WWDC dawns: rumours swirl

Posted on by Mike Evans

TODAY'S THE DAY when we get some facts after all the rumours of recent months. The Apple World Wide Developer Conference kicks off late this afternoon (London time) and Mac fans will be following the news live on sites such as MacRumors and MacWorld. MacRumors, as usual, has provided an excellent roundup of all the tips from dozens of sources and it seems clear that the new third-generation iPhone will be the focus of attention.

The new phone is tipped to use the ARM Cortex processor running at a "disproportionally higher speed" than the current 400 MHz offering (said to be 600 MHz). Graphics chips licensed from the UK's Imagination Technologies will allow the iPhone to take advantage of more advanced 3D graphics. The current iPhone uses the fourth generation IT chip but the 5th generation is now available and is likely to be used in the new phone. A few months ago Apple bought a significant stake in Imagination Technologies and MacOldie squirrelled away a few shares against a rainy day. 

Other expected features are a magnetometer, an auto-focus 3.2 megapixel camera, video recording capability, models from 4G to 32G (with the possibility of the lower-end models being marketed as iPhone Mini/Nano at bargain prices) and 7.2 Mbps 3G data. This latter enhancement will be of great interest in those countries (including Britain) where faster mobile broadband speeds are becoming available.

The new iPhone will almost certainly retain the same physical dimensions and general appearance of the existing model. Suggestions have been made that the headphone jack will move to the bottom and that there will be a camera button on the bottom left-hand side of the case. But overall this will be an incremental update. It will be enough to encourage 1st generation iPhone users to stick with the brand in the face of the Palm Pre but it is unlikely to be a must-have for owners of 2nd generation phones. 

MacRumors believes that there will be little new in the laptop market, despite strong hints that the unibody aluminium range will all be designated as MacBook Pros, leaving the white entry-level model as the only MacBook. Of greater interest, there are indications that the much discussed MacBook tablet is in existence but will not be announced this week. 

Also, we must not forget that the new iPhone OS 3.0, which has been in semi-public beta for some months, is due for release. We're hoping it comes today because the additional features, including cut-and-paste, are sorely needed. This OS update is essential because it will give existing iPhone owners many of the features of the new 3rd generation phone and will keep them sweet until they have the cash or the contract-opportunity to buy the new model.

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