Apple will hold its World Wide Developer Conference event in San Francisco June 8, and speculation has mounted over the past several months that the company will use the venue to unveil the latest version of its mega-successful iPhone. Such a move would dovetail nicely with the company's modus operandi: Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 3G at the event a year ago, shortly before the device went on sale to an apparently touchscreen-hungry public (Apple sold a whopping 6.9 million iPhone 3Gs in the three months after its release).
Thus, the possibility of a new iPhone unveiling is clear, and there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to support such expectations. Indeed, tech celebrity Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal seemingly confirmed a new iPhone his review yesterday of the Palm Pre: "Whether the Pre is better than the iPhone depends on your personal preferences, though I'd note that the new iPhone to be unveiled next week will have lots of added features that could alter those calculations," Mossberg wrote.
Nonetheless, the level of noise and buzz is such that it's worth recapping the rumor and speculation from the past several months that appear to show a new iPhone in the offing.
March 13: Apple announces it will preview new iPhone software, fueling speculation that there will be new hardware to follow. Word also comes that U.K. carrier O2 plans to lower its iPhone 3G prices to clear out inventory ahead of a new iPhone device. Article
March 27: Apple confirms that it will allow unlimited quantities of the iPhone 3G to be sold without an AT&T contract, a move some see as a way for the companies to clean inventory ahead of a launch. Apple sells the no-contract phones for $599 for the 8GB model and $699 for the 16GB version (compared with $199 and $299, respectively, on contract). Article
April 9: Chinese newspapers report on a number of potential components for a possible new iPhone, including a 3.2-megapixel camera, video recording and editing and a faster WiFi chip from Broadcom. Article
April 9: Kaufman Bros.' analyst Shaw Wu, citing his supply chain and industry sources, publishes a report saying Apple will launch two new iPhone models during the summer and that the company's "build plan" calls for between 5 million and 6 million units. Article
April 13: A report in the Wall Street Journal about Steve Jobs' health issues and his continuing role at the company notes that Apple is working on new iPhone models. Article
April 22: During Apple's quarterly earnings conference call, in which it reported selling 3.8 million iPhones, company executives say they are "excited about the other products in our pipeline," without providing details. Article
May 11: Posts on a Chinese website show a new iPhone that will feature 600 MHz CPU speed (up from 400 MHz), 256 MB of RAM (up from 128 MB), a digital compass and FM receiver, and a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto-focus--though no significant changes in the smartphone's battery life, touchscreen or external casing. Article
May 21: The Daring Fireball blog, which boasts a superlative track record when it comes to reading the Apple tea leaves, says it would "wager heavily" on a new iPhone for commercial release in July, speculating the device will feature roughly double the CPU horsepower and an improved video-capable camera. Article
May 22: AppleInsider reports AT&T is running low on the current iPhone 3G model, and customer service representatives are telling subscribers they don't expect the operator to restock. Article
May 22: T-Mobile Austria briefly posts a website placeholder advertising a 32 GB iPhone--as Engadget points out, T-Mobile Germany made a similar gaffe two years ago, promoting the iPhone just prior to officially announcing it would sell the device. Article
May 22: Open Salon reports on ads that indicate the new iPhone will support downloads of movies and TV shows. Article
June 5: The Financial Times reports that Apple is set to announce a cheaper iPhone. Article
But wait! Not everybody has partaken in the Kool-Aid. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster wrote in May that the company is saving both the return of Jobs and the new iPhone for a special, late June event. Article