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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 17:52 UK

Apple unveils latest offerings

By Ian Hardy
Reporter, Click

The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is an annual get together hosted by Apple for software developers from all over the globe.

Most of it takes place behind closed doors but the Apple executives kick off the event by revealing publicly what the firm has been up to.

The possibility that the boss, Steve Jobs, who is on sick leave from Apple, might turn up was on the mind of the visitors.

But he did not even get a mention during the company's presentation.

IPHONE 3GS
New iPhone 3GS handset
Apple have launched an update of the iPhone known as 3GS

What did make an appearance at WWDC was the updated iPhone 3GS handset.

Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple, said he was very excited about the new mobile phone.

"The S simply stands for speed," he told the audience at the conference.

The new device has double the onboard storage, a new cut and paste function and video recording.

The three megapixel camera has a double tap zoom feature, plus a remotely operated locate or erase function for lost or stolen devices.

Also, the handset has multi-media messaging and the ability to use the 3GS as a modem for laptop connectivity.

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone Software, unveiled a new tool to help application developers generate extra revenue.

"In App Purchase allows developers to make financial transactions right from within the app," he explained.

"This unlocks things like magazine subscriptions. It also allows people like game developers to sell additional game packs," he added.

Mr Forstall went on to say that 22 operators in 42 countries will support the features such as this one when the handset goes on sale.

However, the US network AT&T will not support all features from the outset, which drew derision from some quarters.

"AT&T has known about these features for months. So why they have yet to address them with their most popular device - that has driven so many subscribers to them - is mystifying," said Jason Snell, editorial manager at MacWorld.com.

Apple's competitors are starting to catch up too, with the recently released Palm Pre being called the best iPhone alternative yet.

Except the Apple handset has 50,000 apps at its disposal, in comparison to only a handful for the Pre and similar smart phones.

OS SNOW LEOPARD
Bertrand Serlet, senior vice-president of OS X Software
Bertrand Serlet tells the conference about the latest OS Snow Leopard

After recent criticism of Apple's hardware prices, there was finally the offer of more processing power and memory upgrades on the cheap.

The newest versions of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have a better battery life, more intense colour screens, and newly added SD card slots.

But the most surprising revelation was the $29 (£18) price tag for the newest Mac operating system (OS) Snow Leopard.

This OS is expected to compete with Windows 7 later in the year.

Many refinements, powerful new technologies and an exchange report are the additions to the OS, according to Bertrand Serlet, the senior vice president of OS X Software.

Jason Snell, from MacWorld.com, said it was interesting that Apple decided to make this OS update about stability, speed and features for developers.

"There was no way for them to sell an upgrade like this - which really is bug fixes and speed improvement - for $129 (£78), which is their usual fee," he noted.

One rumour prior to the WWDC that turned out to be true is a built-in compass which assists GPS in the iPhone.

While the rumoured OLED display and a logo that lights up on the back of the handset did not materialise.

There was even speculation about a multi-touch iTablet - but this could be just the thing for Steve Jobs to carry under his arm when he finally makes a public comeback.



SEE ALSO
The 'soap opera' of Apple's rise
12 Jun 09 |  Click

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