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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Apple iPhone... my guess / opinion

Rampant speculation, alleged leaks, supposedly expert opinion, and assorted other blather have surrounded the possibility of an Apple iPhone.

I claim no knowledge whatsoever. I haven't spoken to Apple in years, and although I own an iPod I'm not particularly bothered one way or the other.

But seeing as everyone else is trying, I'm going to have a guess anyway. So if I get it right, I can brag about it endlessly....

1) It won't be a "full hybrid" MP3/phone. It will be primarily an MP3 player, which also has some connectivity as a secondary capability.
2) It won't be sold in a way to replace users' existing mobile phones. I don't think Apple wants to "own" voice telephony, contacts list etc. Or deal with mobile operators.
3) I'd say there's a possibility that it could be a really "disruptive"WiFi-only phone, not a cellular device at all. Maybe even (and this really is pure dreaming) a SkypeiPhone
4) It won't be available in both CDMA and GSM variants on day 1 - if at all. Which means it won't be a truly global product.
5) It won't be a smartphone. There's a possibility it could use a Linux kernel, but it won't allow the user to install an random applications

Overall, I'm pretty skeptical. The problem is that Apple would need two separate business models in different parts of the world. In some countries, notably the US, it is difficult to think of a way of avoiding the major carriers' influence, unless devices were just sold through MVNOs. In other markets, the device could just be sold "vanilla" (but unsubsidised) and used with an ordinary SIM card. Even there, Apple would have to content with working nicely with both pre- and post-paid billing models.

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