The news sounds a little bit like the opening sequence to a high-budget action movie. It seems that at least a few Apple Stores have received unscheduled visits from employees out of Apple’s corporate headquarters (who reportedly had back-of-house access codes and keys, along with passwords for local servers in the retail stores). If you don’t mind, I am choosing to picture them wearing all black and moving around like stealthy ninjas.
Their mission? We presume it is some kind of effort to ready the stores for whatever it is Apple is planning to announce at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Other back of house employees at a Texas Apple Store (and other stores as well, I would presume) have been notified that they should expect to work late on June 5. No details have been given of course, but unless they are just trying to generate hype there are likely some changes in the works (signage? layout?).
Whatever it is, clearly there is some relation to the upcoming conference and the always-anticipated keynote from Apple. What are they announcing? The developer conference has become much more of a software-related launch event which would mean we can likely expect news on Mac OS X Mountain Lion, perhaps something to do with Siri (coming out of beta? extending the beta to the iPad? releasing an API to developers for third-part apps?) or maybe even a teaser for iOS 6 with things like the new Maps app (though I would be really surprised to see them even using the term ‘iOS 6′ with iOS 5 still shiny and new, relatively speaking). Of course the other big ‘software’ upgrade we are all expecting is related to iCloud, with enhancements for sharing content and managing files expected sometime soon.
I think geeks everywhere are always hoping for new hardware to play with following one of these signature keynotes. With the recent refresh to the Apple TV earlier this year it seems entirely too early to see any real iTV movement right now, but the MacBook Pro lineup is long overdo for some attention and may pair nicely with the developers in the audience at this event. One other often rumored device is the mini iPad, which may tie in nicely if any of the announcements are related to their educational and textbook efforts –but it is likely safe to assume that this is a streth as well.
This is the first WWDC post-Jobs and it will be Tim Cook’s opportunity to show exactly which direction he is steering the ship.