iOS 5, OS X Lion and iCloud but no iPhone 5?

Apple’s WWDC promises to bring in many new features to the range, but just what can we expect?

There’s a lot of buzz at the moment around next week’s World Wide Developer Conference. Steve Jobs, who is still on sick leave from Apple will be announcing a new line of products including the much anticipated OS X Lion and iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad along with a brand new service called iCloud.

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Putting the Apple in TV

Apple this week have launched an attempt to transform yet another market, which some see as becoming stale and outdated; television. No doubt many were disappointed that no iphone or iPad updates were released apart from iOS4.2 as rumours had predicted for the Christmas market. However, the extremely exciting announcement of the new Apple TV picks up where it’s predecessor model left off (generally considered to be a flop, and just one of Jobs own pet projects) in beginning to make television much more networked an experience.

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iPhone OS 4.0 demo time

It’s been a good month for Apple, the iPad has finally hit the shelves and was whipped up in the first day by eager fans and tech shoppers, and after much waiting and speculating; iPhone OS 4.0 is also finally set to be announced.

It is expected that on Thursday (tomorrow) Apple will be announcing the details of the long awaited update which will be sent out to around 40million iPhones and 300,000+ iPads in June.

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iPhone set to multitask your life!

Apple is set to release one of the most anticipated and useful updates of the iPhone’s existence in June, along with a major mobile operating system update; iPhone OS 4.0. Multitasking is set to be included in the latest software update, filling what was seen as a gaping hole in the benefits list of the iPhone specs.

The iPhone is one of few smart-phones which has not enabled multitasking, which is seen by most as a serious downfall when going to consider a new phone. Mostly, however, the cult of Apple and the handsets’ momentum in sales has kept this from being too serious an issue for first time consumers or the company in general.

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An Apple a day, keeps the competition away…

Apple has changed the world, literally. They’ve let us bring our music libraries with us where ever we go, made smart phones cool for the average joe blogs, now they’re going to shake up up portables and how we read news and magazines.

While this is brilliant for us, who are now so used to seeing the Apple logo, it’s practically one of our five-a-day now. The Software and hardware giant has also livened up competition, made other companies fight for our attention and forcing them to produce machines that don’t just work, but look attractive.

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The iPad is here!!! Now what’s it all about?

Here at last! Steve Jobs finally announced the new iPad (iSlate turns out to be just fan speculation) to a crowd of gathered journalists. Now that we’ve all gotten our jaws off the floor at what a gorgeous and sleek device the iPad truly is – let’s see what’s under the hood.

IPad seen here with dock and keyboad... isn't it lovely?

Only half an inch thick and weighing .9kg you won’t even feel the pad in your bag. These measurements were generally to be expected given Apple’s love of the slim and the need for portability which would outdo its rivals. The battery will last you about ten hours, which is a lot longer then most laptops and netbooks available on the market today.

The screen is somewhat smaller than most were expecting at only 9.7”, this however is still perfect for magazines, books, movies, music, writing and pretty much anything else you can think of! It uses LED display with IPS meaning that from whichever angle you see it at you get no fading and still get a good strong image.

The first of the TWO models, which has WiFi only is shipping in March, with the follow up second model will have both WiFi and 3G and will be shipping in America, anyway, in April.  The basic version will be just $499 which is about €350 and well below what anyone had previously expected. Rumours are rising about who on this side of the pond will be getting the 3G rights, AT&T, traditional American carrier of the iPhone is said to already have secured its deal, so if history is to be repeated then it looks like O2 might have it in the bag. The 3G version will probably be more expensive, but even then will still be affordable and give e-readers and other tablets, slates or pads a run for their money.

Speaking of e-readers, the iPad will come with a brand new native app; iBook. This app will, essentially be an e-reader  and bookshop all in one, and allow you to download books straight to the device without ever leaving iBook and read them on the large, crisp display. Exactly how this reading experience will compare to e-ink, which is designed  to mimic paper is hard to tell. Apple are probably aiming more for the magazine and newspaper market, and trying to pick up ebooks while they go.

iBook store will give Amazon a good fight, but will it win over book fans? Hard to tell, doesn't bowl me over too much...

Apple are also reporting that the full 140,000 of their apps, currently available in their app store will be ready to go for the iPad for when it comes out in the shops, by which time there will be a whole mountain of apps ready for the platform as developers speed up creating new apps specifically tailored for the larger screen and faster processor. This also goes a long way to securing and keeping Apple’s 99.4% market share of all applications, leaving Nokia and Google in the shade with little hope in the short term of gaining any major ground.

Also bundled In are all the apps we know and love from the iPhone, such as Contacts, Safari, Mail, Maps, etc.The layout of the interface is extremely similar to the iPhone/iPod screen, just with more space between apps also allowing for a background image, and allowing for the multiple home screens which you can swipe between for your various applications.

Some standard ideas still follow through from the iPhone with a multitouch screen, allowing for a more flowing navigation of your files and apps. The 30-pin connector located just under the standard ‘Home’ button are also some friendly and familiar faces, and fit in nice and seamlessly with the device and make it look more like an iPhone then just the screen of a MacBook taken off the keyboard.

Some new innovations come with the A4 chip which has been designed by the Apple team specifically for the iPad, which is supposed to make the device far more efficient than others.

The iPad also comes with a choice of storage sizes all flash based, 16, 32, and 64GB, which is similar to the iPhone storage and should be enough to hold anything you really want to carry around, given that the iPad isn’t really a netbook, but more than a phone the storage sizes aren’t hugely surprising.

Still no flash?

Some things missing, however are making small holes in the otherwise glowing facade of Apple’s latest product. Apple had an excuse for not having flash on the original iPhone, and maybe even on the 3G, but for the iPad? Certainly not – for such a media oriented device it is quite unusual for it not to carry support for one of the most used animation tools and what can often be the basics of many websites out there today. Many people expected support for the popular plug-in, and there is a minor sense of disappointment at it not being at the party. Two other things which were speculated were a webcam and USB port, although these were probably filed under the category of “they’d be handy” and mostly on a small number of fans wish lists, few really ever expected that either would make a real appearance.

Prices start low and go up depending on what you’re looking for, as you can see below;

16 GB  32 GB  64 GB

Wi-Fi                   $499   $599   $699

Wi-Fi + 3G           $629  $729   $829

Rumours have also been circulating over the magazines and newspapers which will be signing up for the new iPad. So far it has been suggested that the New York Times, Vogue and Wired are just some of the publications which are waiting to release their own apps or iPad formatted editions.

Over all it looks to be a brilliant device, and although there wasn’t a huge amount of surprises hidden away other then the name, the iPad has still managed to impress. Whether it will kill off the e-reader, it can’t be said until people actually begin reading on the iPad. It will also be interesting to see how Apple regulate their books.  Which we’ll also have to wait and see for, given the current debates on how ebook downloads should be regulated.

A desirable device, but the question at the end of the day is, do you really need one and if so, why would you need it?

But you WANT it!