Despite press invitations to publications in the UK and Australia, it looks like Apple's WWDC 2011 announcements will be limited to the future of iOS and Mac OS X. The next generation iPhone will certainly be running iOS 5, the next generation mobile operating system from Apple. More details of exactly what's in store for the new firmware have been leaking left and right from sources in the know.
According to TechCrunch, iOS 5 will feature widgets much like the dashboard widgets found on Apple desktop computers. These would allow iPhone owners to quickly view current information on the screen without even unlocking the device. Examples of widgets include weather, calendar entries and other displays updated in real time.
Thinking you can keep your iPhone 3GS and take advantage of all the new features and improvements that iOS 5 will offer this fall? Think again. Apple is rumored to be leaving the 3GS hardware behind when it updates its mobile operating system to the latest and greatest version. Already the previous discontinued model iPhone 3G is stuck at iOS 4.2.1 and can't take advantage of many iOS 4 features.
The move could signal major changes in iOS 5 that will require improved hardware such as that found inside the iPhone 4. Apple is expected to focus on the next version of iOS and mobile software development at the annual WWDC coming in the first week of June. The fifth generation mobile operating system is expected to support new cloud-based features including streaming media and storage solutions provided by Apple.
UPDATE: Apple will release iOS 5 on Wednesday October 12, 2011.
Apple has released major updates to the iOS mobile operating system to coincide with every new iPhone hardware launch. Here are release dates for each iOS version:
iOS 1.0: Friday June 29, 2007
iOS 2.0: Friday July 11, 2008
iOS 3.0: Wednesday June 17, 2009
iOS 4.0: Monday June 21, 2010
Apple could be setting its sights on a feature well-known to Android smartphone owners, the over-the-air (OTA) update. Currently iPhone users are required to connect their handsets to a computer and deliver operating system updates via the iTunes application. Lately these updates have been around 600 megabytes, containing a new version of iOS in its entirety.
Moving to OTA updates would avoid the entire process of having to be around a computer to get the latest iOS features and fixes, but would also require Apple to reduce updates in size significantly. 9to5 Mac reveals that Apple and Verizon Wireless have been in talks over enabling OTA updates for iOS for over a year.
Just the other day, Bloomberg reported on the long-anticipated iPhone nano, a smaller iPhone in the works at Apple. Now the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that such a device is in development and should see release this summer. According to the report, the smaller iPhone will be around half the size of the current iPhone 4.
Patents for a mini-iPhone first surfaced almost four years ago, and since then Apple executives have discouraged rumors that a smaller smartphone is under development. Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal claim to have seen a prototype device, dubbed the N97.