Apple has announced that the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Keynote will be live streamed on June 2. Considering that Apple's hardware announcements of late have been sparse and there's a huge AAPL stock split coming right after, my belief is that something big is brewing.
First, this is a rare public streaming of the WWDC keynote. That portends something big and of interest to the general public. Next, Apple's Eddy Cue recently said that he thinks Apple has the best product pipeline he's seen in his 25 years at Apple. Next, Tim Cook has been roundly criticized for talking about exciting new product categories, but not delivering anything in 2014. He'll want to fix that and fix it good.
Finally, the timing of WWDC and Apple's announced 7-1 stock split is no accident. The stock split means that many more average investors, not just hedge fund managers and institutional investors, will be able to invest in Apple. WWDC should ignite the purchase and value of AAPL.
To me, this means that something BIG is going to happen during this keynote, one that's been allocated a full 2 hours.
1. Home Automation. From what I've seen, I think Apple's biggest opportunity and biggest splash could well relate to both home automation and, perhaps related, a next generation Apple TV. Perhaps they're the same product, but perhaps they'll be separate.
Kelly Guimont and I discussed our interest and some possibilities in "Apple Home and TV Automation Concepts: Thinking Outside the Puck." Perhaps in no other area of our lives is Apple able and ready to disrupt the industry and deliver fundamental, easy-to-use solutions than with a home automation system managed with a smartphone.
2. iWatch. This is problematic. My colleague, Bryan Chaffin, thinks that the iWatch will be announced in a separate event in the fall. However, considering that the iWatch has been the most talked Apple product in the last two years, I'm thinking there's a good chance (70-30), that Apple will announce the frameworks for iWatch development with shipments to start in September or October. Developers will need a head start to build apps.
Bryan believes that the chances are (2-98) against any iWatch announcement and points to a lack of supply chain rumors of imminent productions. I counter that secrecy is at an all time high, and any supplier who leaks its production plans can count on the loss of billions in revenue. I'm liking my 70-30 odds for an announcement but not availability.
3. Beats. No doubt CEO Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young (Dr. Dre) will appear on stage with Tim Cook to publicly announce Apple's acquisition. Even though the deal isn't formally closed, they'll likely introduce a rather cool initiative they have planned to add some fuel to the fire.
4. iOS 8. Now that iOS 7 has more or less setled down in changes to its look and feel, iOS 8 will probably usher in some features to support future initiatives. iOS 8 will likely have the key changes for developers to support a 4.7 and perhaps a 5.5-inch display, but this will held firmly and quietly under NDA. It may flesh-out what's needed for Passbook, iBeacon and remote payments refinements.
I've seen rumors that Apple will introduce a well managed infrastructure that retains security essentials but allows inter-app communication in a multi-display mode. This will help with content creation. Finally, it's time to address the most requested fixes to irritants, things that could help Apple better compete against Samsung.
5. OS X 10.10. My crystal ball is hazy here. Apple will likely continue to bring more visual and functional harmony between OS X and iOS — without trying to actually merge the two very distinct operating systems. We can expect to see the hand of Jony Ive in this new version and some traditional skeuomorphism to fade away. Hopefully, Siri will make it into OS X 10.10. Finally, and this is just a guess, Apple will make it much easier to transfer files between OS X and iOS.
6. iPhone 6. The one thing we won't hear a thing about is the iPhone 6. The best guess we have is that this new iPhone will appear in September. If Apple were to say anything about it in a publicly streamed keynote on Monday, sales of the 5s would dramatically tank for the next few months.
That's what we're thinking here at TMO. What's your take?