More Details From Today’s Apple Event: Steve Jobs, iOS, and MobileMe

It’s been a busy day for Apple. The iPad 2 has been announced, and Apple is set to take the tablet market by storm again.

During Apple’s keynote this morning, lot’s of great announcements were made. There were some expected details, some curveballs, and several rumors were left unanswered.

Let’s take a look at some components of today’s keynote. Perhaps even more interesting are the topics left unaddressed by Apple…

To everyone’s surprise, Steve Jobs was onstage at today’s keynote. Jobs took a six month medical leave of absence from Apple last month, but, according to reports, he never stopped running the show.

It appears that he couldn’t help being there today to unveil his new creation to the world. That’s the Steve we love.

Steve’s first words in the keynote,

“We’ve been working on this product for a while, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

The biggest issue with Steve making an appearance today was his health. Unfortunately, Jobs has been battling cancer, and several tabloids have tried to paint him as a decrepit and weak old man since his leave from Apple.

The Steve Jobs we all saw today was anything but unhealthy. Jobs looked great, and several journalists at the event commented on how remarkably vibrant and strong Jobs appeared to be.

Robert Scoble, who was sitting in the front row at the event, wrote this tweet:

“I’ve been watching Jobs for the entire keynote. Even when he’s back stage. He’s been standing the entire time, looks healthier than me.”

We’re glad to hear that Steve is doing well and is in seemingly good health. We’re not sure what his presence at the keynote today means for his leave of absence from Apple, but we’re glad to have him back doing what he does best.

Apple gave no preview of iOS 5.0 today. A rumor was circulating that Apple would preview the next major version of iOS and release the SDK to develepors.

An iOS 5 SDK release would be timed well with Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference this June (when the iPhone 5 is supposed to be announced.) But as far as mysterious Apple software from the future, there was nothing to be seen.

Instead of a tantalizing iOS 5 preview, Apple simply announced that 4.3 would launch on the same date as the iPad 2 (next Friday.) Nothing is that new in 4.3, except that the GSM (AT&T) iPhone will be getting the “Personal Hotspot” feature of the Verizon iPhone.

The Verizon iPhone is currently not supported for a 4.3 upgrade. AppleInsider explains why,

“The Verizon iPhone 4 was released using its own software build, labeled iOS 4.2.5. Other iOS devices remained at iOS 4.2.1, which was released in November. Apple subsequently updated Verizon iPhones to iOs 4.2.6 to fix a bug related to its new Personal Hotspot feature.

Apart from the brief exclusive of its Personal Hotspot feature, the Verizon iPhone is being updated separately because it uses a different baseband chip than other iPhones, requiring a separate firmware. Apple may be waiting for Qualcomm to deliver a specific update for the chip before integrating the new firmware into the iOS release for that model.”

Besides Personal Hotspot, the only other significant feature in 4.3 is the update that Apple has made to AirPlay. Macworld reports,

“iPad and iPhone users will be able to stream any music, movies, and television shows from an iTunes library on their computer straight to their device using a local Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, AirPlay support has opened up in iOS 4.3 to allow third-party apps and Websites to take advantage of full audio and video streaming using AirPlay.”

It’s nice to see Apple making these types of improvements, but wouldn’t it be nice to see something special like the multitouch gestures unearthed in the 4.3 beta? Maybe Apple is saving those gestures for an iPhone with a home button.”

Something else worth mentioning is that the iPad 2 now has PhotoBooth. While that may not sound too exciting, the fact that the iPad 2 is on 4.3 hints that the next iPhone will have PhotoBooth as well. You can read more about that here.

One of the biggest shockers from today’s event was the lack of anything relating to MobileMe. What in the world Apple? First you tease us with cloud storage patents, then you discontinue MobileMe’s paid option (you can only sign up for the free 60-day trial now). How can you not deliver?

Rumors were that Apple would finally unveil its cloud-based streaming service for iTunes. No such thing happened. In fact, MobileMe wasn’t mentioned once.

No one’s sure what Apple is planning with MobileMe, but something definitely has to happen soon. What will happen in 60 days to the people that sign up for a free trial now? Will the service just stop working? Apple has to do something with MobileMe in the very near future. But for whatever reason, they decided today wasn’t a good day to do so.

Apple had a clear focus on the iPad and iOS 4.3 for today’s event. If you feel so inclined, you can watch the whole event on Apple’s events page.

What do you think of today’s Apple event? Do you feel that Apple didn’t address enough products? Hopefully we’ll see more news on the iPhone soon.