Story updated with additional details from the iPhone event.
CUPERTINO, Calif. (
) -- Another day, another
Less than a week after the Easter weekend debut of the much-hyped
, the media spotlight is again shining brightly on Apple.
Journalists have converged on the tech giant's Silicon Valley headquarters for a sneak peek of the new iPhone operating system, which is
to power the iconic smartphone, the iPod Touch and the new iPad.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has kicked off the event with an update of the company's iPad and iPhone sales, according to a liveblog from the
Some 450,000 iPads have been sold through today, he explained, adding that Apple has also sold a massive 50 million iPhones since the smartphone was launched in 2007.
As with all things related to Apple, there has been plenty of speculation about
for version 4 of the iPhone OS. While fans are expecting multitasking of third-party apps, there has also been talk of GPS navigation and even a major mobile
that could encroach on
During the launch event, Jobs duly confirmed that iPhone 4.0 will offer multitasking of third-party applications, and promised that this can be achieved without draining the smartphone's battery. Apple also discussed new "background location" features for navigation, as well as enhanced data protection, which is clearly aimed at enterprises.
Rumors of a major Apple push into mobile advertising were also confirmed at the launch event as Jobs unveiled iAd, which lets developers embed ads within applications.
iPhone 4.0 will be available in the summer, according to Gizmodo's liveblog, although a preview version of the OS was unveiled today.
The new operating system will be reportedly make it to the iPad during the fall.
Apple gave no indications of hardware announcements in the run-to today's event, but there had been chatter about a new phone and possible news of a
iPhone, neither of which materialized. Few analysts see a
happening this year, and
typically makes phone hardware announcements later in the year.
The iPhone 3GS, for example, was
at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC). Similarly, Apple is expected to unveil the hotly-anticipated 4G version of the technology at the same event this year, making a 4G iPhone less likely to materialize today.
Ever the master of suspense, Apple has not yet released the dates for its annual developers' event, although the blogosphere is rife with talk of it occurring at a mid-summer bash.
Citing information on a Japanese Web site for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, the
reports that tentative dates of June 27 to July 2 have been set for the conference. This follows speculation by
that the conference will take place between June 28 and July 2 at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
There was, of course, little incentive for Apple to roll out a slew of products at today's iPhone event. Such is the fascination with the company that even its smaller announcements are pounced on by the media and investors. Under the watchful eye of CEO Steve Jobs, Apple has cloaked itself in an air of mystery, further feeding its reputation for cutting-edge technology.
While today's Town Hall at Apple's headquarters was a much lower-profile gathering than its iPad launch earlier this year, the level of interest in the event underlines the iPhone's popularity.
During Apple's recent first-quarter results, iPhone shipments climbed a massive 100% compared to the same period last year, helping grow the company's overall revenue by more than 30% to $15.68 billion.
Up to this point, consumers have largely driven Apple's iPhone growth, although the technology is said to be creeping into corporate America. Last month analyst firm Canaccord Adams reported that
are coming in ahead of estimates.
Apple's stock has been on an upswing fueled by the recent iPad launch, but dipped $2.29, or 0.95%, to $238.31 shortly after market open on Thursday. This mirrored the modest dip in tech stocks which saw the Nasdaq slip 0.58%.
-- Reported by James Rogers in New York
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