Apple is inviting a group of select journalists to a March 17 event to preview the 3.0 version of the iPhone operating system, and the company plans to offer a sneak peek at the new iPhone software development kit.
On March 12, Apple began sending out select invitations to the event, which is being held at the company's main headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Some Web sites, such as Ars Technica, published the Apple invitations.
In addition, Reuters reported that Apple would hold the event in order to preview new iPhone software. Later, an Apple spokeswoman did confirm to eWEEK that Apple would hold the event on March 17, but the actual invitation did not provide any additional details.
Although specifics were scarce, Web sites reported that Apple does plan to preview the new 3.0 version of the iPhone operating system. In addition, Apple executives will detail the updated version of the software development kit - SDK - for the iPhone.
The March 17 event is gearing up to be similar to Apple's 2008 event for the release of the 2.0 version of the iPhone OS. During that event, Apple detailed how it planned to open up the software kit to more developers and offer enterprise support for features such as Microsoft Exchange through licensing the Microsoft ActiveSync protocol.
The Web site Apple Insider has its own "wish list" for what the new iPhone OS should contain.
In a recent Gartner report, Apple's share of the smartphone operating system market grew 111 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008. While iPhone operating systems shipments are still far behind those of Symbian and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, it does show the growing popularity of the Apple iPhone.
eWEEK's Apple Watch has a full breakdown of the latest smartphone operating systems numbers here.
In addition, the Apple App Store has stirred enough industry envy that Microsoft and Nokia are now planning to open their own smartphone application Web sites, where users can download apps. The popularity of the Apple App store is another reason why the iPhone continues to grow in popularity.
While CEO Steve Jobs has been sidelined by health problems, Apple has continued to make a series of impressive announcements in his absence during the last two months to shore up its image as one of the world's most innovative tech companies.
Earlier this week, Apple released a new talking iPod Shuffle with 4GB of memory. In addition, at 1.8-inches tall and less than an inch thin, Apple also claimed this iPod is now the smallest of music players available in the market.
On March 3, Apple also rolled out new versions of its Mac Pro desktop, iMac and Mac mini. The release of the new Mac Pro included support for Intel's new line of processors based on the Nehalem microarchitecture.
As usual, Apple has also stirred up the rumor mill after it has been reported that the company is beginning to order touch-screen displays from the same Taiwanese manufacturer that makes the displays for the iPhone. That has led to speculation that Apple is getting ready to enter the so-called "netbook" market with its version of these mininotebooks.
While the March 17 event did talk about software, Apple has not officially announced a specific date for when it plans to update the iPhone's hardware.