Sunday, March 30, 2008

3G iPhone tipped for June

Following reports of rumours that Apple has placed manufacturing orders for a 3G version of the iPhone, the next round of scuttlebutt tips a June debut and higher volumes then previously expected.

Bank of America analyst Scott Craig says production will begin in May, with eight million or more iPhones (both versions) to be manufactured during the summer quarter, according to AppleInsider.

Furthermore, the Commercial Times (Taiwan) reports that bidding is underway for the manufacture of 3G iPhones, while Dow Jones has reported that Hon Hai (Foxconn) has already won a contract. The latter story states that a Hon Hai spokesperson would only confirm talks with Apple, but "a person familiar with the situation" asserted that an exclusive contract had already been signed.

A June introduction of the 3G iPhone could tie in with Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference to be held in San Francisco from June 9 to 13, especially if that event also sees the arrival of the finished version of the iPhone SDK, which is currently in beta.

If Craig's prediction of eight million phones in a quarter is correct, Apple will comfortably beat Steve Jobs' initial prediction of 10 million sales during 2008.

What's going to be packed into the new iPhone? GPS seems likely, as well as a dual-camera arrangement to allow 3G video calls as well as taking photos with the screen as a viewfinder. The industrial design of the handset is likely to change, as Apple and handset buyers are both particularly style-conscious.

It's possible that the 3G iPhone will sell for a similar or slightly higher price than the current model, with the first generation device getting a price cut.

A 3G iPhone would help Apple's chance of significant market shares in Europe, Asia and Australia where the faster system is already widely used. While the company already has an impressive share of the US smartphone market, the addition of a 3G model is likely to boost sales in areas served by 3G.


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