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January iPhone?

December 3rd, 2006

MacRumors is reporting that a usually reliable source says the iPhone will be released in January. As previously reported, it will be “unlocked,” meaning that it is not married to a specific service provider–you can use it with any service you like. Also as reported, the iPhone would double as a portable music device, roughly equivalent to an iPod Nano.

The source, Kevin Rose, did come out with new info, aside from the January release date: the form factor is extremely small, the device will have two batteries (one for the phone, one for the music player), it will be priced at $250 for the 4GB version and $450 for the 8GB version, there will be a slide-out keyboard (not number pad?–it might be a full alphanumeric, but that’s unclear), and it will do some “unique things.” If you listen to the podcast (they start talking about it at 38:30), either Rose is BS’ing all of us and putting on a big act, or he has seen the phone in an inactive state, and has heard quite a bit about it–but is very reluctant to say much for fear of burning his source. He did not mention anything about a built-in camera or possible wireless (Bluetooth again assumed) syncing abilities, though one would assume both are in the phone.

Rose did mention that it might have touch-screen “on the outside,” which sounds like the touch-activated technology reported a short time ago.

I’d almost say that it would be a possibility that the touch-screen video iPod and the iPhone are going to be one and the same, but 4GB doesn’t seem like enough for holding any amount of video–unless the big price break for the 8GB model is because that is the video iPod combo.., but that’s still a bit impractical. A pity, as I want both devices. More likely they are indeed separate, but perhaps they are timed so closely because Apple needed to get the touch-screen technology to work just right…

I would normally rule this as an outlier rumor (coming out with a major gift item right after Christmas?), but MacRumors–a pretty good site for this kind of intel–gives some credence to this guy, who reportedly predicted the iPod Nano initial release perfectly, when no one else was. That’s no guarantee about this guy, but certainly gives one reason to pay attention. Also, Apple did release some pretty big items last January, the Intel iMac and the Macbook Pro–not exactly gift items, but still pretty big stuff nonetheless.

The report also seems a bit more authentic due to the strangeness within: two batteries? And why the huge difference in the price break? One would assume that the higher-end model delivers more than just double the flash memory, that it has most of the “unique things” relative to the cheaper model. Frankly, I don’t know about paying $450 for a cell phone; it’d have to be pretty goddamned spectacular. Will Apple really sell 12-20 million units next year at those prices?

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  1. Tim Kane
    December 4th, 2006 at 09:37 | #1


    Perhaps what I am to say is all stuff you know but I’ll mention it anyway.

    A January release is not totally out of the box. My brother works in consumer electronics. He owned a store for eight years. Has worked as a marketing executive for more than 15 years. In college I used to help out at his store over Christmas break which was always great. One year when Christmas sales were lack luster he told me it was no big worry. The big sales period for consumer electronics is the two months after Christmas: January and February.

    The more expensive an item, the more likely it is a personal purchase. We would sell Sony and Panasonic stuff in November and December, but esoteric high dollar stuff in January and February. People who have a lot of money buy in January. People with less amount of money pay off bills and save up and buy in February.

    If I call my brother and ask how business is going in mid-February, he already knows whether or not he will make his anual quotas (he’s not a salesman, per se, but he usually gets paid based upon volume of units moved).

    As a more sobering aside (unrelated to the above):
    Its amazing on how well I know the economy is really doing just by talking to him. His company’s biggest items are car amplifiers and speakers that allow kids to turn their cars into noise machines that you can hear the base thumping from a block or to away. Obviously, the bulk of his customers are not upper middle class that buy Ipod’s – they are the kind of people who do their buying in February. My brother is incredibly street savy and hip, even with Kids who are 30 years younger then him.

    He has “street” knowledge of the effect of the gulf war as well as his customers are in the service age group. He says that his customer base has had a paradigmatic change -he say many of his customer base know someone who is serving, been wounded, or killed in Iraq. The affect has been kind of a cultural and emotional shock to their system creating a sort of paralysis of youthful spirit. Many live with a sense of insecurity, with a sense that their social/generational group are canon fodder for a nation and for upper class of people. The lower economic strata of youth, he seems to suggest, haven’t gotten their arms arounds their situation, but one can see that they feel that they are all in danger, that the adults they look to to protect them from danger, are instead using them, inserting them into danger, for reasons they can’t fathom, but might appear to the youth to be a situation where the adults are using the children (of lower economic strata) to protect and comfort the adults of upper economic strata, and the adults of the lower economic strata appear to be powerless to substantially protect their children.

    The effects of wars have long lives. My mother reports that in the mid-1930s, she would go sleep at her grandparent’s house only to hear her grandfather wake up in the middle of the night screaming at the top of his lungs. Her grandfather, my great grandfather, served in the Phillipines during the insurrection adjacent to the Spanish American war, a sort of early Vietnam (in more ways than one). That was more than 30 years earlier than my mother’s birth. She inturn inhereted her own demons, and I have inhereted some of hers, and so on it goes – it takes many generations to wipe out the demons of one small war. One wonders about the long term social and political effect of this war – what will happen when the youth finally get their minds wrapped around what’s become of them, or when they come of age, or both.

    My hope is that the excesses of Bush will have created a new, permanent, liberal culture, much more sensible and much more grounded in fundementaly sound civics – but that’s only my optimistic hope. No telling what could happen. One things for sure, the effects of Boy Blunder in the White House will be felt for a very very long time.

  2. Luis
    December 4th, 2006 at 11:08 | #2

    Wow–from iPhones to car boomboxes to shell shock and Bush–now that’s a sweeping comment!

    You’re right, of course–very few people would buy a $450 cell phone as a Christmas gift. And since I wrote this, I’ve found that there are indeed many cell phones out there at both price levels (I usually get the cheap phones, no more than $100, usually subsidized in some way) so I guess it’s not as extravagant nor as ill-timed as I imagined.

    As for the rest, do you believe that the current war has a depressive effect on purchases by youths?

  3. Tim Kane
    December 4th, 2006 at 11:38 | #3

    Not sure. But at one point my brother seemed to indicate it had affected their purchasing behavior. Its like their normal behavior has been shattered like taking a hammer to a pane of glass.

    I am afriad to bring up the subject to my brother. He’s very good at his craft, he’s very dialed in, but part of that is he’s connected emotionally. If I bring it up, it can bring him down. In general he’s not been very optimistic lately. You teach. You know, students can affect you with their energy which they radiate with high intensity. That’s my experience here. Here its all good and all positive, especially the girls. Now imagine, if it all suddenly went dark and negative. Also, he has kids in this age catagory.

    I don’t talk to my brother that much, but now I find it difficult to bring up the subject. That’s my antenna. Since I don’t talk to him alot, I don’t want to bring him down. Also, I can easily say something in this regard that offends him out of my own ignorance. I only know of one person, only remotely, who has been shipped to Iraq – a nephew of a friend.

    Just thinking about this twist my gut up.

  4. November 8th, 2010 at 01:29 | #4

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