Total Speculation: iPad/iPhone

I’m not even going to pretend I have sources for this.

– So a lot of websites were presuming that Apple was going to give a preview of the next generation of the iPhone OS. Obviously they have not been paying attention to how Apple does product release events. The iPad launch was all about the new hardware/software paradigm that is the iPad according to Apple. You don’t weaken the publicity of the iPad launch by showing the new iPhone OS at the same time. The last 24 hours every technology  blog has been all about the iPad. Never divide your message, never provide a bigger distraction is part of the Jobs product launch game plan. While iPhone/iPod Touch/App Store numbers were lauded that was mainly to reinforce how large a market those two products have created in 2.5 years and how ingrained a position Apple has in the mobile device application market. It was a not so subtle message that Apple can generate a new market very quickly. The rest of the presentation was all iPad save for referencing its’ cross application capability.

– Carrier subsidies for the iPad are going to happen. True, Steve showed no contract pricing, but AT&T is going to have an offer for signing a two-year data contract. The $130 price difference for 3G will completely disappear in terms of a reduced retail price or reduced usage rates with a contract commitment; either way sign a contract and you will get a better deal. The contract will have a protective ETF (Early Termination Fees) like most smartphones. The WiFi only versions are going to be very popular in my opinion so Apple is giving the customer clear pricing information. If the 3G versions are more popular I can easily see Apple down the road only building one version with 3G included. Currently, most netbooks don’t come with 3G built-in,  it’s added via USB dongle. Apple is one step ahead by having a built-in 3G option.

– I’ve watched the iPad presentation a couple of times, and read/watched Appleinsider’s report on handling the device. It seemed that the presentation of the iPad OS only focused on a handful of apps and didn’t go in depth into the new iPad OS. For instance;

  • No applications that featured notifications were demonstrated.
  • No interaction with MobileMe was featured.
  • The home screen was incredibly boring
  • The bottom dock was not explained or featured and clearly the dock looks like it can accommodate additional icons.

– Where am I going with this? The iPad release time frame is approximately late March. Like clockwork, Apple the last two years, has held March events to demo the new iPhone software (March 6th OS 2.0  and March 17th OS 3.0). Apple is secretive but very predictable.  March iPhone OS preview event. June/July new iPhones at WWDC. OS X new version previews at WWDC. September new iPods. Mac product release dates are murkier but Apple has set up this rotation for the iPhone for developers and really for customers. Does anyone really think that Apple is not going to keep upgrading the iPhone OS? Or that the impressive work done by WebOS and Android the last 6 months is not going to draw a response from Apple?

– Apple will hold an iPhone OS 4.0 preview event prior to the release of the iPad. This is complete speculation but I’m guessing the following new features are highlighted. UPDATE: Looks like Boy Genius Report has a similar suspicion that the iPad has more to reveal with new iPhone OS version.

  • Multitasking in some simple way. It may only be available to streaming applications or messaging apps. It will be elegant and require developers to take some action. It may be disabled by default, requiring customer action. It may be limited to the 3G/3Gs iPhone (with the 3GS being better able to handle multi-tasking). Apple will clearly indicate that it’s going to be a hit in battery life. That same multi-tasking ability will be shown on the iPad (I’m betting that the iPad multi tasked apps move to the dock.). On the iPhone it may be as simple as a double home button tap to activate the multi-task menu. (Great demo from Ocean Observations)
  • Email will receive a significant upgrade in terms of managing multiple accounts. One unified Inbox for all Email accounts is a concept capturing a lot of interest. See TUAW’s things we want in the next OS part 3  for a full list of Email suggestions.
  • Printer drivers/APIs for both WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • Notifications will be improved/become more elegant.
  • Easier navigation of all the application pages. This rather sophisticated “Expose” like approach seems like the kind of eye candy that Apple would use (Again from the guys at Ocean Observation)
  • Home screen information. Again, not my idea but TUAW did a great job showing some various mockups that look fantastic. Here’s the image from their article

– If the iPhone is getting all these new features, it’s obvious that the iPad will also get these upgrades. An iPhone OS event is going to feature the iPad as well. Why didn’t Apple show all these features at the iPad event?  Beyond what I previously mentioned about stealing the iPad red carpet moment, why give their competitors too much prior knowledge about what they are doing (nearly 5 months lead time).

– Apple will be releasing a new iPhone in June. It’s a little early for an LTE iPhone that’s coming in 2011/2012. So what will be the biggest upgrade reason for existing users? Apple’s upgrade reason is going to be around this multi-tasking issue. The new iPhone is going to handle multiple apps better with far less impact to battery life. Will it feature a unique Apple chip set like the iPad? Very likely, and I think that Apple will be lauding the improvements that the new chip set has provided in performance and power management. In addition, look for Apple to modify the phone slightly in terms of physical look and feel. Gizmodo’s mockup is very cool, save for the removable battery which Apple will not do.

– With an updated  look and feel to the iPhone/iPod Touch, look for Apple to continue to build the 3Gs at a much lower entry price. 16 GB iPhone 3GS for $99 or maybe even $49.

– At the potential Apple iPhone release event, Apple will release the CDMA iPhone. Technology websites expected Verizon would be one of the data providers for the iPad, due to Verizon’s CDMA  network being less of an issue for a data only device. But you don’t unveil Verizon for the iPad, that’s not big enough, that’s not the Jobsian way. It’s clear that Apple sees the massive benefit in sales from multiple vendors (iPhone sales in Europe are exploding due to multiple vendors). Apple knows that there is a massive customer base waiting for the iPhone on Verizon’s network. You hit the competition (Android hardware, Palm, Blackberry) with new hardware running a new OS, on new networks, in one massive attack. With that trio of breaking news, Apple will end up dominating the technology blogs. The iPhone, with the prospect of 2 to 3 million users on large billplans, is the carrot that Apple uses to get a deal done with Verizon. The iPad could potentially wait for Verizon’s LTE offering in 2011/2012 so a 3g iPad is not a given. By 2011 both AT&T and Verizon, and potentially Sprint with Wimax will all have a better idea of how popular the iPad is. If Apple is selling 6 million iPads a year then their negotiating position with the carriers becomes that much more powerful.


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