Given that a 3G iPhone is all but a certainty for launch sometime this year, evidence of the device is bound to surface before too long given FCC rules about public filings and Apple's history of controlling the hype surrounding their devices (i.e. beating any potential FCC leaks to the punch with a public launch six months before ship date). And despite the lack of iPhone news at MacWorld last month and the recent release of a 16GB iPhone, the rumor mill is abuzz with word of a possible iPhone-centric Apple event on February 26th.
Fueled by Apple's already having announced last Fall that ""We plan to have an SDK in developers' hands in February," and an unconfirmed rumor "that the company that does television for Apple's live events and Macworld is apparently hiring for an unannounced Apple event at the end of February," (from TUAW.com) Apple blogs are now speculating that Steve Jobs will take to the stage two weeks from Tuesday to unveil the SDK and also announce that a 3G iPhone is in the works for release later this year.
This is all nothing but rumor right now, and Apple could well be planning a media event to release new laptops or software/services entirely unrelated to iPhone. But it makes sense that Apple would soon be announcing a 3G iPhone, particularly given last week's news regarding AT&T's expanded 3G coverage in the US.
At the least, the release of the iPhone/iPod Touch SDK should bring a slew of new iPhone applications - hopefully among them some real game-changers developed by big-time software houses with Apple's support over the past few months.
On a related note, Apple blog 9to5Mac claims to have gotten a tip that Apple is going to drop iPhone prices by $100 within the next two months. The rumored price drop will also phase out the 8GB model, leaving only the 16GB iPhone at a $399 price point. Apple currently offers an 8GB iPhone at $399 and the newly released 16GB model for $499.
Such a move would make sense from the standpoint of keeping the iPhone line simple and attractively priced, but could also incense early buyers of the $499 16GB model. Last year Apple cut the prices of iPhones from $499/599 to $299/399 and then offered $100 in store credit to "early adopters" as a response to public outrage from those who'd bought iPhones at the steep introductory prices. iPhone sales spiked dramatically following the price cut, and a similar price cut this year could entice buyers to buy up remaining iPhone inventory even if a 3G model is pre-announced months before it ships.
Read more on The Unofficial Apple Weblog from here.