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New iPhone, new OS, more features - what Australian developers want from Apple’s big conference

http://www.smartcompany.com.au

Australian iPhone developers want new hardware, more effective methods of tracking their sales on the App Store and some new development tools to be announced during next week's long-awaited Worldwide Developer's Conference.

The conference, with a keynote to be delivered by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, has been the company's now-traditional launching pad for new iPhone hardware for the past few years.

While the tech world has focused on the iPad for the past few months, next week's conference will allow the company to showcase some long awaited, and possibly already leaked, iPhone hardware.

Developers already have a wishlist of features they want to see from the company. While the iPhone OS 4.0 has already been announced, including features like multitasking and new ways for developers to create interactive apps, software makers still want more.

Marc Edwards, chief executive of Melbourne-based development studio Bjango, says there shouldn't be any big surprises, given much of the iPhone hardware has already leaked, but he still would like to see some improvements for the App Store.

"This is a bit out of leftfield, but I would love to see some App Store analytics. Right now there isn't much of a way of gauging where your sales are at."

Some developers have criticised Apple for mishandling the App Store as it has continually grown, saying there are too many apps for people to wade through in order to find the content that they want.

"You get some data files right now, but some other services and so on would be great in order to measure transactions and give a daily breakdown, in order to determine how well a marketing push is going."

Edwards also says he'd like to see some new hardware, but details have a new iPhone model have been known for some time. Several weeks ago tech blog Gizmodo managed to get their hands on a prototype model of a new version, with detailed photographs and videos having spread across the internet.

But despite the leaks, jTribe director Armin Kroll says Apple is good at keeping things under wraps and he expects to see some new features for both the iPhone and a number of other products as well."

"One of the things I would like to see is a toolkit for developers to work with HTML5. The new iAd platform is built on that, and there is a huge potential for rebuilding apps in a different framework."

Additionally, Kroll says he has heard rumours there could be a new version of the Apple TV product. The gadget, which has sold fewer numbers than expected, allows users to browse the iTunes store on their television and purchase or rent films and television shows.

Now with Google in the ring with its Google TV product, Kroll says he would like to see a new version of Apple TV running on a version of the iPhone OS which would allow developers to create apps for the device.

"There will definitely be a new phone, but it would be good to see some sort of Apple TV upgrade. I would expect to see some type of entertainment gadget like that, and apparently it's supposed to be a lot better."

Keith Ahern, chief executive of MoGeneration, says he also expects to see some advancement in the area of video conferencing, with various leaked photographs showing a second camera on the front of the new iPhone.

"Video calling was tried a few years ago here and nobody took it up. But maybe it will work now, and Apple could have some compelling announcements with that. They could do some sort of partnership with Skype possibly, and there might be an announcement around some type of product."

The big question, Ahern says, is whether everything has already been spoiled. But he says there could be some surprises left.

"The leaked hardware shows a higher resolution screen, and that could be because the iPhone is going to have the iBooks Store and Apple doesn't want people reading books on a lower-resolution screen. It could make it more pleasant to read, and developers can use it for higher resolution apps as well."