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Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 05:50 am PT (08:50 am ET)

Apple execs to keynote WWDC, issue final Snow Leopard preview

Apple said Wednesday that a team of its top executives lead by worldwide marketing chief Phil Schiller will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month with a keynote address on Monday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. that will showcase a final developer preview of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

The opening keynote address has historically been delivered by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who announced in January that he was taking a six-month medical leave from his day-to-day leadership role at the company to recover from complex health issues that may have resulted from his otherwise successful bout with pancreatic cancer five years ago.

Apple executives have maintained that Jobs will return to the company in some capacity by the end of June. In the meantime, worldwide marketing chief Phil Schiller has been filling in for the company co-founder, delivering what was widely regarded as a successful keynote presentation at this year's Macworld Expo. Other members of Apple's top brass have also pitched in, like Senior Vice President iPhone Software Scott Forstall, who a couple of months later hosted a smaller media event on the company's Cupertino-based campus to preview iPhone Software 3.0.

Next month's WWDC is expected to showcase even more of Apple's top talent, who'll take turns updating attendees on the most recent advances in both Mac OS X and iPhone software. Among the execs expected to join Schiller on stage is Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, Bertrand Serlet, who'll bring developers up to date on the company's plans for the upcoming release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and deliver a feature complete beta of the operating systems to attendees.

"Last June, we gave developers an early look at the powerful new technologies that form the underpinnings of Mac OS X Snow Leopard," Serlet said. "At WWDC, we will be giving our developers a final Developer Preview release so they can see the incredible progress we've made on Snow Leopard and work with us as we move toward its final release."

As part of its ongoing coverage of Snow Leopard, AppleInsider had repeatedly noted that WWDC would see developers equipped with a feature-complete beta of the operating system, which may include some interface changes. People familiar with the matter have estimated that Apple will need roughly two months following the conference to bring the software to market, suggesting a release in the August time frame.

Snow Leopard and Mac technical sessions at WWDC will showcase the hundreds of refinements to the operating system and dive into its new technologies including a 64-bit architecture, QuickTime X, next-generation multicore and GPU processor support, and new accessibility technologies, according to Apple. Meanwhile, iPhone OS 3.0 technical sessions will reportedly cover introductory and advanced concepts to help developers get the most out of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK and the more than 1,000 new APIs available for iPhone OS 3.0.

WWDC will also offer attendees the rare opportunity to work side-by-side with Apple engineers to solve code-level issues, gain insight into development techniques and get expert advice on interface design. Over 100 technical sessions will be presented by more than 1,000 Apple engineers. The conference is sold out.