Apple’s next announcement

So (some of) the rumours were true: Apple is making another product announcement next Wednesday, September 1st. All over the blogosphere, pundits are making further predictions on what exactly Steve Jobs and team will share with us. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts on the matter.

First things first, I’d love to see an announcement about iOS 4 for the iPad. The iPad has been lagging behind its iPhone cousin (brother? sister?) since launch and Apple pointed to a software update for the device “in the Fall”. Nice and vague, that.

What would this bring? All of the familiar iOS4 goodness we’ve so far seen on the iPhone, including folders for apps, background processes, customisation and much more. It’s relatively minor, but I’m really looking forward to being able to better organise my apps within folders. I’ve finally reached that point where I have to scroll through too many screens to find the app I’m looking for. Folders on my iPhone has been great in this regard and it just makes it quicker and easier to access what you’re looking for.

iOS4 also included Facetime for the iPhone, but as the iPad doesn’t have a front-facing camera – or any sort of camera, actually – this doesn’t appear to be relevant. For now… I don’t think we’ll see the debut of a new iPad model with camera(s) next week, but Apple would definitely be missing a trick not to include this in any model update in 2011.

So if we don’t see Facetime for the iPad next week, will Apple go further and include extra software features just for the iPad? What would be useful in a software update? I’d like to see some minor tweaks to the iBooks app – I’ve alluded to these in an earlier post.  A more elegant way of getting documents on and off the device. The present method, via iTunes, is slightly cumbersome, not to mention counter-intuitive (“To get my document onto the iPad, I need to open the *music* app on my Mac?!”)

This leads me to my next hope – a new version of iTunes. That isn’t called iTunes. All of Apple’s devices synchronise content via iTunes: iPods, iPhones and iPads. This made sense when all you could transfer was music to your iPod. But now iTunes is the nexus for transferring calendar data, contacts, books, TV shows, movies, applications, documents and more. Isn’t it time Apple replaced this with a specialist app, separate from iTunes, whose sole purpose is to synchronise your devices? Remember iSync?

And while I’m on the topic, could we see the introduction of wireless synching? It would be great to have my iPhone and iPad wirelessly sync with my Mac when they’re in the vicinity (i.e. my desk) rather than messing around with various USB cables.

This could leave iTunes to be a leaner, more efficient media application – for music, podcasts, TV shows and Movies. iMedia anyone?

Based on what we’ve learnt about the event so far (nothing, aside from pictures of the event invite) it looks to be a music-themed announcement. I think a re-launch of iTunes would fit right in, don’t you?

  1. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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