Friday, Sep 30, 2011
[This is the third in a series of posts leading up to Tuesday's iPhone announcements. For more, check out Preview: This Year's iPhones and Shuffling up the iPod line.] As more rumors swirl in the run-up to Tuesday's big reveal, I have a few more thoughts to share, an in one case, reiterate.
One iPhone or two?There's been a new round of speculation that the iPhone 5 will be the only new iPhone, because the event invitation had a '1' badge on the iPhone icon. I think it's still very likely that there will be an iPhone 4S, though it won't be talked about much at the event. Much like the current 3Gs, the 4S will be downplayed by Apple, given a brief moment of attention as a 'budget iPhone' plus a brief mention that it has Apple's latest A5 processor, but it will never be given the stage. This is the iPhone 5's coming out party, and nothing's going to steal its sunshine.
Surprises in iOS 5Today Apple released iTunes beta 9, and this marks the first time this beta cycle that an iTunes beta hasn't been accompanied by a corresponding iOS beta. Given that the final version of iOS 5 is reported to have been handed off to the Asian manufacturers earlier this week, it would be unusual for the developer community to not be given a Release Candidate or Golden Master version prior to wide release. This leads to the likely conclusion that there are surprises in the final OS that were left out of the betas, but couldn't be left out any longer for final internal testing or (naturally) in the final release. There's widespread speculation that that 'something' is much broader voice recognition integration throughout the OS, and this seems very likely. I wouldn't count out another new app or two as well.
Tossing the ClassicYesterday, Apple removed click-wheel games from the iTunes store. The first games ever sold in the store, they were specifically for click-wheel-based iPods like the Classic and the previous generation Nano. With the elimination of these games, the rumor of the Classic's demise is virtually certain. One has to wonder if they'll be replaced by games for the Nano, and/or if an iOS-based Nano is in the works. It wouldn't be the first time that Apple released a product without iOS, only to port it to iOS without any major changes to the front-end experience. That claim to fame goes to the Apple TV. This still leaves the question of whether the Shuffle will join the Classic on the bench, and whether such a cut would be accompanied by a big Nano price cut.
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