Apple’s loose-lipped carrier partners should roll up their sleeves and prepare for a serious Cupertino wrist slapping. Fourth generation (iPhone 4G) stories are now appearing in the French and South Korean press. The buzz says this “next gen” iPhone model will go on sale in late spring or early summer. It is presumed, but not confirmed, that these leaks are coming from Apple’s own carrier partners. In South Korea that would be KT (formerly known as Korea Telecom), and in France we have three prime suspects– Orange, Bouygues Telecom and SRF.
Rumors of an iPhone 4G have been whispered before, but the motive for leaks may be greater in Korea, where KT is locked in a no-holds barred battle with anti-iPhone forces (*cough* Samsung, LG, and SK Telecom). It is possible that KT is fighting back by leaking word of a forthcoming iPhone 4G launch. This news might give consumers reason to pause before they buy a lesser handset offered with a SK Telecom service contract.
The French reports say the iPhone 4G is coming in May. The Korean reports claim that the iPhone 4G will ship on a “test basis” in April to select corporate clients with wider distribution to retail consumers in June. There has also been some speculation that an early launch (late spring, early summer) of an iPhone 4G is intended to reclaim the spotlight from HTC’s Nexus One, a.k.a. Google’s self-proclaimed “Superphone.”
Many will recall Elevation Partner Roger McNamee’s (a Palm Pre investor to the tune of $425 million) Nostrodomis act in March 2009. The Palm Pre was the darling of the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show and McNamee told Bloomberg that Pre was going to be “several times faster than the iPhone” and would “run rings around [Apple’s iPhone] on the Web.” McNamee also predicted that “not one” of the iPhone’s early adopters would renew their contracts. Ooops! Roger, Roger … Too bad, so sad.
Unbeknownst to Palm and Elevation Partners, Apple was not going to stand still. Soon after McNamee’s brash claims, Apple unveiled (March 17, 2009) their iPhone 3.0 OS and in June 2009 Apple launched the iPhone 3GS. The plastic toy Pre never recovered from Apple’s devastating one-two counter punch. Roger “Sampson” McNamee had his golden locks trimmed and hasn’t been heard from since.
It wasn’t just iPhone 3GS + 3.0 OS upgrades that impacted Palm. A major dose of reality set in after the initially gushing reviews of Pre melted under the heat of actual consumer usage. Many disgruntled Pre owners complained about scratch prone screens and cracks and wobbles with the slide-out keyboard.
Like the Pre before it, the HTC/Google Nexus One may be encountering a similar “post launch” dose of reality. Nexus One recently lost a touchscreen accuracy test to the iPhone, many are bitching about Nexus One’s rapidly draining battery, and it also has some vexing 3G reception problems. Nexus One support forums are filled with complaints about dropped 3G connections. Notwithstanding the Superphone’s Kryptonite problems, Apple will not sit back and assume that Nexus One will self-destruct ala Roy Batty (Bladerunner Nexus 6 Android) or Palm Pre. The best defense is a great offense and Apple appears to be readying a formidable Android counter attack – Apple iPhone OS 4.0 and iPhone 4G. Boom!
Here are a few rumored iPhone 4G features recently leaked to the media:
- OLED screen
- live video chat
- possible removable battery
- dual core processors
- better video chip
NOTE: Rumors are often totally off-base … so take this report for what it’s worth … not much!