Thousands of software and application engineers have already sold out next week's developers conference mounted by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company.
The draw is so huge that Apple, which reported cash and investments of nearly $110 billion at the end of its most recent quarter, charges admission to a week of sessions and technical briefings. Expected but not confirmed is a briefing by CEO Timothy D. Cook on Monday.
We can't wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers, said Philip Schiller, senior vice president for worldwide marketing.
While the Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple never pre-announces products or releases specifications, merely assembling its developers should yield vital information about new products, as well as some thoughts about current sales.
Apple shares traded on Monday at $573.43, down $6.89 or about 1.2 percent, a drop from their record high of $644 on April 10. Positive spin will likely affect the price all next week.
Meanwhile, here are some key points to watch for:
iOS and OS X Mountain Lion news. Operating systems are the glue of the computer, smartphone and tablet sector, where Apple is a huge market leader. Apple provided early details about OS X Mountain Lion on Feb. 16 with the intention of rolling out new products by the third quarter, around the time Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world's biggest software company, starts shipping the final version of Windows 8, its principal OS.
Mountain Lion converges much of the older iOS with new features from the iPhone 4S so that new Macs and other products will have contacts rather than address books and the iCal will be dubbed calendar.
The new OS also has a feature called AirPlay which will transmit images from the Mac or other products to HDTV. This could be a likely architectural preview to an Apple TV offering, said Scott Sutherland, analyst with Wedbush Securities.
As well, Cook indicated last week that Siri, the voice-recognition service designed into the iPhone 4S, needs to be improved. Will that be integrated into Mountain Lion?
New Macs with new Intel chips. Generally expected is a refreshment of the Mac line, as many as 14 models, with the new Ivy Bridge chips from Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), the No. 1 chipmaker, in time for the September academic season.
As well, analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies expects some models of Macbook Pro could get Retina displays and new solid-state drives (SSDs) from Intel. The upshot: they'll be lighter, faster and come with better graphics than before.
This would naturally benefit Intel, because the chipmaker's Ultrabook line is designed to compete against the Macs. All of its major PC vendors have ordered it.
iTV comments and plans. For months, Apple's TV plans have been rumored, especially as consumer electronics giants like Samsung Electronics (Seoul: 5930) have introduced new interactive TVs with highly advanced features.
Apple has been testing iTV in the labs of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the No. 1 telecommunications carrier, Jefferies' Misek said. Similar tests are underway at Rogers Communications (Pink: RCIAF) in Canada as well as at Deutsche Telekom (PINK: DTEGY) and France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), he added.
Already a music powerhouse with iTunes and a content powerhouse with all its media suppliers to the iPad, Apple TV could be a new dimension.
Hints on iPhone refreshment. Analysts for JPMorgan Securities in Hong Kong say Apple's Chinese subcontractors are starting to make the next-generation of iPhones, with better displays and thinner screens, as well as new features.
Apple doesn't comment but has said new phones will possess long-term evolution (LTE) capability and be compatible with all the 4G upgrades by major carriers in the U.S. and worldwide.
Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones in the second quarter ended March 31, an 88 percent boost from the year-earlier period. Besides continued strong demand in the U.S., where both Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S) and Leap Wireless International (Nasdaq: LEAP) have announced they'll start selling pre-paid models, Apple is expected to announce far more coverage in China, its No. 2 market.
So these could be harbingers of an iPhone 5 or whatever Apple wants to dub it. Apple has never had any trouble selling them since they were first shipped exactly five years ago.