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Apple expected to debut newer, faster iPhone Monday
|07 июня 2008|
Analysts expect 3G iPhone will be similar to current version, with some small changes.
When Steve Jobs talks, people listen. When he doesn't talk, people like to imagine what he will say.
Lately, a lot of the imagining has been about what Jobs will say in his keynote speech at Apple Inc.'s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday. As usual, neither Apple, nor Jobs is saying anything yet, but that hasn't stopped the speculation that Jobs will take the wraps off of some new products designed to set the company up for its busiest selling season of the year.
Nothing is being talked up more than a 3G iPhone, or iPhone 2.0, as some are calling the expected device.
"There is little question that the next version of the iPhone will include 3G mobile data," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. He believes that while there might be some small changes to how the new iPhone will look,"overall, we expect the new version to be very similar to the current generation iPhone."
In less than a year since the launch of the iPhone, Apple has sold close to six million of the devices, and many analysts who follow the company expect Apple to surpass its stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones this year. A 3G version of the iPhone, which runs on faster networks than the current model, is also expected to give a boost to sales overseas, where many wireless networks employ the technology.
Apple appears to have been setting itself up for the launch of the 3G iPhone by signing more deals with international carriers. The company is set to have the iPhone in about 50 countries by the end of the year.
Additionally, the current versions of the iPhone, which come with either eight gigabytes of storage for $299, or 16 gigabytes for $399, have for several weeks been listed as unavailable for purchase through Apple's online store, leading to a belief that Apple is clearing out inventory ahead of the launch of a new 3G device.
Any new iPhone will also be unveiled about the same time Apple is scheduled to put out the full version of a software development kit, or SDK for the device. In March, Apple debuted a beta version of the SDK that includes support for Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange ActiveSync that allows the iPhone to receive push email and other services by working with Microsoft Exchange Server systems.
Ken Dulaney, of technology research firm Gartner Inc., said that while the iPhone is not yet a year old and is one of the hottest tech gadgets on the market, it's "extremely important" that Apple offer a newer version of the device in order to appeal to the business customers and international markets that are crucial for the company's iPhone growth plans.
"They've got to do something new," Dulaney said."Not having 3G has been a problem because the iPhone now runs on a slower network. There are parts of the world that won't embrace it without 3G."
In addition to an anticipated new iPhone, there is also growing speculation that Apple could launch a new business model for the device - one that involves subsidies paid by wireless carriers that could offset part of the high price of the device for consumers.
At American Technology Research, analyst Shaw Wu believes Apple's new 3G iPhones will cost about the same as the current models, and that those older versions will see their prices cut by $50 to $100 each.
Wu thinks that after selling the iPhone for a year, the company "is more focused on driving volume compared to a year ago, raising the possibility of carrier subsidies as likely." Wu also believes the new iPhone will have an improved keyboard that creates a more realistic feel to using the device.
Andy Hargreaves, of Pacific Crest Securities, estimates that Apple will sell 10.5 million iPhones this year. He predicts the company will debut two 3G iPhones at about $400 and $500 each at next week's event.
He also said that, after talking with a "key carrier," the chances of iPhone subsidies are greater than he had expected. While he believes that carriers might also raise their rates for data plans to counter some of the subsidies they will cover, he doubts those increases would turn customers away from a lower iPhone sticker price.
"We believe consumer would react positively to the lower upfront pricing and would still purchase more iPhones than we currently estimate," Hargreaves said in a research note.
Источник: Total Telecom