The next version of iPhone, which is dubbed mostly as iPhone 5, has been reserved in Apple Inc.'s launch list, while an iPod refresh is also expected by an analyst. In addition, rumors have been circulating that Apple is developing a new version of iPad.

Barclays Capital still expects an iPod refresh in the September timeframe. We still expect an iPod refresh in the September timeframe, which could happen alongside the launch of a new iPhone and the availability of iOS 5 and iCloud, said Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

With regard to iPad, Apple is working on another version of the iPad that features a high-resolution screen, which would be about one-third higher than that of the iPad 2 and will boast a more responsive touchscreen, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the plans.

According to an unverified report Taiwan's Economic Daily last week, Apple will unveil the iPad 3 later this year with an image resolution 5-6 times higher than iPad 2.

In addition, a report from Techunwrapped suggests that Apple's next iteration of iPad, the iPad 3, will flaunt a retina display with a screen resolution of 2048x1536. The iPad 2 sports a screen resolution of 1024x768. Another rumor doing the rounds was that iPad 3 will sport an AMOLDED screen. DigiTimes had earlier reported that Apple had initiated the process of certifying the key components for its iPad 3.

Other reports suggest that iPad 3 will have NFC-capability, Thunderbolt I/O, and a higher MP camera - as Apple has placed an order for 8MP camera sensors from OmniVision for iPhone 5 and will probably sport a fiber-in-matrix type material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) casing, instead of aluminum.

Apple's next version of iPhone will carry A5 processor, which has been developed to compete with dual core processors coming with most Android phones, and sport an 8-megapixel camera, up from the 5-megapixel model in the iPhone 4. 

Apple pushed back the release of the next iPhone -- its fifth -- to coincide with the release of the new iOS 5. Sources also lent credibility to rumors of a low-cost iPhone, who say Apple is working on a low-cost version of the iPhone which will be targeted at emerging markets. The cheaper iPhone is likely to feature chips and displays of similar quality to today's iPhone 4.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek expects the launch of a low-cost iPhone in the fall that is targeted at prepaid and emerging markets.

Despite limited indications from the company, we see five compelling reasons why a lower price iPhone becomes more likely in 2012. First, without a low-end offering there would be consequences of slowing growth in the iPhone business with an impact on the overall group. Second, there are competitive reasons versus Android. Third, we believe that the timing could prove opportunistic as Apple could benefit from Nokia's woes. Fourth, a low-end iPhone could add $4.50 of extra EPS even allowing for some cannibalization in the high-end. Finally a low-end iPhone could drive the installed base of iTunes users to 925 million, which in itself could prove valuable, said Kulbinder Garcha, an analyst at Credit Suisse.

The new iPhone will run on iOS 5, which Apple previewed at the developer conference this month. Apple's iOS 5 -- codenamed 'Telluride' -- is having many improved features like enhanced messaging system and photo-sharing, and is also designed to run on all Apple's mobile devices, the people told Bloomberg.

The reason Apple might want the new iPhone to run on iOS 5 is that the new operating system will give users immediate access to Apple's ambitious cloud-based photo, video, music and data backup and pushout service called iCloud. And, there's no better and faster way of letting people try out iCloud than selling the new iPhone with iOS 5 pre-installed.

Additionally, a RBC Capital Markets survey data indicated Apple may sign up 150 million iCloud and up to 150 million iMessage users. The survey showed 30 percent of the iPhone users are very/somewhat likely to spend $24.99 per year for iTunes Match to host their non-Apple music libraries in iCloud. The survey also showed 73 percent of iPhone users intend to use iMessage, equating to up to about 150 million iMessage users.

Proprietary RBC survey data showed 76 percent of iPhone users intend to use Apple’s iCloud service. This high response rate affirms the growing interest in storing, syncing and sharing music, photos, documents across multiple devices (e.g. Smartphones, Tablets, PCs, TVs, etc).

Apple may plan to launch additional services over time on iCloud. Examples may include audio and video streaming, photo and video sharing, hosted Time Machine backups, document management and storage and others. Apple is likely to build iCloud service into all iOS devices, possibly including even entry-level products like the iPod Nano and Shuffle, said Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

In terms of releasing upgradable version of OS in frequent intervals, Apple has failed to keep the pace with Android. However, Google Inc. has covered the distance by releasing 3 Android versions in last 2 years with a commitment to come up with a new version in every 6 months interval. Even to tap the tablet market effectively, Google has developed a separate version of Android – Android 3.0 – also known as Honeycomb.

There has been recent news that Google is working on its next version of Android operating system -- Android 4.0 -- also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which will combine the features of Honeycomb tablet OS and Gingerbread phone OS.

So in order to compete with Google, Apple should be launching a new iPhone with iOS 5 by this year. The iPhone 5 release date rumors and speculation over the features of the next generation iPhone have taken a new direction with Boy Genius Report's 'independent confirmation' that the device with radical design changes will be launched in August.

People won't be regretting to buy an iPhone as no mobile OS, Android included, can come close to being compared to iOS in terms of finesse, elegance and user experience and iOS 5 is going to widen the gap even more.