Analyst Ponders Multiple Versions of Next-Gen iPhones

From the category "the sky is blue and the sun is hot," analyst Daniel Amir from Lazard Capital Markets decided to sell fairy cakes and tell us that Apple will introduce a 32GB version of the iPhone and will also release a low-end Wi-Fi-less model for the emerging markets.

Besides the fact that it's obvious enough that Apple will increase the capacity of the iPhone, Amir also says that the new iPhone will be launched in June -- and isn't this the usual time Apple announces new models? Of course it is!

The iPod Touch already comes in a 32GB version, so it's quite natural that this will transcend to the iPhone as well once the new model is announced (in June, as usual). Citing checks from "channel partners" Amir also says that Apple could release a lower-end version of the iPhone, without Wi-Fi, which will be targeted at emerging markets such as Brazil, Russian, India and China while a higher-end version, with a better camera and more storage capacity will hit North America and Europe.

It's quite natural that the next improvements on the iPhone will be a better camera (most probably with video capabilities) and more storage - as after the software improvements the 3.0 update will bring, these are the most requested hardware features for the device. But what's really strange is that Amir's research states that a stripped down version of the iPhone will be made available to emerging economies.

It has to be noted to Apple is not like Nokia, who releases different versions of a phone for different countries (remember the North American E62 without Wi-Fi?) and that the Cupertino company has never released stripped-down version of its products for different countries. My guess would be that it wouldn't start doing it now either, especially if it would be to remove Wi-Fi, a feature present from the first incarnation of the iPhone. It would be plain silly to release a third model of iPhone without Wi-Fi, after having this on board of the previous models for years now.

Again, the likelihood of Apple dropping Wi-Fi from an (unlikely to happen) stripped-down iPhone is even lower when one considers how many of the phone's apps and features depend on this, from Front Row and AppleTV remote apps to iTunes DJ and various syncing apps. My verdict -- it ain't going to happen. Wi-Fi will be in, no matter what.

Amir also predicts that iPhone shipments could reach up to 5 million units in the second quarter of this year. The actual likelihood of this to happen is also very low, with a new iPhone expected in June and many consumers delaying their purchase in anticipation of the new model.

And last, but not least, Amir's research quotes "channel checks" and "channels partners," who are all apparently very knowing about Apple plans and intentions. When was the last time an analyst got something right about Apple's plans? From tablets, to netbooks and mini iPhones, they've got it wrong. I doubt that they will be right this time round...

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