32GB iPhone looking more likely

New iPhone rumors come very close to confirming the existence of a 32GB iPhone

New iPhone rumors out Tuesday come very close to confirming the existence of a 32GB iPhone, and even resurrect the possibility of a $99 iPhone from Apple.

We're less than two weeks away from Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference from June 8-12, and it is assumed Apple will unveil new iPhone hardware during WWDC or shortly thereafter. No one knows for sure what a new iPhone would look like, but the most popular iPhone rumors include the addition of an OLED screen, rubber backing, a faster processor, more RAM, improved battery life and bigger storage. Today, no new features are hitting the rumor mill, but if news from around the world is to be believed a 32GB iPhone is all but inevitable before the end of the summer.

Here's the iPhone scoop--international edition:

Austria

T-Mobile is one of two iPhone carriers in Austria, and recently the company posted a placeholder reference to a 32GB iPhone on its Website, according to a screenshot on Austrian Blog Area Mobile. The screenshot contains no pricing information or image of the new iPhone, so it's unclear what new features the new iPhone would sport.

Australia

News from Australia adds a new dimension to the iPhone discussion by resurrecting the possibility of a low-end iPhone. Australian blog MacTalk recently got its hands on what it claims to be an internal e-mail from Australian iPhone carrier Vodaphone, one of three iPhone carriers in Australia. The email is a memo to retail staff declaring the 16GB iPhone as an "end-of-life" product that will only be available for a few more weeks from Brightpoint, Vodaphone's iPhone supplier.

If the Vodaphone memo is genuine that means the 16GB iPhone could soon be discontinued to make space for a new iPhone. What is interesting though, is that Vodaphone does not mention the 8GB iPhone. Could this mean the current 8GB model has a future as the mythical $99 iPhone? While MacTalk figures Apple will offer only an 8GB and 32GB iPhone, my guess is that Apple will sell three different iPhone models, with revamped hardware for the 16GB and 32GB iPhone--assuming the memo is genuine of course.

Canada

Boy Genius Report got a hold of what it claims to be some internal information on a new iPhone coming to Canada. The new iPhone would launch in the U.S. and Canada at the same time on an unspecified date in July or August of this year, BGR says. Rogers, Canada's iPhone carrier, would offer the new iPhone with a three-year contract with no option to buy the new iPhone outright.

Reckless Assumptions

So if we put all these iPhone references together into one pot and mix them up, what are the implications for U.S. customers? My money would be on a revamped iPhone coming in 16GB and 32GB versions with enough killer improvements to make the current iPhone look obsolete. That would give Apple and AT&T a reason to offer the 8GB iPhone at the bargain basement price of $99. Apple could even sell the downgraded iPhone outright with no contract at Apple Stores (although admittedly that's a big assumption to make). Based on the information from BGR's Rogers report, and the noise other blogs and analysts have been making, a probable launch date for the new iPhone may be on or around July 17.

So if these reports are accurate, and Apple really is launching new hardware, the question is will we see it at WWDC or, as some have suggested, a stand-alone Apple event later in the summer? It's hard to know for sure, but if Apple does unveil new hardware at WWDC, it will be a nightmare scenario for Palm and Sprint. The Palm Pre will launch nationwide on Sprint's Now Network with reportedly limited stock on June 6, just two days before WWDC. Putting the Pre's launch date so close to a major Apple event was a daring move since Apple is known for announcing major launches at its events. A June 6 launch for the Pre also shows how confident Palm is in their new hardware. But if a new iPhone is announced or launched shortly after the Pre becomes available, it could severely limit the Pre's fan base, meaning Apple would make quick work of yet another so-called iPhone killer.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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