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Friday, September 30, 2011

What can we expect from Apple's upcoming iPhone announcement?

On Tuesday October 4th, Tim Cook will deliver his first key note (Cook Key?) as CEO of Apple.  From the invitation, we can pretty much assume he will be introducing the latest addition to the iPhone family.  So what will this new iPhone be?  There have been rumors ranging anywhere from a speed bumped version of the iPhone 4 (being referred to as the iPhone 4S) to an all-new thinner tear-drop shaped iPhone 5 with a larger screen and a wider, capactive home button.

What do I expect to see?...  My money is on the speed bumped iPhone 4S model.  This new iPhone will come in the same form factor as the current iPhone 4 and be equppied with an A5 processer, an 8MP rear camera and work on both CDMA and GSM networks (including AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint as well) but will still only be a 3G phone (except for maybe support for AT&T's HSPA+ pseudo 4G network).  It will come in 16GB and 32GB models priced at the same $199 and $299 and be available in both black and white.  There will also be a new iPhone 4 model with 8GB priced at $99, replacing the 3GS as the budget option.

The big question is... how will this be received?  The iPhone 4 is now almost 16 months on the market and we are used to new models every 12 months.  I can't help but think many people will be expecting much more after waiting an extra 4 months, especially Verizon customers who have been holding out for the new phone.  Many Verizon customers (myself included) may have held off upgrading to the CDMA iPhone 4 back in March expecting a new model in June or July.  Then they had to wait another 4 months, only to get a minor speed bumped revision of the same phone.  This will be a big test for Tim Cook, will he be able to invoke Steve's famous Reality Distortion Field and convince the masses that this new phone was worth the wait?  Will there be a big surprise or "one more thing"?  And if so, what will it be?...

There are a couple of possibilties.  One could be that they are doubling the storage capacity on all of the models.  The entry level iPhone 4 will have 16GB and the new iPhone 4S will come in 32GB and 64GB models at the same $199 and $299 price point.  Or maybe the entry level is still 8GB, but there will be 3 models of the iPhone 4S with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.  Another possible surprise could be the rumored addition of a voice controlled assistant built-in to iOS 5.  This was rumored to be announced back at WWDC, but Apple may have been saving this as a last minute addition.  What do I think?  I think the voice assistant may be announced and demoed next week, but more likely as a feature of an upcoming iOS 5.1 realease to be delivered early next year.  I would think this would need at least some time in a developer beta before being released.

Apple seems to have done a really good job this time not tipping their hand.  The rumors have been flying like crazy and no phones have been lost in a bar and sold to a tablog for them to reveal to the whole world.  But I really think alot of people are going to be let down when their favorite rumor does not turn out to be reality.  All we can do now is wait and see...