The following article was found on technewsworld.com. I give my annotations and outlooks at the bottom.
On Monday, Steve Jobs will take the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference and announce … something. As usual, it’s a mystery, and as usual, there’s plenty of speculation and expectation in the blogosphere. Hopes for a new iPhone are running high, though ideas on how it might be priced fall all over the map. Indeed, some say the 3G iPhone is a big red herring.
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This week, the Apple-focused blogosphere’s eyes are cast forward to Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) Worldwide Developer Conference, where nearly everyone expects Apple CEO Steve Jobs to announce the iPhone App Store and iPhone 2.0 software, not to mention a new version of the iPhone itself.
In still more iPhone speculation, debate over possible AT&T (NYSE: T) subsidies has been raging — mostly on the hope that it could drive down the cost of acquiring a new iPhone. Still others are speculating that Jobs has something even more interesting up his sleeve for the conference — like a multi-touch Mac tablet device.
App Store on the Way
“A source at a software company that has been working on a native iPhone application tells us the company is getting ready to launch that application on Monday, which could also imply that Apple’s App Store will be up and running that day,” noted Cnet.com’s Tom Krazit, writing on his One More Thing blog.
While the news isn’t exactly surprising, it does lend a bit more weight to the idea. Jobs could possibly announce the App Store, meaning delivery could happen in late June, around the one-year anniversary of iPhone. All the developers who’ve been working away with Apple’s iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) might have to wait a while longer before their third-party applications hit iPhone and iPod touch consumers.
“There are already a great number of applications already available for the iPhone (and iPod touch). However, you do have to jailbreak your iPhone. Developers have been using the installer programs to distribute beta versions of their software among the more technical iPhone users. There are some wonderful programs out there and next week there will be even more!” commented jypeterson on the One More Thing post on the subject.
There’s also hope that if the App Store is ready, a 3G iPhone might be ready as well. This, however, seems to be a slightly bigger leap of faith. Apple might think the iPhone’s one-year anniversary is a better time to launch a new iPhone, and that won’t happen for three more weeks.
Either way, the App Store is a huge leap forward for iPhone lovers and the ecosystem Apple is trying to build.
“The launch of the App Store represents the coming of age of the iPhone platform. You will see thousands upon thousands of developers begin to release new and innovative applications for iPhone and iPod touch,” Raven Zachary, a research director for The 451 Group, told MacNewsWorld.
“Consumers will no longer perceive these devices as just phones and music players. I think the market is underestimating the impact of the App Store launch. We’re talking about a single platform dominating portable music, telephony, gaming, personal productivity and, over time, enterprise applications,” he explained, adding that the App Store will be a highly disruptive move.
A Cheaper iPhone?
Bloggers have also been poking at the possibility that AT&T may subsidize the cost of the iPhone, which would let it retail for as low as US$200. AT&T subsidizes most every other phone it carries, so this isn’t such a wild idea. However, it still may be just a pipe dream. Apple most likely isn’t keen on the subsidies because it undermines the consumer perception of value for a product, making it much harder to roll out new devices — independent of subsidies — at the premium prices Apple is used to.
Still, given iPhone’s strong sales despite the relatively high starting cost, would it really behoove AT&T to subsidize it?
Some think so.
“I’ll speculate that the subsidy happens because the ‘fan-boy’ crowd and early adopters are already on their network and the iPhone. This round is to tempt all the rest of us over, which will require lowering the cost of the phone since it won’t have any features that aren’t already available at lower costs,” Gando commented on InformationWeek.com’s Over the Air blog.
Not everyone agrees. “iPhone has shown that they do not have to subsidize the device in the U.S.,” William Ho, a research director of wireless services for Current Analysis , told MacNewsWorld.
“The numbers that it puts up [are] certainly enviable. This is a trend that carriers want to acclimate the general public towards — at least the higher-end ones — as open access comes into play a few years down the road. No subsidy equals a lower acquisition cost, which means ultimately margins are better for AT&T,” he added.
Drooling Over ‘One More Thing …’
Cult of Mac blogger Leigh McMullen took a striking different turn this week by speculating that Jobs may have something even cooler than a 3G iPhone to deliver at WWDC.
“Personally, I think this whole 3G iPhone business is a red herring. Sure, it’ll be announced, and people will love it. But the leaks abound so much. I find myself hoping that it’s part of a disinformation campaign; to keep us distracted so we don’t guess too closely at what new cool products Apple might unveil, and that there will be a terrific surprise for all of us at WWDC,” McMullen wrote, linking to a previous post and artist mockup of a possible multi-touch Mac tablet device.
Some readers hoped for new cinema display, Blu-ray Apple TVs and free .Mac service. Several seemed to concur with McMullen’s tablet desire.
“It’s going to be a tablet. Or something touchscreenie. Why else would microsoft otherwise rush to show windows 7 with touch screen capabilities. They wanted to be the first to claim it. Although it didn’t make a lot of impact …,” airwin commented.
“WWDC is about development, not really hardware. Sure, hardware has been announced in previous WWDC’s, but it’s not a common thing,” Sven Rafferty, director of Internet technology for Hypersven and editor of Svenontech.com, told MacNewsWorld.
“After two years of Leopard, Leopard and just Leopard, it’s easy to ignore the fact that there might be more than just the iPhone next-gen and firmware 2.x. Rumors are seeping of 10.6, which I wouldn’t be surprised by, as well as the tablet,” he said, noting that the tablet is less likely.
“It’s a niche market … I’d say a mini-PC, like that of the ASUS, would make more sense. Now is that a tablet? I don’t know …” he added. “I say the next-gen iPhone will be center stage along with the SDK and all the apps.”
less professional speculations from a non-professional writer
I am very sure we will see a 3g capable iPhone. The iPhone has been struggling in Europe because of the EDGE network’s inability to match the speeds of their existing 3g network and that would solve the problem. Also there is the fact that apple seems to have shipped over 1 billion brown boxes out to their retail stores in anticipation of a product release. I realise that this could be anything but the boxes appeared to be the correct size and I just have a hunch I know what’s in them.
Apple had a special event a while back about business apps for the iphone. This was at the same time they announce that the AppStore would be released ‘sometime in June’. Therefore it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that there will be something about said AppStore.
‘Rumors are Seeping of 10.6’
That would surprise me greatly considering only a few well known facts. First: Apple just released 10.5 this January! There is no way in hell that they would announce a new OS so soon. It took them 3 years or so of tiger to get around to releasing leopard. Second: If history is a guide (it usually is for Apple) they will release many more patches to leopard before releasing another. Third: It’s obvious that they might crank it to 11 sometime. You can’t expect the X to stick around forever do you?
I will probably use these points in a more detailed article written entirely by myself later on. Till then this is what I have for you. Goodnight and good luck…and stuff the end.