Kevin Fox

The coming iCloud: Apple experts predict what's about to debut at the WWDC

June 6, 2011: 3:29 AM ET

Apple's pre-announcements -- of Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud -- have only made things worse

Moscone West on Sunday night. Photo: PED

I've never see the Apple (AAPL) cognoscenti quite so confused. They're all in town for the Worldwide Developers Conference that opens Monday at San Francisco's Moscone West -- the first one since 2007 that doesn't feature a new iPhone. And without that shiny piece of hardware to anchor their thoughts, they seem to be adrift.

Last week, at least, there was something to focus on. Music industry executives who can't keep a secret from here to the sidewalk made it sound like iCloud was all about music and their 11th-hour deals with Apple -- deals that will allow their songs to be streamed from Cupertino's servers to iPhones, Macs and iPads. But a music streaming service -- especially one that is rumored to work only with songs purchased through the iTunes store -- didn't seem big enough to justify the high-volume build-up Apple has given this year's WWDC.

So over the weekend, there was a flurry of deeper thinking about what iOS 5 (the new mobile operating system), OS X Lion (the new desktop operating system) and iCloud (the new Internet service) might add up to. Unfortunately, none of it quite fit together. With less than 12 hours to go before Steve Jobs takes the stage, three major threads dominated the conversation: More

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