Okay, let's all take a deep breath and go have a weekend before the madness kicks up a notch Monday morning. But first, one last look at the iPhone 3G rumors. If for some reason Apple CEO Steve Jobs doesn't unveil the new iPhone during his WWDC Keynote Address (10 am Pacific Time, Monday June 9), well, people will be upset, little girls will cry, and the entire tech blogosphere will look pretty stupid.
That said, what am I expecting from the new iPhone?
Rumor: 3G Connectivity
Prediction: Yup. Money in the bank. Even AT&T's head honcho said as much back at CTIA.
Rumor: GPS and Video Calling
Prediction: GPS is an almost definite, while video conferencing is a pretty good bet. Apple's got the video chat know how from all their work on OS X's iChat, and they'd love to wow us all with some kind of whiz bang Mac-to-iPhone video conferencing feature. That might be a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn't be shocked if those rumors of a front-facing camera on the new iPhone came true.
Rumor: Thinner, Longer Battery Life, More Memory
Prediction: Apple isn't going to release a new iPhone that's thicker than the original. That's just not their style. That said, will they be able to pack 3G and longer battery life into a new model that's even thinner than the first one? It'd be a tall order, but if anyone can do it it's Apple. I'm going to say we'll see a design that's roughly the same size but does feature more battery life thanks in part to advances in power-efficient 3G chips. We could also see a tapered housing similar to the one on Apple's MacBook Air laptop that makes the new iPhone seem thinner than it really is (i.e. Super thin on the edges, thicker in the middle). More memory is a shoo-in, hopefully in the form of both extra RAM and extra flash storage for media.
Rumor: Better Camera, Video Capture Mode, Mobile TV Capable
Prediction: iPhone's camera is pretty medicore, and Apple's been hearing about it from pundits and consumers alike. Look for the new iPhone's camera to offer more megapixels and video capture mode, at the least. I'd love to see autofocus and a flash, but Apple likes to keep things simple and clean-looking, so we might not get those features. As far as Mobile TV support goes, forget about it. Apple doesn't care if you subscribe to AT&T's new TV service, but they do want you shopping at the iTunes store for your video needs.
Rumor: Stereo Bluetooth and MMS support.
Prediction: Yup on both. It's about time, too.
Rumor: Subsidized pricing, two new models, available in stores immediately.
Prediction: Yup, maybe, and I sure hope so. At this point I think Apple wants to sell tons of iPhones more than they want to keep them prices in the "luxury item" category. Allowing AT&T and other carriers to subsidize the handset's cost with a "$249 with contract and rebate" type deal would not only make iPhone more affordable for consumers, but it would also encourage would-be unlockers (like me) to jump ship from other GSM carriers to AT&T, resulting in more new subscriber commissions for Apple. Think about it: If I can get an iPhone for $400 and unlock it to use on T-Mo, or sign up for AT&T and get the phone for $150 or so cheaper, switching to AT&T suddenly looks a lot more attractive. Not to say that I wouldn't pay the premium to stick with my carrier, but at least there's something to think about.
As far as the rumors about a lower cost "iPhone nano" rearing its head on Monday, I'm not so sure. On the one hand, there's been a lot of buzz in the media about a smaller, lower cost handset from Apple. And Apple's other product lines do feature at least three models differentiated by cost, size, and features: iPod shuffle, nano, Classic, and Touch; MacBook, MB Air, and MB Pro; Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. But it's hard to imagine a smaller iPhone with an easy to use touchscreen running the full blown "OS X iPhone" operating system, and Apple's really pushing iPhone as a mobile computing platform, and the Application Store should be open for business next week. So if there is a second iPhone model coming, I'm thinking it would have to be a very pared down version - maybe something that's smaller and "cuter" but limited to phone, iPod, and basic messaging functions.
Will the new iPhone(s) be available in stores immediately following their introduction on Monday (if, in fact, they're introduced on Monday)? I sure hope so ;-)