What to look for at WWDC 2012: Macs, Mountain Lion, iOS 6, maps and iCloud

The banners now decorating Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference venue indicate the event’s tagline is “Where great ideas go on to do great things.” It’s vague, as usual, making it’s hard to pinpoint what this year’s theme will be. Here’s what we’ll be watching for on Monday.

Digging deeper: Smaller changes in OS X Mountain Lion

The major new features in Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion are what everyone is talking about, but with every release of OS X, the company makes some smaller changes that escape the notice of most. We take a look at some of those changes.

With iMessage & notifications, OS X Mountain Lion looks more like iOS

Seven months after Mac OS X Lion, Apple is releasing its first developer preview of what comes next for its desktop OS, which will be called Mountain Lion. Like its predecessor, Apple’s upcoming desktop OS is starting to bear more than a passing resemblance to iOS.

Snapstream brings TV monitoring to the Mac

Snapstream is making its TV monitoring capabilities available to Mac users, with a Web-based video player and client that will let its customers search, view and clip live and recorded TV feeds. That could increase help its potential customer base, while making its existing base happier.

Is it time for Apple’s patent war to end?

In its fight with Android hardware-makers, Apple almost seems to see itself as a noble hero fighting a nefarious villain bent on stealing its identity and reputation. But just or not, is the fight one that makes sense to Apple from a practical and business standpoint?

How to identify the exact model of your old Mac

When you’re getting ready for a major OS upgrade — say, from Snow Leopard to Lion — it helps to know the exact specs of the Mac that you have. Here’s a simple way to figure it out, plus a list of resources to get additional help.

Buy, wait or skip: What’s your plan for OS X Lion?

OS X Lion is set to arrive sometime this month, and new reports suggest that it could be here as soon as next Wednesday at 9 AM. Will you be buying when it does arrive, and if not, why are you unsure about upgrading?

Will Apple Grow WWDC in the Wake of Sell-Outs?

Why didn’t Apple’s event organizers see a 2011 WWDC sell-out coming and expand as necessary? When looking to expand an event such as WWDC, there are a number of factors that Apple has to consider before taking that step, and the risk outweighs the reward.

Keep Your Address Book in Sync With Google

google-macOne of the reasons that I recently upgraded to Snow Leopard (s aapl) was the new ability to sync the Mac OS X Address Book with Gmail’s (s goog) or Google Apps’ Contacts. This function has been around for a while, but for some reason, it was previously available only to iPhone users.

I really appreciate well-produced synchronization, because I’ve experienced firsthand how difficult it is to get right. It seems that software developers can never quite agree on how to organize contact information, so everyone’s databases are different. For a long time, for instance, one of the major makers of financial management software didn’t even create city, state and ZIP/postal code fields, opting instead for an address field where all of that information was run together, making the data very difficult to parse.

So I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Snow Leopard’s “sync with Google” function, especially because I have a fairly large address book, and most of its entries have photos associated with them, something that very few sync solutions even try to support. Read More about Keep Your Address Book in Sync With Google