First the facts - Unless 99% of the world's tech journalists and analysts are completely wrong, we will all be greeted with a new iPhone device when Apple hosts its Worldwide Developers Conference tomorrow.
The device, rumoured to be called the iPhone "Pro" or "Video", is said to be an upgrade of sorts from the most current iPhone, the 3G. Aside from improved memory capacity (up to 32 gigabytes), processing speed, a new operating system which will allow user to do all sorts of nifty things, video recording, there'll be a much-speculated frontal camera that will likely usher in a new form of personal communication to the masses. Think something like Seesmic but better.
Of course, the question that will be on OUR lips is when will the device reach the UAE? My thoughts after the jump.
To preface my comments, I have no inside information with Etisalat, Apple or du privy to me. Nor do I have any moles hunting this information down. What I do have, however, is a number of clues that will lead me to believe that the iPhone will certainly land around these parts sooner that later:
- During each of Apple's over-hyped iPhone announcements, the company likes to reveal launch dates as well as where the device will be available. During the original iPhone launch back in January 2008, the company said it would come out exclusively in the US later that year. During the iPhone 3G launch, Apple was keen to boast it would be available in 20-odd countries it signed carrier agreements with. This announcement will likely be no different, and should include a firm date as to when Etisalat (and possibly du) will get the new IPhone device.
- A research note from RBC Capital Markets equity analyst Mike Abramsky, one of the best Apple watchers around, sheds a bit of light:
- When the iPhone came out in the UAE earlier this year, sales on Etisalat didn't seem to be as strong as the company hoped it would be. There weren't many line-ups greeting Etisalat counters, probably because early-adopters who wanted their iPhone fix already got it on the grey market. To improve sales, Etisalat introduced Wasel, or pre-paid, payment plans for the iPhone and subsequently lowered the mobile broadband costs. Although this certainly improved sales, it is no secret that Apple itself likes to leverage its carrier partnerships for better payment plans. Could Etisalat's latest prices be influenced by a new iPhone? Maybe.
- Lastly, when tech companies launch an upgraded product, they flush out their inventory at discounted rates to make room for the new devices. Needless to say, Apple likely stopped making iPhone 3G's a long time ago. It would be hard to imagine anyone here wanting to buy an iPhone 3G in the next little while from Etisalat when they know a new version is likely on its way. Besides, Etisalat likely ordered its shipment of iPhones for the February launch knowing full well a new device would be coming later this year.
So, with all that said, I think we're going to see Apple announce the new iPhone tomorrow and include Etisalat in its full carrier announcement. If the US telecoms carrier AT&T still manages to retain an exclusive launch date for early July, as Mr Abramsky has hinted at, (July 17 is the rumoured date being passed around right now) expect the rest of the world to get it by the end of July or early August, just in time for the new school year.
Am I completely wrong? Have I nailed it? Your thoughts and speculation are welcome below in the comments. When do you think the new iPhone will make its way here?