New from Apple: Sharing location, mailing cards, cutting off the PC

Apple executives are on stage in Cupertino, Calif., right now delivering a long buildup to the expected unveiling of a new iPhone or iPhones. Amid the stats and slides about the company’s momentum, there has been some news.

First, Apple is launching a new app called Cards that will let people create and mail (via an online service) physical cards from their iPhones or iPod touches, for $2.99 in the U.S. and $4.99 internationally. This is similar to existing third-party apps, most notably Postagram.

Next, Apple said that iOS 5, the next version of its mobile operating system, will offer the option of running an iPhone or iPad without syncing it to a Mac or a Windows PC, getting updates over a wireless connection.

Apple also announced a new iOS app called Family and Friends for sharing location with specific groups of people for limited period of times. This could create waves for existing location-based services such as foursquare and Redmond-based Glympse.

Stay tuned for more as the event continues — presumably including the long-awaited iPhone news. We’re monitoring the news via various live blogs. There’s no official live video stream but Ryan Block’s live posts on gdgt are quite good if you want to follow along.