Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will address an annual conference on June 6 to unveil a service that lets users store content online and tout a new version of the software that runs the iPad and iPhone.
Jobs, in the midst of his third medical leave since 2004 as he battles a rare form of cancer, will deliver a keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement. It will be Jobs’s second appearance this year, after the iPad debut in March.
Apple follows rivals Google Inc. (GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) in creating services to make it easier for customers to store and access music and other content via the Internet. So-called cloud computing lets people keep their songs and other content on remote servers rather than a hard drive. Cloud options will help the iPhone compete with phones powered by Google’s Android software, said Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Capital.
“In the face of rising market share from Android, sustaining Apple’s advantage in user experience is going to be very important in terms of sustaining its smartphone growth,” said Abramsky, who is based in Toronto.
Apple said it will demonstrate features of the new iOS software that powers the handheld devices, as well as Mac OS Lion, the eighth major update for the operating system for Mac laptops and desktops.
“The two platforms are going to become much more tightly coupled to one another,” said Carl Howe, an analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston. Apple may also include in iOS a new notification system for getting alerts, an upgrade that developers have been asking for, Howe said.
Jobs has used the conference in the past to introduce new gadgets such as the iPhone. This year, the company won’t be showcasing a new iPhone at the gathering, people familiar with the matter said last month. Instead, the new phone will likely be revealed in the fall, Abramsky said.
The new cloud offering -- to be called iCloud -- would be an overhaul of Apple’s MobileMe product, which was introduced in 2008 so users could pay $99 per year to store e-mail, calendar, photos and other content on Apple’s servers. The service from early on faced shortcomings, including an inability to receive or send e-mails.
The new service may involve changes for iTunes. Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, has reached agreements with three major record labels to let users of its new music service access their song collections from handheld devices via the Internet, people with knowledge of the deals said this month.
Apple would follow Google and Amazon.com in letting users stream music from the cloud instead of downloading it to a hard drive.
Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a call or e-mail seeking comment.
Apple’s shares rose $10.42, or 3.1 percent, to $347.83 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has climbed 7.8 percent this year.
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