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Study: iPhone buzz significant among Americans

Although Apple’s iPhone is months away, awareness of the device is high among U.S. consumers. According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, 47% of respondents were aware of the iPhone and 17% expressed interest in purchasing it. Harris also broke down when consumers intended to buy the device. “Of those expressing interest to purchase, 9% say they would buy at product launch and another 8% would buy before their current wireless service contract expired,” the research firm said. “About 17% say they would wait for their current wireless contract to expire before purchasing and 25% would purchase it—when their existing wireless carrier offers the iPhone. Finally, a full 40% of buyers intend to wait for the price to come down.”

Sling CEO talks iPhone support

Following a panel discussion at NAB this week, Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian said he has spoken with Apple about the possibility of streaming to the iPhone, claiming his company “would love to support” the device. “I think the question for them is going to be, how are they going to phase the (iPhone) out?” Krikorian said of Apple. “There’s been some talk about whether it’s going to be a closed device or…open, or whether they’ll phase it (out), so I think it’s going to be up to them to see when (streaming) might be available. But I cannot comment any more than that.” Last week Sling confirmed that it is working on making the SlingBox compatible with the Apple TV.

AT&T: iPhone on target for late June release

Apple’s iPhone is on schedule to be released at the end of June, an AT&T executive said yesterday. “Our expectations are good. Our testing has been good,” said AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson. “The iPhone is on target to launch in June.” Stephenson said he was not sure how many of the devices will be available at launch. “We’re sorting through that right now,” he said. “We got a million people waiting to buy it so we’re hoping we get a million.” Despite recent speculation that the iPhone would be delayed, Apple also said last week the iPhone had “already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned.”

More iPhone cases found online

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A list of various iPhone cases has been spotted on the trade site Ali Baba, a site where merchants find manufacturers and vice-versa. The cases, not meant for direct sale to individuals, are available in silicone, leather, and even metal. As mentioned in our recent article “Consequences of iPhone’s early debut,” it is still unknown whether these cases were designed using real iPhone shells, or if these manufacturers are using rough mockups with the intention of finalizing the cases after iPhone’s launch. As of this writing, there are no known US distributors for the cases.

Cisco comments on iPhone ‘interoperability’

Following an agreement earlier this year to share the iPhone brand name, Apple and Cisco are currently exploring ways to make the iPhone work with Cisco’s business and consumer equipment. “We’re optimistic, but it’s still early,” Cisco Chief Development Officer Charlie Giancarlo said. Ways in which the two companies’ products can work together “are now being investigated by both technical teams.” Giancarlo said Cisco wants the iPhone to work with its corporate phone systems, allowing users to get the same services, such as instant messaging and teleconferencing, on their Cisco desk phones and iPhones. In a statement in February, Apple only said that the companies would “explore opportunities for interoperability.”

iPhone cases spotted at electronics fair

imageAlthough Apple’s iPhone isn’t scheduled for release until late June, Chinese accessory manufacturers have already been working on case prototypes, which were shown at the latest HK Electronics & Computer Fair in Hong Kong. Cases shown include what appears to be a hard plastic case, a silicone sleeve, and a leather case, all allowing access to the device’s touchscreen as well as side and home buttons. No release or pricing information for the cases has been released.

Analyst on iPhone: Expect rebate, bounty and Vodafone

Shaw Wu of American Technology Research has issued a new report detailing a number of iPhone developments that he expects to happen during the device’s launch. First, Wu said his sources believe AT&T will offer a rebate of $50-$150 to iPhone purchasers. “From AT&T’s perspective, a rebate is a great marketing tool to entice a customer to sign up for 2-year voice and data plans which cost $75-100 per month, meaning $1800-2400 in guaranteed bi-annual revenue,” the analyst said. Secondly, Wu said it appears Apple will be paid a “bounty” from AT&T for each iPhone customer it signs up at an Apple Store. Wu also said that Apple will likely participate in a revenue sharing agreement where it collects a recurring monthly fee—an estimated $5-$10 per user. Finally, Wu said his sources report that Vodafone will most likely be the carrier of the iPhone in Europe.

Apple having difficulties with iPhone development?

According to various reports following Apple’s announcement of a delay for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple is having troubles with the development of the iPhone, possibly pushing back the device’s launch by several weeks. “We’re hearing it’s mostly an issue with the complexity of the device, and that all the component suppliers are making their deliveries on time,” says Jagdish Rebello, an iSuppli analyst. Although Apple’s statement made it clear it still plans to ship the iPhone in “late June”, this contradicts previous reports form AT&T (formerly Cingular) stating the device had a target release date of June 11, during Apple’s WWDC conference.

Apple blames iPhone for Mac OS X Leopard delay

Apple said today that the iPhone is still on track to be released in June, but that it will delay Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard until October. The next version of Apple’s powerful operating system was scheduled to be released this spring. Apple blamed the delay on the iPhone, saying it had to “borrow” key resources from its Mac OS X team to complete the device on time. As previously noted on several occasions, the iPhone runs a stripped-down version of the Mac operating system.

“iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned,” Apple said in a statement. “We can’t wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is. However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price—we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned.”

“While Leopard’s features will be complete by then,” Apple continued, “we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.”

Rogers dismisses iPhone ‘speculation’

Rogers Wireless is backpedaling on its previous claims that it would carry Apple’s iPhone in Canada. “We haven’t announced whether we will carry the iPhone,” Odette Coleman,┬ámanager of corporate communications for Rogers Wireless, told CBC News. “Everything in the media has been speculation to this point. The only fact is that we are the only GSM carrier in Canada. That’s the only fact.” In a customer service email sent in January, Rogers said the company was “actively working with Apple to launch the iPhone in Canada as soon as possible and will be the exclusive provider of the iPhone in Canada.” Despite Rogers’ statement this week, it is the only carrier in Canada that operates on the GSM wireless standard, which the iPhone uses.

iPhone being released on June 11?

CNET News.com’s Gadget Blog claims that Apple’s iPhone will be available on June 11th. “Ever since Steve Jobs’ keynote at the Macworld Expo in January, we’ve known that the iPhone is being released sometime in June. But we haven’t known exactly when,” the site reports. “Now Cingular is confirming that the release date will be June 11. A customer service manager at Cingular (we called 800-947-5096 and were transferred to sales) gave us that date late Thursday, but, alas, said he didn’t have any additional information beyond that.” The date corresponds with the opening day of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.

Apple’s iPhone steals the show at CTIA event

Apple’s iPhone was briefly shown during AT&T’s keynote session today at the CTIA Wireless 2007 trade show. The AP reports: “When AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson pulled out the gadget during his speech, the audience snapped to attention and the room lit with camera flashes. And while Apple made sure to whisk the closely guarded device away from the convention center right after the speech, another keynote speaker managed to get his eager hands on it backstage beforehand: Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ‘He spent more time with it than I did,’ Stephenson said in an interview afterward. For a minute, ‘It seemed like he wouldn’t give it back,’ Stephenson joked. Then, as quickly as it began, all the fun and games came to an end—Apple style. ‘A guy in blue jeans’ took it away, Stephenson said.”

AT&T receives 1 million inquiries on iPhone

Cingular, now a unit of AT&T, has received about 1 million requests for information on Apple’s upcoming iPhone, according to AT&T Chief Operating Officer Randall Stephenson. Cingular, which is being rebranded as AT&T, will be the exclusive U.S. carrier of the device. While Cingular, nor Apple, are currently taking pre-orders, Cingular has a section on it website inviting visitors to submit their email addresses to receive information about the phone when it is released. “One million people have asked us to call when this phone is available,” Stephenson said at the CTIA wireless technology conference.

Analyst: iPhone’s multi-touch basis of Apple ‘mega-platform’

UBS analyst Ben Reitzes believes Apple is planning a “mega-platform” based on the iPhone’s multi-touch display technology, and sees the company introducing new iPods and Macs that utilize the advanced interface. The analyst said Apple could begin selling other new products with multi-touch technology as early as 2008. “We expect multi-touch to be prevalent in Apple’s major hardware products within three to five years—making its way into touch-screen Macs next year,” Reitzes told clients today. “We also expect new touch-screen video iPods, ultra portables, more phones and possibly even TVs in the future.”

Apple could struggle to sell 10 million iPhones by 2008

Apple’s aim of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 could be too lofty a goal, according to Forbes. Noting that the iPhone will compete in the smartphone handset segment, Forbes’ Taesik Yoon reports: “Worldwide shipments of converged mobile devices (i.e. smartphones) increased 42% year-over-year to 80.5 million units in 2006. It also remains under-penetrated and offers plenty of growth potential. But the bad news is that it currently represents less than 10% of the total number of handsets likely sold last year. This suggests a much smaller market for the iPhone than one might assume. Even if the growth in smart phones could support the sale of 10 million iPhones by 2008, Apple’s own strategic decisions could easily prevent the company from meeting its target. The most limiting of these is its decision to offer the product only through AT&T.”

Palm hires former Apple designer for iPhone response

Palm, maker of the Treo line of smartphones, has hired former Apple employee and Silicon Valley software designer Paul Mercer to help the company respond to the iPhone. The New York Times reports that Mercer began work three weeks ago at Palm on a line of new products. Mercer joined Palm from Inventor, an independent design firm that he headed in Palo Alto, California. He joined Apple in 1987, working as the lead designer of the Macintosh finder. Mercer later founded Pixo, a mobile software firm that created the basis for the iPod interface. More recently, he helped design the Samsung Z5 digital audio device.

Intel plans chip for iPhone competitors

Looking to grow as a chip provider for portable devices, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said his company is readying a low-power chip designed for portable multiple-application devices that will compete with Apple’s iPhone. “Virtually every computer and handset manufacturer is struggling to figure out how they’re going to compete with Apple’s iPhone,” Otellini told analysts and investors at Morgan Stanley’s Technology Conference. “If we get the power and performance [of the Intel chip] right, it’s going to be a killer combination.” Otellini said the chip will be available later this year. Intel is the sole supplier of processors for Apple’s Mac computer lineup. There has been varying reports on who the supplier is for the iPhone processor, with most believing it to be Samsung or Marvell.

AT&T CFO: Up to 75% of iPhone buyers will be new customers

Up to 75 percent of iPhone purchasers will be first-time AT&T wireless subscribers, AT&T Chief Financial Officer Rick Lindner said this week. “The majority of those customers, two-thirds to three-fourths, will be coming from outside of our current wireless customer base and that’s a good thing,” Lindner said during a speech at a Merrill Lynch conference. The iPhone is likely to draw more customers to AT&T stores “at the launch and throughout the rest of the year,” Lindner said. “Creating more traffic in the stores means more sales.” AT&T (formerly Cingular) will be the exclusive U.S. carrier of Apple’s iPhone when it launches in June.

Apple COO: iPhone still on track for June launch

Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook reiterated yesterday that the company remains on track to release its iPhone in June. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 2007 Technology Investment Symposium Conference, Cook said Apple expects to sell 10 million of the devices in 2008, but said it is too early to tell if the iPhone will take sales away from the iPod. “The iPod is being sold for a wide variety of uses. We’ll see what happens,” Cook said.

Goldman Sachs sees 14 million iPhones sold by end of 2008

Goldman Sachs said it believes Apple will sell more than 14 million iPhones through 2008 based on results from a recent buying intention survey. The investment firm forecasts sales of 4 million iPhones in 2007 and 10.5 million in 2008. The consumer survey—conducted in the U.S., U.K., China, and India prior to the iPhone’s official unveiling—found that the number of potential iPhone buyers is equivalent to 75% of the installed base of current iPod owners. In the U.S., where Apple ranked as the No. 4 most desired handset brand, 71% of respondents indicated interest in a potential Apple phone. The survey also found that a number of consumers are willing to switch carriers to get the iPhone, with 30% of U.K. respondents and 15% in the U.S. suggesting that they would switch.

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