|By Shelly Palmer||
|June 1, 2014 10:01 PM EDT||
Fresh off its $3 billion deal to buy headphone maker and streaming-music service Beats Electronics, Apple takes the stage Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The annual gathering of Apple’s developers – starting with the keynote speech at 10 a.m. local time – offers the company an opportunity to strengthen ties with 5,000 faithful and build excitement for future products. There’s more anticipation than usual because Chief Executive Tim Cook has promised that Apple will enter new product categories this year. Apple’s Internet services chief Eddy Cue heightened expectations last week, saying the company’s product pipeline is the best he’s seen in 25 years. Apple has been riding a wave of momentum in recent weeks from a combination of strong quarterly earnings, a 7-for-1 stock split that takes effect Monday, and plans to repurchase additional billions in shares.