New iMac, Mini, Shuffle – and soon iPhone 3.0!?

Apple quietly releases updates to iMac and Mini, both of which have been overdue for a refresh.  I’ve personally been waiting for the iMac announcement, as my home computer has seen better days and I’d like to move to the iMac so I can run both osX and Vista, like I do on my macbookPro.  I’ve been patiently awaiting the annoucement for some time, probably since the fall, as rumors had surfaced about possible quad-core chips finding their way into the line, but nope – nothing really all that exciting about the refresh; still core2 duo (slightly faster than April 2008 release), more hard drive space, and more/faster memory (2bg vs. 1gb standard & 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM instead of the 800MHz DDR2 RAM in the previous iMac.)  Initial performance benefits suggest mild overall performance improvements, but not completely accross the board.  You can find the April 2008 models for about $200 less at macMall.com vs. the Apple March 2009 list ($1199.)  Budget shoppers/home users could probably get away with last years model and never notice a difference, I’m going to opt for the new model, slightly disappointed, but for a few extra bucks it should suffice my [wifes] home computer needs for some time..

News recently also references that Apple will be hosting a media event next week about iPhone 3.0, which has generated a lot of speculation about what might be coming in the new release.

BoyGeniusReport claims to have heard two possible features that would certainly make many iPhone users happy. They believe that iPhone 3.0 will introduce MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and Tethering.

MMS would finally offer iPhone users the ability to send photos by way of SMS, and tethering would allow you to share your iPhone’s internet connection with your laptop computer. An alleged Steve Jobs email even confirmed that Apple had been working on a thethering solution, so it certainly seems feasible. BoyGeniusReport’s record, however, has been spotty, so we can’t be entirely confident of the report.

A more interesting report comes from John Gruber about his “guesses” for iPhone 3.0 from back at Macworld:

First, a new home screen app (a.k.a. SpringBoard), designed from the ground up for a system where users have a few dozen or more extra apps installed. Managing dozens of apps on the iPhone today is simply a pain in the ass. Second, maybe an answer to the question of where the background notification API is you know, the one we were told at WWDC to expect a few months ago, but which we haven’t heard a word about since. And maybe  pretty please, Mr. Forstall, with sugar on top copy and paste.

While Gruber labels this as his “wish list”, we have good reason to believe that these features will indeed be found in the iPhone 3.0 firmware. That could mean a better app-managing SpringBoard (with categories?), a solution to “push” notifications (background tasks?), and, yes… even copy and paste.

Finally, there has been evidence in the latest version of Snow Leopard’s CoreLocation framework (which is shared by the iPhone) that Apple is building in support for magnetometers, which could suggest the use of a digital compass in future devices, much like the Android G1.

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