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Apple’s WWDC keynote in 2.5 hours. My predictions below :)

Apple are having their annual Worldwide Developers Conference today and I fully expect a healthy Steve Jobs will be presenting in his own inimitable style. Although no-one knows for sure it is customary for Apple to announce their latest improvements to their OSX “Leopard” operating system, any upcoming technical changes to their desktop computers, laptops, iPhone and iPod.

As a Microsoft developer I professionally work on the Microsoft technology stack, right from compatible hardware through to desktop and mobile software. Although (as I will explain in a future post) I’m considering whether I want to start to flirt with the “other side” and start creating software for the Mac and/or the iPhone. My current phone is the arguably iPhone-killer “Touch HD” and although I didn’t blog a review of it I’m not massively excited about the Windows Mobile platform.

Without further ado, as is customary in the blogosphere, my predictions for the 3rd generation iPhone:

  • The new iPhone will have a higher resolution rear facing camera with video capture support. The current iPhone has a 2 megapixel still camera, and my HTC Touch HD has a 5 mega pixel camera with video. The Touch HD can take video and upload it directly to YouTube. The current iPhone cannot. I expect Apple will not want to have another year with an uncompetitive camera on their phone.
  • The new iPhone will have a front facing camera. Video telephony (over 3G) and Video calling over IP (iChat, Skype, MSN) does need a front facing camera that many competitors have had for years. The Touch HD, for instance, has a front facing camera.
  • The new iPhone will have a magnetometer. The next and final logical step to location-aware devices is to add a digital compass. The iPhone and the Touch HD both already have GPS and accelerometers but neither have a compass. I think we’re going to see the introduction of a magnetometer to allow some really powerful third party applications (for instance you could point your iPhone at the sky and your phone could tell you what star you’re pointing it at).
  • The new iPhone will be more powerful. The recently announced Palm Pre uses the same chipset family as the iPhone but as a newer device it has a more recent revision which is about twice as powerful. It’s fairly obvious that the latest iPhone would use the latest generation technology.
  • The new iPhone will have longer battery life. As above, I expect a 10-20% increase on battery life.
  • The new iPhone will support HDSPA/HUSPA radio. Many of the current iPhone 3G competitors are already using mobile broadband services many times faster than the iPhone’s aging 3G technology. I expect that Apple will bring the iPhone family up to speed and finally start supporting “mobile broadband” HDSPA technology that is already widely available in Europe and rolling out across America.
  • Hopefully: the new iPhone will have a higher resolution display. I don’t expect that Apple will want to change the resolution of the iPhone as it may cause problems with the design and/or break some of the third party applications. However the Touch HD that I currently use has a 3.8 inch 800×480 Wide VGA screen that is frankly gorgeous and wipes the floor with the iPhone’s far smaller, less vibrant and and less detailed 3.5 inch 480×320 display.
  • There will be a cheaper “budget” iPhone. Considering the economic crisis, I expect Apple will announce a $99 (or $149?) iPhone with perhaps a small 2gb or 4gb storage capacity.

The WWDC Keynote could also mention a possible Apple netbook and changes to their product lineup but I’m mostly interested in the iPhone so I’ve only made iPhone predictions here.

Check back after the keynote to see how accurate my technological crystal ball is and please leave a comment below 🙂

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