Mighty Winds Swirl Around Apple's Special March 17 Event

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apple event new iphone softwareApple sent out media invites earlier this week for a special event on March 17, which many Apple watchers believe will be to discuss a new iPhone SDK for the next-gen iPhone and the imminent release of iPhone OS 3.0 software.

Now, rumors are swirling around the Internet about what Apple will specifically have to say about the future of the iPhone and in general about life on Planet Earth.

Many industry followers — analysts, bloggers and tech journos — predict  Apple will introduce a new version of the iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Assuming that's true, then the time to announce a new SDK and OS would be right about now.

The rumor that is getting the most play is that Apple is set to announce the long-awaited push notification, which would allow services to notify users that data has arrived on their devices without their having to turn on related apps. Users could be automatically notified of tweets or instant messages, for example.

Apple said in June last year that push notification would be in OS 2.0 but the feature has been AWOL for months, hence the universal belief that whatever caused the hold up finally has been taken care of. We think that's a safe bet.

The Boy Genius Report says its source told it that Apple will announce Multimedia Messaging Service and tethering via Bluetooth and USB. Both also seem like safe bets to us.

Daring Fireball, and a handful of other blogs, predict we'll see a redesigned interface that would allow users to run widgets and to make it far easier to manage apps on the home screen. We're not going to take bets on that one, but it sure would be nice to be able to fully customize the home screen. That's a feature long overdue, we think.

Over at Apple Insider, there's the same talk as everywhere else plus speculation about turn-by-turn directions using GPS for the 3G. That shouldn't be too tough to implement, so we'll bet on that one too.

What may be compelling Apple to open the shutters on the iPhone's future now may be the release of the Palm Pre phone in the next few months, which will have universal search, Wired speculates. Users would be able to filter through everything on their devices and the Internet at the same time. We don't think that one is going to make the cut, simply because users haven't much demanded it.

Wired also says it has gotten word Apple will announce a section in the App Store for apps selling for $20 and up. That rumor has been making the circuit for at least 3 months. We haven't heard anything from our usually talky devs, so we'll pass on that one too.

Speculation in several places has focused on cut/paste, a landscape keyboard for native apps and even video recording. We think thumbs up on one and two and thumbs down on three, at least in the first of the next-gen iPhone.

Now, here's what we really think will happen: Apple will introduce an iPod touch with a 10-inch touch screen, with all of the above features, plus built-in 16 GB of flash memory and user-replaceable battery, all for less than five Benjamins. Hey, we can dream, can't we?

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