[WWDC 2012](https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/) is coming next week, and along with it a fresh wave of rumours and speculation about the next iPhone is building up. WWDC is Apple's annual developer conference – a [sell-out](https://twitter.com/marcedwards/status/195160527511617538/photo/1) event for ~5,000 developers of Mac and iOS software who get a chance to hear about platform developments, speak to the people who put the software and APIs together, and Apple's big opportunity to share a lot of information in a short space of time. A new iPhone launch generally means two things; a new iPhone handset, and an update to the iOS operating system. This means that iPhone and iPad users are hoping to hear about new features that will be coming to their older devices. But the iOS platform isn't just about the operating system; it covers a whole ecosystem of 3rd party applications. If Apple want to make significant changes that will improve what developers can do, they need to inform the developers so that they can be preparing their applications for the release of the latest version. So there is an expectation that WWDC will bring significant news about Apple's plans for the future of their platforms. And assuming that the new iPhone will come along with iOS6 later this year (I'd expect September, like last year), WWDC is a well-timed opportunity to prepare developers for the changes ahead. (There is also the matter of a new OSX version coming up – probably with some new features that we don't yet know about.) With [a whole bunch of sessions](http://daringfireball.net/2012/05/reading_way_too_much_into_wwdc_schedule) listed on the schedule as simply "TBA", there is a particularly high expectation that something significant is brewing. While that might be simply Apple running late in organising who will talk where or late changes to the schedule, it seems likely that there are major platform changes afoot – possibly even a whole new platform for developers to use. But, until WWDC, that is about as much as we really know right now. Which makes it an interesting time for speculation… ### How the iPhone market has changed Last September, after the iPhone 4S was announced, I [wrote a piece](http://emergingspaces.co.uk/content/iphones-and-smartphones-move-mainstream) for my work's blog about the implications for Apple's broader strategy. In short;
- The availability of the 3Gs model for 'free' opened the target market up completely – Apple are now aiming beyond the smartphone market, and at the entire mobile handset market.
- With the launch of iCloud and Siri, Apple's iPhone product is now just as much about Apple's online services as it is the handset.
- Along with the growing market, expectation for the 'iPhone 5' had exceeded those for all previous iPhone launches.