The next generation of Apple's (News - Alert) mobile software, iOS 5, will be rolled out at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, California on June 6. The company will also unveil iCloud, its cloud services offering, at the event.
Apple confirmed that Steve Jobs (News - Alert) will launch the software next week in only his second public appearance this year. Jobs announced in January that he was taking medical leave from the company for unspecified reasons, although some believe he had complications from a 2004 surgery to remove a neuroendocrine tumor from his pancreas.
Jobs did make an appearance in March to present the iPad2. Apple confirmed WWDC's key software announcements including the iOS 5, the next version of its iPhone (News - Alert) operating system. It is due to preview at the conference alongside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the eighth version of the Mac OS operating system. Both systems will be detailed in a keynote speech led by Jobs and senior Apple executives, who may include Phil Schiller, head of marketing and Scott Forstall, head of iOS development.
Apple already offers some cloud services through its MobileMe paid subscription product, such as email, web hosting, file storage and calendars, so intense interest is expected surrounding the iCloud announcement. It is expected to effectively upgrade iTunes by allowing users to stream music directly to their devices, and Apple has reportedly signed three of the four major music labels in the deal, with Universal close to signing.
The Lion OS is expected to feature improvements to Apple Mail, Finder and iCal, as well as a reading list and mission control and the introduction of successful user interface features from the iPad. These may include more semi-transparent windows for less important elements like downloads in progress in a browser. iCloud could also indicate a move to include a Dropbox (News - Alert)-like cloud-based file storage service.
Other elements featured in Lion will include the ability to resize windows by dragging any part of the edge, as Windows users have been doing for decades. The color scheme may be toned down as well, which is a persistent theme in each Mac OS X version.
iOS 5 is expected to further integrate with Lion, and also offer new "widgets" to display custom information on a device's home screen. Other rumors include Jobs rolling out an extra piece of hardware such as a refresh of the MacBook Air, or even the iPhone 5 or 4S or 4G.
A recent report in the International business Times suggested the iPhone 4S will be the next iPhone and will include a faster processor and 8-megapixel camera, in addition to compatibility with both GSM and CDMA networks.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein