Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will kick off its annual developer conference in San Francisco on Monday. Generally, the iPhone maker doesn’t make any major product announcements in the WorldWide Developers Conference, but this year is a bit different.

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Apple, by its own standards, has not made any major product announcements after the last launch, yet  the company has reached the tail end of its several product cycles, and along with this it is facing intense competition from other players like Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V), BlackBerry and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

So, the Cupertino based firm is under pressure to make some major announcements, which will give investors something to cheer about.

Expected Announcements at Apple’s WWDC

Analysts and experts have been speculating on the possible long list of announcement that can be expected at the WWDC. Some of them include a launch of a new, low cost iPhone, an upgrade to the Mac computer lineup, and so on. On the hardware side, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to announce a streaming radio service, and a promotional offer to encourage users to switch to higher-end iPhones, says a report from Theglobeandmail.

The most awaited announcements, concerning the launch of an iPhone and a new iPad, may not come at WWDC, but they are expected to come before the end of the year.

At this week’s WWDC, the most expected announcement will be of an upgrade to the company’s iOS that powers the majority of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s mobile devices. CEO Tim Cook recently revealed that Jonathan Ive will head the update for iOS. Expectations have enhanced greatly as Ive was the person responsible for the iconic design of the original iPod and iPhone.

Analyst Colin Gillis from BGC technology said, “We look to see if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s industrial design head Jony Ive can port the talent he and his team have in hardware design to software design.” Most of the experts will be keenly watching to see if the visuals of the new iOS are impressive enough to boost demand for the iPhone, Gillis added.

Apple’s New Product Cycle:

In general, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new product cycle starts at WWDC. However, this will be by far the toughest year for Apple as it faces stiff competition from rivals who are constantly updating their product portfolios. The main rival will be Samsung, whose Galaxy ranges have performed extremely well in the U.S compared to Apple’s iPhone.