Apple will unveil the next version of its operating system for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices at its developer conference next week, along with a new cloud service that could cheer up millions of iTunes users.
The other big news for the show is that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs will appear on stage, despite being on a leave of absence since the start of the year.
The iOS 5 update will enhance the platform used by Apple's key mobile products as the company strives to stay ahead of increased competition from rival platforms including Android and Windows Phone 7.
Rumours suggest that wireless syncing for devices will be central to the update, but it seems unlikely that any new devices will be on show to demonstrate the software in action. The iPhone 5 release date is likely to be pushed back to September owing to setbacks.
Apple will also unveil the next version of its Mac operating system, known as Lion. The interface has been made more akin to that of the iPad, adding features such as gesture control via the mouse pad and a launchpad to display all relevant applications with one click.
Finally, Apple will unveil a new cloud-based service called iCloud. This could see iTunes becoming cloud-based, something users have long called for as services such as Spotify revolutionise the way in which music is stored and accessed.
The appearance of Jobs is notable as he has been suffering from a serious form of cancer for some years, and recently stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities at the company.
Apple will also give developers the chance to learn more about the software updates, particularly on the Lion operating system, as the company looks to increase the number of applications being created for its desktop Mac computers.
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