for Apple's latest innovations. It's the annual big show of the cards, by the company that has far and away the hottest hand at the tech table.

Here's what's on tap:

Mac OS X Lion

If Apple saved the "king of the jungle" name for this latest version of its computer operating system, then it better deliver the lion's share of innovations. Right?

Speculation calls for Lion to sell for $30, the same price as its predecessor, Ice Panther ... Sorry, Snow Leopard. There's also some chatter about a Lion/iCloud bundle. Either way, the demos today will probably focus on a crop of new Mac apps that Lion makes happen.

iPhone iOS 5

So iPhone iOS 5 but no iPhone 5? That's a little awkward. Only Steve Jobs can smooth over the untimely absence of the fifth version of the iPhone and the on-time arrival of the fifth version of its software.

Look for a lot of iCloud integration in the newest iPad and iPhone software system.

MacBook Air

A refreshed line up of Apple's ultra-sleek MacBook Airs is also expected Monday. The possible upgrades include Intel's ( INTC) Sandy Bridge processor and the wicked-fast Thunderbolt data port, according to DigiTimes.

Apple wasn't first with a super-slim notebook, but the Mac Book Air's blade-thin metallic design has the rest of the PC industry sharpening looks to catch up. A big surprise here would be a price cut below the $1,000 level. With a hot design and a lower price, Apple would likely rob even more business from its notebook rivals HP ( HPQ), Dell ( DELL) and Acer.

Steve Jobs

A big part of today's show will be the showman. Tech has no bigger master of ceremonies than Steve Jobs. He's the inspiring and irreplaceable force behind Apple's success, and without him, the company's future is far less certain. That's why each public appearance matters so much.

iCloud

Apple has finally gotten comfortable enough with network-based services to put its name on it.

The iCloud promises to be the music streaming song locker that iTunes has always lacked. Good bye MobileMe, the $100-a-year email, contact and calendar syncing service; hello $$ iCloud, which promises access to all your files on all your Mac devices. The speculation has been that Apple may charge $25 a year for the service. There have also been reports that Apple will shell out as much as $150 million in upfront payments to the record companies that agreed to the streaming music license.

Pressure is on. Rivals like Google ( GOOG) and Amazon ( AMZN) have already introduced their cloud streaming and storage plans; even Microsoft had a big "to the cloud" marketing campaign. Apple needs to show how iCloud gets it right.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter at MoritzDispatch

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