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IPhone rumor mill working on overdrive

March 24, 2009 |  5:53 pm
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An iPhone fan decked out in gadgets and gear. Credit: Andy_on_Flickr via Flickr

Throw Apple fans a bone, and they'll expect that a filet mignon and porterhouse are on the way.

That's the lesson learned from Apple's demonstration last week of the iPhone 3.0 software for third-party application developers. Coders, reporters and countless gadget gurus following online drooled over the new features.

Copy-and-paste, multimedia messaging, push notifications, global search and the ability to tether the iPhone's 3G connection to a computer to access the Internet all have been frequently requested additions. What more could we ask for from a free update?

More!

But instead of getting the usual lists of tech writers' wish lists, we're getting hints dug from Apple's development software, and a sack full of rumors allegedly plucked from Apple and AT&T employers.

Fair warning: We can't confirm these rumors, nor do we have the tech savvy (or patience) to read through thousands of lines of code. We expect to have more concrete info in the summertime. But we know some of you can't wait -- if the hundreds of pirated downloads of the iPhone 3.0 software are any indication. So we've broken down some of the more visible rumors.

Video recording was notably absent from Apple's 3.0 presentation. But enterprising code monkeys have scraped Apple's development software with a fine-toothed comb and found ...

... a menu referencing video uploading to MobileMe.

The discovery is rather perplexing considering that "Diggnation" host Kevin Rose, who has had a fairly strong track record on Apple rumors recently, said the next software update would not add video to the iPhone due to technical barriers with the hardware.

The obvious remedy then is a new iPhone with a video camera. That's exactly what Apple Insider, a blog with an army of reliable tipsters within Apple, says is on the way, based on tips from unnamed sources. The blog has been a driving force in the rumor machine.

The Boy Genius Report also has had its ear to the ground. Someone "pretty high up in AT&T" (again, unnamed) tells the blog that a new iPhone will surface in the middle of June. Rumors suggest it will be even faster (possibly supporting AT&T's even speedier, 7.2 megabit-per-second 3G data connection). And conventional wisdom leads us to believe it will be thinner and have a longer-lasting battery.

A new iPhone wouldn't be a huge shock. Apple released the original and the 3G models during the summertime, about a year apart. And now the fact that AT&T will begin selling the iPhone 3G without a contract on Thursday for $599 lends credence to the idea: It's better to get rid of remaining stock with a new release looming.

The iPhone probably won't be the only Apple hardware getting an upgrade soon. Retailers are no longer stocking the company's Bluetooth headset, one Apple Store manager said. He stopped short of speculating on whether a new version was imminent.

And we could get some drastically different products, if the iPhone 3.0 software code provides any clue. The code makes mention not only of new versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch, but also of hardware called the "iFPGA" and the "iProd." Bloggers speculate that those could be references to the long-rumored Apple Tablet, a computer that's part iPod and part laptop. With the growing popularity of consumer netbooks, who knows?

Steve Jobs did say in October, "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." Maybe they've figured it out during his absence.

-- Mark Milian

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