Apple announces WWDC dates, iPhone announcement expected

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Apple has announced the date for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which many believe will also see the launch of the next iPhone.

The annual event will run over five days starting on 7 June, with more than 5,000 Apple application developers expected to descend on Moscone West in San Francisco.

WWDC gives developers a forum to share ideas, and more than 100 technical sessions will be held over the five days to give participants an in-depth look at the latest techniques and developments and how they can be applied in creating better applications for Apple's platforms.

However, over the past few years Apple has used its keynote address at the conference to announce its latest iPhone news. A year ago, Apple vice-president Phil Schiller, deputising for an ill Steve Jobs, took to the stage to announce the iPhone 3GS. The year before it was the iPhone 3G, and while 2007's conference wasn't the first time the original iPhone was talked about, Jobs did use the platform to announce its launch date.

For developers, however, new product announcements are likely to be less of an attraction than the sessions and labs focusing on developing apps for those products especially given the launch of the iPad in recent months.

"The sessions at this year's WWDC will quickly dive into techniques that will help you master developing with the latest technologies in iPhone OS and Mac OS X," the WWDC site confirms.

Sessions will be split into five categories: application frameworks, core OS, developer tools, graphics and media frameworks, and internet and web lab.

Other attractions at WWDC include the long-running Apple Design Awards, which this year will recognise the best iPhone and iPad applications. The specific awards handed out each year vary, and this year the Mac software category has given way to the new iPad app award, with the iPhone OS clearly top priority in Apple's thinking right now.

Nominations for each award are only open to iPhone Developer Program members, with technology adoption, design and user experience, innovation and performance among the criteria used in deciding a winner.

In other news, Apple has snapped up US startup Siri, the company behind a voice-controlled personal search assistant for the iPhone that helps users find places of interest, local restaurants and the like simply by stating questions out loud.

Apple is rumoured to have paid around $200 million for Siri, with the move seen by many to be as much about keeping the technology out of its rivals' hands as it is about Apple using it itself.