BC – Before Cupertino: Apple Prepare For iPhone Keynote

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

At lunchtime in San Francisco, we’ll know what’s being released. The rumours will stop, and we’ll just start getting excited for the new product.

But until then, the trepidation continues to build towards Apple’s big iPhone announcement this afternoon, at 6PM here in the UK, and 10AM in the US.

At the time of writing this, there’s just under three hours to go before the announcement. As I said last week, the signs indicate the new iPhone 5, which has been the subject of the Apple rumour mill since the summer of 2010.

Courtesy of MacRumors

But, does that mean that wonderful Apple-shaped mill should stop now?! Nope – we’ve only just started! Watch social media go crazy as every tech blogger in the world tries to tell you that they know exactly what is being released and what it looks like. Only to have egg on their face two hours later.

The big rumour last week was that there would be two phones announced today – the iPhone 5, which will be Apple’s latest, most powerful phone to date, with all the updated technology available, and the iPhone 4S, which will be a cheaper alternative, combining the technology of the iPhone 4 with some updates and upgrades to attempt to crack the Chinese market. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was to happen, but for some strange reason, I just get the feeling it will be one or the other today… And I’m leaning towards the 4S, seeing as that is what we’ve seen leaked prototype parts for.

However, I won’t speak too soon. After the iPhone 4 was leaked last year by someone leaving a prototype in a 3GS body in a bar somewhere, Apple have been on complete lock down, keeping all elements of the new phones secret and threatening to file a lawsuit against anyone who leaks any information about the new phone. Or phones, if you’re being optimistic.

So what else have we heard? Well, today’s earlier announcement that Microsoft are discontinuing the Zune, their own portable music player, has fuelled rumours that maybe Apple will revamp the iPod range today too, and that Microsoft are just getting out the market before they make an even bigger loss on their own player. It would make sense – we’ve seen the iPod line-up change ready for the holiday season every year for the past four years or so. It would be a real money-spinner for them to do it today.

There were also rumours that maybe the Mac line-up would change too. Now, these have cooled off slightly seeing as the new Macs have been released throughout the last 18 months, with an update to one of the machines every three months or so. But why not? It’s always worth a punt that Apple will throw something out there.

A few whispers appeared that maybe Apple will shock us all today, by announcing the iPad 3, alongside a new phone and the new iPod range. This was because iOS 5 will be released alongside the new iPhone, and therefore a full upgrade of the whole iOS device catalogue is of course needed. Well, us Apple fans think so anyway. A retina display has apparently been very difficult to create for the iPad, but if they’ve pulled it off, we may see an appearance at the keynote later.

So, realistically, what are we likely to see today?

Of course, iOS 5 will be seen today. The announcement of the new software in June, given a ‘Fall’ release date indicated at the time that they were waiting for a new device. Don’t be surprised to see new features unveiled today. We’ve already seen the likes of Newsstand, Reminders and iMessage, but there are talks of Facebook integration into the software, to match that of the already announced Twitter integration. Let’s see.

One of the smaller announcements, but one of the most crucial, is that iOS 5 will be based around Delta updates – meaning the days of sitting around waiting for 500MB updates to download are gone. Now, any update to iOS 5 will be dragged down from the cloud, and only items that have been changed will be updated. Thank God for that.

We’ll also hear more about iCloud, Apple’s new cloud-based storage system. Announced alongside iOS 5 in June, it’ll allow for apps, music, photos, documents, and anything else you could possibly wish to store on an iPhone, an iPad, a Mac or an iPod Touch to be updated across all our iOS devices, keeping everything updated quickly and easily without the need to constantly be plugging in your device.

Also expect to see the iPhone 4S. The majority of leaks indicate that this is what we’ll be seeing today – based on the iPhone 4, with better, faster, more impressive technology, and potentially a bigger screen too. The Apple Stores in the US have stocked up on unlocked 3GS phones too, so expect to hear something regarding that. It would mean Apple have a tiered phone pricing plan – the 3GS at the low end, the 4 in the middle, and the 4S at the very high end.

Something will happen with the iPod – whether it just be new colours schemes or a complete overhaul. Rumours are floating around that Apple are ready to cut off the iPod Classic and the iPod Shuffle – heightened by the removal of click-wheel applications from the App Store late last month.

Release dates for iOS 5 and the new iPhone are still to be announced, but many believe that iOS 5 will either be made available immediately after the keynote today, or on October 10th, meaning that the iPhone is slated in for the 14th October.

Bar that, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll speak to you AC – After Cupertino.

Let’s Talk iPhone.

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