The Next Wave
The Apple hype-mobile starts again, with news likely to emerge from next week's Worldwide Developer Conference where iOS 5 will be shown with a possible new hardware unveiling. The hardware may be delayed to a specific launch later in the month but still, WWDC will be a massive platform for Apple and mobile developers to explore the latest iOS innovations and capabilities and learn how to build better apps.
Top of the agenda for Apple users will be "iCloud," which could see your music and other content head off into the ether. Apple is believed to have signed deals with the major labels, which will give them a big boost of similar offerings from Google and Amazon. At the same time, Apple will want to do all it can to push ahead of Microsoft's recent Mango phone update.
Additional innovations could be widgets that take over a row of the iPhone's app icons to show information you want to see at all times. Given that Google announced its NFC services last week, Apple would be missing a trick not to announce something, although the company has time on its side as Google's won't go live until the fall.
The only unhappy people, apart from the usual Apple-grumblers, will be iPhone 3GS owners for whom, rumor has it, the update won't be compatible with their only two-year old phones. That's a bit of a low blow, as the phone is still a happy performer and Apple shouldn't be nudging happy users up the food chain just yet. Perhaps there will be a 4.x update that offers some of the upgrades.
iPhone 5 or 4S Is Out There, Somewhere...
It is possible that iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S depending on how Apple decides to roll) will be announced next week, (the event will coincide with Microsoft's E3 gaming press event, ideal for scene-stealing announcements) but as of March, the device wasn't coming to the show.
CEO Steve Jobs will be making an appearance, and a mere OS update might be beneath him, so there is plenty of reason to expect a "one more thing" moment. Or, Apple could leave it for a special event, and with the various delays, that may be the preferred option. Those delays have led to a self-contained industry of must-have and rumor articles.
The latest of these refers to the ARM Cortex A9 processor as being inside the phone, which could sport an 8-megapixel camera in the same style design as the iPhone 4. With a possible release date of August, Apple will want the queues to be big, just as at previous launches, so despite the lack of hardware innovation, perhaps it is hoping that 3GS users will toss theirs away and go for the new model.
The iPhone 5 may not make it until early next year, with a radical redesign, including curved glass surfaces being mentioned and the much-mooted NFC technology inside. That could move Apple onto a biannual launch schedule, with the main update at the start of the year and the S versions mid-year.