I wish it was Tuesday already. Because then the Apple WWDC Keynote would be over, and we'd know exactly how true the swirling iPhone rumors are. Today's crop consolidates what we've heard before, and adds a little sprinkling of Steve-ness.
We heard the rumor before, but now the Financial Times has sources that say, "Apple plans to introduce a cheaper version of its popular iPhone as soon as Monday, in a move that could dramatically increase the company's share of the market for Web-surfing devices."
Different guesses are being made around the Web as to what price it will be pegged at—assuming it's real—but here's mine: $99, and 4GB of memory aboard. That's the magic price point. Any less, and you risk losing some of the iPhone's high-end cachet, any more and it's too close to the iPhone's current $199 price.
Leaked Pics: Camera Shutter Button?
More detailed images have surfaced than the ones we saw the other day, and there's a lot of consistency here: The black bezel and the bottom-mounted headphone socket being the two most prominent features.
But the new pics also hint at one more very interesting feature, a side-mounted button that's perfectly placed to act as a camera shutter release. If this turns out to be true, it's a brilliant move. The new iPhone's supposed to have a better 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera, and one of the main criticisms leveled against the old app was its tricky touch-screen shutter. Adding a physical button that is perfectly placed when the phone's held in landscape position would position the iPhone as even more of a multi-purpose device.
There's a mystery in the images too: A slot at the top of the phone's face. That tallies with earlier leaks from an iPhone parts manufacturer. But in the photo the existing speaker-grille slot is there too—is there some repurposing going on? Will the front-facing camera peep through one of these holes? Is it a boost to the iPhone's quiet loudspeaker mode? Is it just some Photoshop trickery?
It Will Be Called iPhone Video
Leaked pics from what's reported as a pre-release tweak to AT&T's support Web site show a listing for "iPhone Video" among the devices in a drop-down menu. It's a tenuous, tenuous rumor, and it's pretty easy to fake such an image.
But, to be honest, it wouldn't surprise me at all. What else would Apple call it? iPhone is such an iconic name, and the 3G appendix was a logical extension. It can't be called the iPhone 3, since that's just too confusing. The company has shied away from naff-sounding names like <em>Ultra</em> in its other products, preferring to re-brand instead. Take the case of iBooks becoming MacBooks. And with many a rumor pointing to the souped-up camera, video-editing capabilities, and a front-facing Webcam, iPhone Video's looks like a good choice.
Tech guru Walt Mossberg reviewed the Palm Pre the other day, and in it he made mention of the existing and future iPhones. The internets then went wild with speculation that Walt had inadvertently given away some information about the new device. Specifically, the phrases "I'd note that the new iPhone to be unveiled next week will have lots of added features," and "new iPhone hardware coming, likely available within a month."
Let's think about this: Walt is highly connected, may have a pre-release version to test, and almost certainly has excellent Apple contacts. But, like yourself, he also reads the Web, and picks up on the rumor vibe the same way. I doubt that he accidentally gave anything serious away, and all the things he said do tally with known rumors. Still, we hope Apple's not putting the screws on you, Uncle Mossy!
Steve Jobs at WWDC?
This is a persistent one: It's long been speculated that Steve would return from his medical leave of absence in time to present new devices next week. But Apple's denied it repeatedly, Phil Schiller is slated as keynote presenter, and any pre-WWDC planning would've eaten into Steve's recuperation in a bad way.
But there's a suggestion he'll return very soon—before the end of the month, in fact, which is only just over two weeks away. Apple marketing execs are apparently trying to match Steve's return to a "big" product launch press event, it's also said.
Put that together with what we already know, and you have to wonder: Will Jobs pop up at the end of the WWDC week—normally an anticlimactic time, press-wise—and surprise everyone with some dramatic news?
One more thing, indeed.