Apple on Tuesday will give a peek at its latest tech tinkering for the iPhone.
“Get an advance preview of what we’re building,” the Cupertino company announced in an e-mail to analysts and reporters last week. Apple will use the event, to be held at company headquarters, to talk about updates to the iPhone’s software developers kit, which helps independent engineers write applications for the device, and discuss features of the new iPhone 3.0 operating system.
In a note to investors, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said that last week’s iPod shuffle redesign, which included a “talking” function, could provide a hint for new iPhone capabilities. In particular, Apple could be adding speech recognition functions, something many users want, which will make it easier to make iPhone calls while driving.
Other updates could include a better way for consumers to navigate the App Store and a new iPhone Safari browser.
Whatever changes Apple is planning to announce will be substantial, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said. He anticipates new features such as universal search or a new user interface.
“Apple may be settling into an annual summer hardware refresh cycle with the iPhone, similar to the iPod’s fall refresh cycle,” he said in an investor report.
Munster, like others, said he does not expect Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave, to make an appearance. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook is overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations while Jobs is away.
“During Jobs’ absence, the pace of innovation at Apple has continued, which we believe will reassure investors,” Munster wrote. “Increasingly, we believe investors are considering the future of Apple under Cook’s leadership as a positive.”
The iPhone’s physical design â€” its multi-touch display and 3.5-inch screen â€” was a pioneering breakthrough in the mobile-phone industry. But the iPhone’s software will drive future innovation, said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.
“It’s what they do with the software that makes it so significant,” he said. “That’s why we will be watching this closely.”