Reuters: Buzz builds over expected Apple ‘iPhone’

“The long-rumored arrival of a hybrid mobile phone and iPod music player from Apple Computer Inc. has morphed from a question of ‘If’ to ‘When’ among fans and analysts,” Duncan Martell reports for Reuters in an article already seeing widespread syndication.

Martell reports, “Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Apple are poised to roll out what has been dubbed the ‘iPhone,’ perhaps as soon as January next year at the Macworld conference that kicks off every new year, analysts say. ‘From a technical standpoint, the phone is pretty much done,’ said American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. ‘It’s a big endeavor and we believe it’s beyond speculation.'”

“In recent weeks, blogs that cater to Apple fans have been buzzing insistently that the iPhone is coming. Just this week, the Taiwanese financial daily, Commercial Times, reported that Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. is building the iPhone,” Martell reports.

“Jobs and Apple are famously tight-lipped about unannounced products. But company Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer did hint about a possible mobile phone with iPod-like functions during a conference call with analysts in July to discuss third-quarter financial results,” Martell reports. “Asked to comment on how Apple would compete with offerings such as Sony Corp.’s popular Walkman phone, Oppenheimer said he believed Apple would do just fine.”

Martell reports, “Analyst Wu believes the iPhone would be a candy-bar-shaped phone, rather than a flip phone like Motorola’s huge hit, the RAZR mobile phone. And he believes the iPhone would not be too bogged down with all the bells and whistles often crammed into today’s smart phones. ‘I think it’ll be pretty simple with functionality probably similar to an iPod Nano,’ Wu said.”

Martell reports, “With about a billion cell phones expected to be sold next year, if Apple can break into that market and be half as well received as its iPod was, it adds up to serious dollars… One other not inconsiderable decision is what cell phone standard — CDMA or GSM, for example — the phone would use and whether Apple would link up with one mobile phone company to provide the service.”

Full article here.

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25 Comments

  1. Actually, I was hoping that Apple would have at least one model with bells & whistles. I would like a Palm (or Apple OS) based PDA phone which I can use for business. I don’t use music functions often.

    Not likely, I suspect. But that’s what I’d like.

  2. Shaw Wu is a bozo. What credibility does he have? He’s the one ranting on about how Apple will be late with products they haven’t even announced yet. He’s the one that said Apple will have a poor end of the year sales because they didn’t get a touch-screen iPod on the streets. He’s consistently wrong. When will American Technology Research wake up and dump this guy?!?! Too bad too because he was such a nice boy growing up.

  3. @ Dion:
    If Apple never brings to the market, then the stock price might dramatically fall due to the high expectations the analysts raise.
    Apple has shown in future how relevant those voices are and how easily the share price can be influenced.
    Let’s hope there’s some facts behind and Apple is not
    doing nothing as Peter Oppenheimer said.
    I hope, whatever product will be out, that it will be a surprise and a ‘toy’ where people say: This is want I want, this is what I have been looking ofr, because it has greate features and makes life easier.
    Might be some nice extras for the “iTV”, or even an “iPhone”.
    MDN word: Suprise in the sense of: “Go, Steve, let your one more thing be a big surprise!”

  4. MR. WU IS NOW AN AIR RAID WARDEN

    There’s a Chinese laundry man, the famous Mr. Wu
    He’s chucked his limehouse laundry shop and his window cleaning, too
    He’s got another job, and it’s one of the best
    Now he’s doing his bit for England like the rest.

    And Mr. Wu is now an air raid warden, and don’t he look cute in his new siren suit..
    He goes round every night to make the black-out sure
    So if you’ve got a chink in your window, you’ll have another one at your door
    His headquarters, it’s plain, are down by lover’s lane

    And he goes there every evening anyhow
    He’ll flash his torch into the dark
    And the girls all cover their laundry mark
    ‘Cause Mr. Wu ‘s an Air Raid Warden now

    One night while on his beat, a couple he did meet
    They were cuddling in the shelter anyhow.
    He said “The all clear’s gone, you see” and the chap said “Boy you’re telling me!”
    ‘Cause Mr. Wu’s an Air Raid Warden Now.

    His cousin one way in, one day was helping him
    To move a time-bomb from their shop, I vow,
    But it went off bang and there’s no doubt, one way in flew one way out
    And Mr. Wu’s no Air Raid Warden now.

    Oh Mr. Wu is now an Air Raid Warden, and don’t he look cute in his new siren suit.
    He goes round every night to make the black-out sure
    So if you’ve got a chink in your window, you’ll have another one at your door.

    A fire-bomb dropped one day, so close to him they say
    That he deserves a medal they all vow
    But perhaps what you don’t understand, he put the fire out but he didn’t use sand
    ‘Cause Mr. Wu’s an Air Raid Warden Now.

  5. I would expect Apple to release something useful to consumers. They came to the mp3 player market and did the same thing.

    A phone is more challenging than an mp3 player. It may take a few product iterations before Apple sets the mobile phone world on fire.

    -b

  6. Here are some nuggets to chew on while you wait for the mythical iPhone. Oh, it will be done, but just be patient!

    The iPhone won’t look like an iPod. The form factor is all wrong for a phone. However, they may use the same materials (aluminum, polished metal, colors, etc.) providing some continuation of brand identity. Why is the form factor wrong? First, you need a speaker and a microphone to make it possible to hold a phone conversation. This needs to be integrated to the face of the iPhone (if you assume an iPod-like shape). Since an average human face has the mouth and ear separated by some distance, this requires the microphone and speakers to be placed on the edges of the device (basic cellphone engineering). This in turn causes the screen to move down and the click-wheel to move up (or elongate the device if the distance between the screen and the wheel must be fixed). Second, the numeric buttons would have to be placed somewhere along the bottom of the phone. Ah, if the click-wheel was virtualized onto a touch-screen, there would be place of space (on a 5G iPod) face to make a numeric pad GUI. However, this would make the ON/OFF button work differently than an iPod, it would consume more power than having physical buttons, and could make it harder to identify the correct orientation of the phone (numeric pads convey information about orientation than a blank screen can’t). So if this logic holds, there have to be real numeric keys on this phone. But where does the click-wheel go? Does it make sense to build the phone as a slider? Sure, ok.
    So far, we have a rectangular device with the look and feel of an iPod, a speaker and microphone to talk/listen, and a numeric keypad on a sliding body to dial. There are a few things missing! First, the body of an iPod is still too wide so we’ll have to trim that up a bit. Second, we’ll need a removable battery compartment. Non-removable batteries may be standard for iPods, but the amount of power needed for cellphones is much higher and this puts more stress on the battery with a lot more charge cycles. Obviously the battery must be bigger to supply all that juice. I’m going to ignore space for the electronics and antenna because they are pretty small compared to the rest, trust me. But metal may have to go if there is a patch antenna as to not block the signal (aluminum may or may not be ok, depending on the type). So now the phone is made of plastic (a la MacBook) with a bigger, removable battery and a narrower slider configuration. What else?
    Well, if we keep the iPod menus the same, we’ll need to add a status indicator for the number of bars, a Bluetooth indicator (?) and a web status indicator if you’re going to connect it to a 3G network. This is doable, but we need a menu screen to enter the phone numbers we’re going to dial as well as view any caller ID info for incoming calls. If iCal and Address Book are integrated, we’ll need menu/display screens for those. Everything would have to be syncable with dotMac. We’d probably also want to rearrage the order of the scroll menus to be quicker to get the phone functions, iPod functions, and the personal tools to be more efficient (HINT: iPod Updater just before release).
    Anyway, I’ll post pics when I’m done with this design. But at least now you appreciate what goes into the design of a phone. In the end, it’s just a phone so don’t waste your money (stocks) or time (anxiety) over the iPhone. Take all those schmucks who waited for the PS3 only to realize it was junk. Let Apple design at its own pace, you’ll get a better product.

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