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Telco analyst claims iPhone release date June 20

A discussion on Google Finance between readers has revealed that a telecommunications analyst, speaking on the CNBC program “On the Money” Thursday night, said they had been given a confirmed iPhone release date of June 20. June 20 is a Wednesday, which would be an abnormal day of the week for such an important launch for Apple — the company typically introduces new products on either Tuesday or Friday. “On the Money” airs nightly on CNBC at 7:00 ET, and is hosted by Melissa Francis. [via Mac Rumors]

iPhone well protected by patents

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Wireless news site Unwired View has posted an article examining the patents that pertain to the iPhone, and have found that the device is indeed well protected by patent law. Apple-held patents for the iPhone include the multipoint touchscreen, gestures for touch sensitive devices, the proximity detector in a handheld device, a system for sensing ambient light, and the patent for the handset itself, a multifunctional handheld device. In his keynote address this January, Steve Jobs made reference to the fact that the iPhone was protected by law, stating, “And boy have we patented it.”

Study: 90 percent of phone owners find iPhone superior

A study done by Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Labs into consumer perceptions of the iPhone experience shows that 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their own handset. The study captured consumer reactions to an Apple-developed video highlighting the features of the iPhone. “An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their own handset and over 40 percent of respondents rated the iPhone much better across key functional categories—including music player, web browsing, voice mail, and phone call management—indicating real innovation in designing a user experience,” said Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics, who conducted the research. Kevin Nolan, Director of User Experience Research at Strategy Analytics, added, “While the iPhone ‘Wow’ factor is impressive, our user panel indicated that challenges in pricing and positioning may act as a barrier to mass-market success. Nonetheless, the iPhone clearly represents a breakthrough in terms of user experience.”

AT&T to offer prepaid iPhone service?

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Apple’s iPhone may be available with prepaid cellular service, according to a report from a mobile industry insider blog. The Boy Genius Report has posted screenshots purported to be from an internal AT&T/Cingular system which shows that the iPhone will be available three ways—traditional subscription service, Go Phone Pay As You Go (prepaid), and Go Phone Pick Your Plan (hybrid). If true, prepaid iPhone service would allow consumers to purchase and use the iPhone without signing a lengthy AT&T service plan or dropping their current carrier. Prepaid Cingular cards start at $15.

Verizon COO: iPhone response coming ‘late summer’

Speaking with USA Today regarding the company’s decision to pass on becoming the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. distributor, Verizon Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl claims it has an answer to the iPhone waiting in the wings. “We do have a very good response in the mill,” Strigl claimed. “You’ll see that from us in the late summer.” In addition, Stigl believes that the fate of the iPhone rests more with AT&T’s network than with the handset. “The issue is not the Apple-ness of the iPhone itself, but with the cellular network that it is running on,” he stated. “That will be the true test of the iPhone: What will the iPhone experience be?” As part of its exclusive deal with AT&T, Apple is barred from developing a Verizon-compatible CDMA version of the iPhone for the next five years.

Questions surround European iPhone launch

With the stateside launch of Apple’s iPhone just weeks away, questions have begun to emerge surrounding the device’s European launch. Despite the handset being months from hitting store shelves, almost half of European iPod owners would consider the iPhone as their next mobile, according to a survey conducted by Canalys, a Reading, England-based research firm. A key factor in which carrier will offer the iPhone in Europe is whether or not the European version of the handset includes 3G mobile network technology. Apple has already stated that the US version of the phone will not include 3G, instead opting for the more widespread GPRS/EDGE.

If the European version of the iPhone does include 3G, carriers likely to offer the device include 3, a network offering 3G service in Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, and T-Mobile, which offers 3G service in Austria, Britain, and Germany. “Both these operators are the most forward-thinking in how 3G telephones should be brought to consumers,” said Carolina Milanesi, a mobile phone analyst for Gartner in London. “They have the appropriate and futuristic business models necessary for the iPhone already in place.” Vodafone, previously rumored as an Apple suitor, is Europe’s largest service provider.

AT&T pushes Cingular rebranding ahead of iPhone

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AT&T has announced that it will accelerate its rebranding campaign at Cingular wireless stores to better take advantage of the iPhone’s launch. The company will replace the Cingular name with new AT&T signage in the interior its 1800 shops, ahead of the iPhone launch in late June. “The iPhone is one of the most anticipated handsets ever in the wireless industry, and we want to make sure that every drop of equity from the iPhone accrues to the AT&T brand,” AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. “We want to be as far along as possible with our rebranding in advance of the launch of the iPhone.” Cingular signage found on the outside of the stores will remain unchanged for now.

TBWA to handle iPhone advertising

Following their success with the “Hello” commercial that aired during this year’s Academy Awards, TBWA/Chiat/Day will handle all advertising duties for the iPhone. According to an Advertising Age report (free subscription required), the firm beat out sibling agency BBDO — AT&T’s agency of record — for the account. Discussions on whether or not BBDO will provide support advertising are still ongoing. TBWA’s Media Arts Lab has handled creative duties for Apple since 1997.

iPhone receives FCC approval

Apple’s iPhone has received certification from the Federal Communications Commission. The application documents, made public by the FCC, include very little new information. An official Apple communication, found online with the other documents, showed the company requested items such as test setup, external, and internal photographs, as well as the User Manual to be withheld “from public viewing for forty-five days after the date certification is granted. [Today, meaning that the documents will be available July 1, presumably after the iPhone’s debut.]” The documents also revealed that the device is Apple Model No. A1203 and it received the FCC ID BCGA1203. In his January keynote address, Steve Jobs said, “We’re announcing [iPhone] today because we have to go get FCC approval. We thought it would be better to introduce this today rather than let the FCC introduce it.”

ezGear intros three iPhone cases

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ezGear has announced three silicone ezSkin cases for Apple’s iPhone. The cases, which will come with an adhesive screen protector, include the ezSkin for iPhone, ezSkin Bumperz for iPhone, and the ezSkin Xtreme for iPhone. The ezSkin is a slim-fitting case with removable belt holster. The ezSkin Bumperz wraps around the perimeter of the iPhone providing protection for the edge and all four corners of the device. The ezSkin Xtreme offers extra thick corners and sides to provide better shock and drop protection. The iPhone cases will be available in June. Pricing was not available.

AT&T: No pre-sales for iPhone

According to a leaked AT&T internal document, there will be no pre-sales of the iPhone. The document, which is a “sales brief” intended to educate employees, lists current and launch plans for the device. The brief clearly states, “Sales for the iPhone will be on a first come, first served basis. No wait list of names will be taken and NO pre-selling is allowed.” The document also says that exact release dates should not be given to customers, and that the prices are to be given as $499 for the 4GB and $599 for the 8GB model, which may indicate that the iPhone will not be subsidized. [via Business 2.0]

Nokia CFO hopes iPhone expands high-end market

Nokia CFO Rick Simonson has expressed hopes that the iPhone could help expand the high-end mobile phone market, according to Reuters. “The consumer ... hasn’t had a lot of choice to go out and purchase these kind of higher-end, feature-rich multimedia devices. If that can help that market grow, I think that gives us an opportunity,” said Simonson at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit. “It (the N95) is already out there, doing many of the things that people are talking about the iPhone doing. The iPhone is interesting. It’s very much a validation of what we’ve been doing, in terms of saying there is a multimedia device out there that people will pay for.”

Apple considering third-party iPhone apps

Despite initial reports that the iPhone would be a “closed” platform, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that the company is still considering allowing third-party applications to run on the device. During Apple’s annual shareholders meeting yesterday, Jobs said that the company is “wrestling with” the issue, which comes as a surprise given comments made by the Apple chief earlier in the year. “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” Jobs said in an interview following the iPhone introduction in January. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

Motorola ‘ready’ for Apple’s iPhone

Motorola CEO Ed Zander says his company is ready to take on Apple’s iPhone. “How do you deal with that?” Zander was asked at the Software 2007 conference yesterday. “How do they deal with us?” he quipped. “I think it’s going to, in some cases, reinforce what we have been trying to do and are doing with the mobile Internet. Applications such as multimedia and video and photos and music are going to be done on these devices,” Zander said of the iPhone.

The Motorola chief said he is planning to introduce a high-end mobile phone next week in Europe that will compete with the iPhone. “This has unbelievable video capability. It’s a media monster,” he said. Motorola has seen recent financial problems following a dry spell of innovative devices. The company recently reported a first quarter net loss of $181 million, compared to a profit of $686 million in the year ago quarter.

Research In Motion unaffected by iPhone?

A report for TheStreet.com claims that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion could see few, if any, effects from the release of Apple’s iPhone. “RIM’s business could remain unaffected by the upcoming release of Apple’s iPhone, whose features are likely to appeal to a different audience from RIM’s, say analysts,” the report states. “Also, the iPhone’s multimedia features are likely to appeal more to consumers rather than to business users. And that could mean that companies such as Motorola and Nokia, which have a greater stake in the consumer market, will feel the effects more than RIM, whose customers are largely businesses.” RIM recently released the consumer-oriented BlackBerry Curve, which is expected to be sold at AT&T stores alongside the iPhone.

Survey: iPhone ‘set to rock the cell phone industry’

According to a survey taken by ChangeWave Alliance, Apple’s iPhone is primed to have an immense effect on the rest of the cell phone industry. “The findings of our latest ChangeWave cell phone survey invite extremes to describe the startling impact the Apple iPhone is having on the cellular industry. Nearly one-in-10 respondents (9%) say they are likely to buy the new iPhone once it becomes available in June,” writes Paul Carton of ChangeWave. “Thanks to our early adopters of the ChangeWave Alliance we are able to see with stark clarity how the Apple iPhone is set to rock the cell phone industry.” Tobin Smith, founder of ChangeWave Research and editor of ChangeWave Investing, added: “As more and more consumers switch to the iPhone, we are going to see a huge migration from cell phone manufacturers like Motorola to the hipper, cooler iPhone.” [via TUAW]

Internal AT&T email reveals iPhone launch window

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An internal email from AT&T to its employees has been leaked, revealing that company’s launch window for Apple’s iPhone is June 15 through July 15. While the email does not list a concrete launch date for the device, it does warn employees that vacation requests during the launch period will not be approved. “To ensure proper staffing during the product launch period, Sales personnel planning to take approved time off are encouraged to schedule their vacations before June 15 or after July 15 to participate in the iPhone launch.” In addition, the email revealed that the carrier considers the launch to be “the biggest selling period we have seen in a few years.”

New iPhone images surface, features added? [updated]

In an e-mail sent out today by AT&T to potential iPhone customers, additional images of the iPhone emerged, one of which subtly shows off two undemonstrated features in the device’s Google Maps application.

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Buttons labeled “Map,” “Satellite,” and “List” were demonstrated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during Macworld Expo in January, showing a drawn map, satellite imagery, and a list of locations generated by a top-of-screen search, respectively. These buttons have also been featured in Apple.com’s demonstration of iPhone. By contrast, AT&T’s photo—based on a slide only briefly shown during the demonstration—shows a new icon to the left, which appears to be a set of two arrows. The other new icon appears to the right, and shows the front view of a car. Either of these buttons may be used for a “Traffic” feature or a “Directions” feature, both of which were listed on one of Apple’s slides during iPhone’s debut, but never demonstrated. Accessed through maps.google.com, Traffic lets you monitor traffic conditions on highways in major U.S. cities, while directions provides to and from directions given two set locations.

Other than the replacement of Cingular’s logo with AT&T’s, the images are otherwise apparently unchanged in any significant way from those previously shown. [Note: This story was updated based on reader comments. Thanks!]

Survey tallies iPhone interest, finds only 6% to buy

According to a recent survey taken by Markitecture, 77% of the 1300 people that responded knew about the iPhone, although only 6% said they were likely to purchase the phone in the next year. Cost was cited as the top reason for not purchasing the device, with carrier issues and/or contracts coming in a close second. Other stats tallied by the survey showed that out of the 77% familiar with the iPhone, 41% had a good impression, while out of those very familiar with the product, an overwhelming 83% had either an excellent or very good impression.

Microsoft CEO: No chance iPhone will gain significant market share

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer continued his anti-Apple press campaign in a recent interview published by USA Today. Responding to a question about passionate Apple customers, Ballmer jokes about Windows/Mac market share numbers and goes on to say that there is “no chance” the iPhone will gain traction. Ballmer also said the game isn’t over when it comes to portable media players.

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance,” Ballmer said. “It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”

“In the case of music, Apple got out early,” Ballmer continued. “They were the first to really recognize that you couldn’t just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo. Credit that to Steve (Jobs) and Apple. They did a nice job. But it’s not like we’re at the end of the line of innovation that’s going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I’ll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we’ll get him to own a Zune.”

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