Apple iPhone Rumors Return With a Vengeance

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

Apple iPhone Rumors Return With a Vengeance

Well, the Apple iPhone rumors are back. This time, word has it that Taiwan-based manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn Electronics) received an order from Apple for 12 million iPhones. That’s the same company, InfoWorld says, that builds Apple’s iPod.

According to AppleInsider, the new iPhone rumors started with a report published Thursday in China Times. So far I haven’t been able to locate an English version of the report to verify. (It should be noted that InfoWorld claims the news was broken by a publication called Commercial Times; all I can conclude is that the news came out of Asia.)

AppleInsider also claims the iPhone, which allegedly will include an MP3 player and a 2.0-megapixel camera (with components and assembly from Largen, Micron and Foxconn subsidiary AlusTech), will start shipping in February, 2007.

“Intel, Sharp, Tripod Technology, Broadcom and Sunrex are also said to be part of the mix, supplying the memory, LCM display, circuit board, baseband chip and keypad, respectively,” AppleInsider said.

Also according to AppleInsider, “Apple will reportedly tap long-time iPod casing manufacturer Catcher Technology to mold and manufacturer the phone's exterior housing.”

Of course, so far none of the manufacturers cited will confirm that they’re involved. And Apple, as usual, is presenting a perfect poker face. So we’ll just have to wait till February to find out if the rumors are correct.

But, while we’re waiting, there are other aspects of the alleged upcoming iPhone launch to consider. Take distribution and profits, for example. InfoWorld in a report today quotes Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff as saying that he figures Apple will ship 29 million iPhones next year, and that the new device could reduce sales of iPods somewhat.

Neff estimates that iPhone sales could reach $6 billion during 2007. Obviously, this is just an estimate since we don’t know yet how much the supposed iPhones will sell for, nor how many units Apple will make and ship next year (if any).

Another thing to consider is how popular and iPhone will be, when it is launched (I won’t say “if,” because I think it’s a sure thing at some point in the future). At first glance, I would hazard a guess that many, many people will snap up iPhones as soon as they arrive.

But at least one person is less than enthusiastic. ZDNet blogger Jason O’Grady predicts that the iPhone will incorporate “a candy bar or slider form factor,” rather than arrive in smartphone format—and that poses a dilemma.

“My problem is that I don't really want an iPod/phone hybrid - I'm more of a smartphone guy,” O’Grady writes. “Readers of this blog know that I'm a huge fan of the Treo (I live on the thing) and can't really see myself giving it up any time soon.”

O’Grady acknowledges, though, that plane and train commuters, as well as students, probably will “freak out” about iPhone. He even admits that he probably will buy one, but not to use as his primary phone.

If you’re just dying to let the world know if you will buy an iPhone, cast your vote using O’Grady’s poll.

Okay, that’s it for now from the rumor mill. Do let me know if you happen across any related, semi-likely info, okay?