According to the The Korea Times, Apple is already prepping the next-gen iPhone, with a launch that could be as early as April. But — and this important — that early launch date may not be for everyone.
Here’s the scoop: Apparently, this buzz originated from an executive of KT, South Korea’s exclusive iPhone carrier. He claims that the new handset will debut for bigshot Korean corporate clients in April, but the public won’t get it until June. Now even if that’s the case, the move would still be a surprising one, given Apple’s penchant for big, hotly hyped launch events. And iPhones have historically been debuted for worldwide release in June or July, so wouldn’t this limited release steal some of that thunder?
Maybe not. In the past, the idea of an iPhone launch in advance of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — which is believed to start June 28 — would’ve been unthinkable. That June 28 rumor was based on a report that a generic "Corporate Event" listing popped up in the Moscone Conference Center's event calendar. (That type of listing has been a practice of Apple’s in the past.) But now — get this — that listing has since been removed from the conference center’s agenda.
In addition to the early launch date, the exec also asserts that the 4th generation phone will sport an OLED screen and video chat capability, plus a high probability that a removable battery will also be on board. Other claims include a dual core processor, and more powerful graphic chips capable of delivering higher video resolutions and capturing better still images.
We’ve all heard iPhone rumors every year since — well, since even before the device launched. What make these tidbits so interesting is that (1) they’re sourced from an exec with an Apple exclusive carrier and (2) the media’s widely been reporting that Apple needs to do something big to rein in the march of Android. Not only is there a greater number of Android handsets, say analysts, but the devices are getting increasingly faster and offering comparable features to the iPhone (such as Google’s own handset, the Nexus One).
As if this wasn’t enough to ponder, a spokesperson in Apple's South Korean unit confirmed that the company is in discussions regarding launch timing for the new iPhone. (Wow, I must be dreaming. I can’t believe Apple’s actually responding to buzz. It’s the overseas unit, but still…)
"With KT, we've been in talks with other telecom carriers to gauge the launching timing of 4G iPhones in South Korea. More tech-oriented features will be added to the models," a representative of Apple's South Korean office said.
What could this mean for the U.S.? That’s hard to say. Just because it goes on limited release across the globe doesn’t necessarily mean that things will change here at home. (Then again, that Moscone Center reservation suddenly disappearing is kind of suspicious.) One thing’s for sure — If the next iteration of the iPhone does debut in April for Korean bigwigs, chances are good that info on the new device will be all over the webs shortly thereafter. (Especially if any of those bigshots have a techno-nerd for a kid.) So if there’s a grain of truth to this, at minimum, there’s a bright side to look forward to. We could get a real look at the new handset far earlier than what we’re used to.
(Hmmm. My uncle’s a Korean corporate exec in Seoul. Maybe I should ask him what device he’s packing…)