Apple Details iPhone-Mac Developer Event

Apple will debut a new iPhone at its Worldwide Developer
Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco next month.

Or not.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is officially mum on the topic but tech rumor and gossip sites abound with speculation that Steve Jobs & Company will debut a new 3G (higher speed) version of the iPhone at the event.

What is known is the sold out WWDC, which runs from June 9 to 13, will include, for the first time, a separate track for the iPhone along with one for the Mac
and IT-related topics.

Even without a new iPhone, there’s plenty to cover. Apple released a beta of its first Software
Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone in March, and the finished version is
slated for completion in the next few months if Apple meets its own
timetable.

Apple’s iPhone software distribution plan lets developers publish
and sell (or offer for free) applications via an iTunes-like store, with
Apple taking a piece of any sales for hosting and distribution.

Apple also introduced a raft of
new tools
that let the iPhone communicate better with corporate systems
such as Microsoft’s Exchange server.

Although it might simply be last minute planning, there are some 13
sessions on the schedule grid currently marked “Session to be Announced,” which could
also indicate new iPhone-related topics the famously secretive company
doesn’t want to tip in advance.

WWDC kicks off with a keynote by Jobs on Monday morning June 9. Any major
announcements will almost certainly happen then. Traditionally, Apple only
admits a limited number of press to the keynote with the rest of the week
set aside for developers who’ve paid to attend.

Pushing for IT acceptance

Among the sessions are several designed specifically for enterprise or
corporate developers. Session headings include such titles as “Integrating
iPhone with IT,” “Enterprise iPhone Management with Configuration Profiles,” and “Deploying Macs in a Highly Secure Environment.”

The Macintosh has had something of a resurgence the past few years. In its
most recent quarterly report last month, Apple said Mac sales were up 51
percent year-over-year and running about 3.5 times the growth rate of PC
sales. Desktop Macs accounted for 37 percent of sales and laptops accounted
for 61 percent.

After years of floundering attempts at trying to make headway in the
corporate market, the effort was largely abandoned in the late ’90s when
Steve Jobs returned as CEO. Now the iPhone is such a hot seller it might
spark renewed interest for the Mac as well.

But the growth rate is also indicative of how far the Mac had fallen. It’s
certainly ironic, if not telling that 24 years after the introduction of the
first Mac, WWDC includes a session titled “Integrating Your Organization’s
First Macs” described in part:

“What strategies do you need to support your boss or a highly placed
executive who requests that Macs be considered first-class citizens in your
IT environment? Learn how to create a migration plan ..”

Analyst Tim Bajarin said Apple isn’t about to make a big time investment
on the scale of HP and IBM and others going after corporate accounts. “Look
at how much HP just paid
for EDS
. Apple doesn’t have the interest or stomach to go after large IT
accounts,” Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, told
InternetNews.com.

But Bajarin also said Apple wants to capitalize on several smart moves
that is helping to get more Macs in corporations through the back door. He
points to Apple’s decision to switch to Intel x86 processors and support
Windows applications with its own Bootcamp software as well as third party
offerings from Parallels and VMware, for making the Mac less of a gamble
for corporate users.

“Apple’s able to gain more traction with Macs that now have a PC mode and
the slow corporate adoption of Vista is also helping,” said Bajarin.

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