Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does Apple's cryptic invitation hold the answer to the question of 'one 2011 iPhone or two?'

Apple has sent out invitations for an October 4 iPhone event, and although many believe that Apple may, for the first time, introduce two iPhone models, Apple's own cryptic messages it often hides inside its invites may be saying "nope, just one."

The invitation to the "Let's Talk iPhone" event shows four icons.

The upper left icon is clear: the event is on October 4th. The next one is a clock, and clearly indicates the event will be at 10 a.m. (well, it could also mean 10 p.m., but Apple always holds its events at 10 a.m.).

The third icon is an indicator that the event is being held at Apple's corporate headquarters.

For the question of whether or not Apple will release one or two iPhones, one could interpret the No. 1 "badge" on the phone icon itself to mean there will be one iPhone launched at the event. There's also the fact that Apple's tagline in the invitation is "Let's Talk iPhone," not iPhones. Of course, that's pretty circumstantial.

On the other hand, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who covers Apple, also believes there will be only one new iPhone delivered. He wrote:

"We Do Not Expect a Low-End iPhone. Some investors are looking for Apple to announce a low-end iPhone that Apple could sell to carriers for less than $300 vs. the current carrier cost of over $600. This would enable carriers to offer affordable, unsubsidized iPhones and further penetrate more price-sensitive markets. However, we do not expect Apple to announce such a device on 10/4. Rather, we expect Apple to continue with a lead device (iPhone 5) that carriers sell subsidized for $199/ $299 along with a previous generation device (iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S) for $99."

ExpansysIt would be atypical for Apple to rename the iPhone 4 as a 4S when it lowers the storage to 8GB and the price to $99 on contract. As we noted earlier, Apple had planned an iPhone 4S for the summer. The 4S was to be a tweaked iPhone 4 along the lines of the iPhone 3G to 3GS upgrade, but after the Verizon iPhone was introduced, Apple decided a summer release was too close to the Verizon release.

Since then, it's been working on an iPhone 5 as well. We've heard they are close, but there are issues with the screen and the beveled edges planned for the iPhone 5 that may prevent the release of the device this year, we just heard on Tuesday.

Based on that info, we're now expecting a single iPhone to be delivered.

Also, Munster believes the Talk in "Let's Talk iPhone" may have significance as well. It could, he believes, mean that Apple will finally deliver on the promise of voice-recognition technology "acquired" when it snagged Siri close to 18 months ago.

He wrote,

"In the past, Apple has used its invitation to include cryptic hints as to what it will announce. The phrase on this year's invite, 'Let's talk iPhone' may be a simple play on words, but may also refer to new speech-based features for the iPhone."

There's been much speculation around iOS 5 and iPhone 5 having voice recognition technology added. We'll see next Tuesday, when all these mysteries are solved.

Amazingly enough, Apple's events have become so necessary for many to watch that some offices come to a standstill those days, especially when the company in question is involved in anything to do with mobile. We expect no different this coming Tuesday.

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