iPhone 4G rumors: Apple Korea leaking? Release date in Q2 2010?

Is Apple rattled by Google's Nexus One? Apple Korea and several mobile operators are leaking rumors about an "iPhone 4G" due for release as early as April. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can't quite believe it, despite the breadth and caliber of the sources.

By Richi Jennings. January 13, 2010.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention the game(s) of the decade...

    Jared Newman is on a roll:

Korea Times quotes unnamed, high-ranking executives at KT, Apple's exclusive local partner in South Korea, as saying the iPhone 4G will have an OLED screen, support video chat and ... have a removable battery. It'll also reportedly have a dual-core processor, more powerful graphics and an improved camera.


[It] says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones, but I don't think these three rumored features will be enough, given that the Nexus One has an OLED screen and removable battery. They're nice features to have, but there's got to be more in store.

Rik Myslewski has a second Korean source -- Apple:

[A separate] report out of Korea on Tuesday ... from Telecoms Korea, which cites the Korean-language Etnews ... adds details from a mole at Apple Korea ... [who said] the phone would have two camera modules, one front-facing and one peeking out the back as in all previous iPhones.


Whether that rumored processor upgrade would be based on the ARM Cortex-9 MPCore or ARM11 MPCore, a chip arising from Apple's own acquisition of PA Semi back in 2008, or something else entirely is of course both unknown and ... unknowable. Likewise the chip providing improved graphics, although Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX Series5XT GPU comes to mind.

Seth Weintraub has a third source: in France:

Those French Mobile Operators....they love to talk. The latest information escaping their lips, according to French Magazine Challenges.fr (via TiPB), is that the iPhone 4G* is coming in early May, not the typical June-July timeframe that we are used to. The magazine cites "several industry sources" but couldn't offer any details on the 4G iPhone. They also speculate that the reason for an early launch would be to counter Google.


*4th generation as in iteration of iPhone not 4G network.

Kit Eaton is surprised, yet unsurprised: [Wait, what? -Ed.]

This is hot stuff, so it needs to be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism ... the fourth gen iPhone will be on sale in April, with a pile of new features. Of course we know Apple's been working on the next-gen iPhone for ages due to natural product development cycles.


And though some of this is highly plausible, and even agrees with some rumors ... we've heard before ... [but] it all sounds too good to be true. Some of this is bound to be in the next iPhone--but all of it? That goes against Apple's careful incremental update strategy for the device so far. And though moving the iPhone forward to an April launch from its more normal late-Spring cycle would certainly help Apple steal some of the thunder from the Nexus One and other upcoming Android phones, isn't it a bit close to the purported launch date of the iSlate?

Katie Marsal muses on the question of timing:

KT ... plans to sell the fourth-generation device to corporate clients in April as a "litmus test." Local distributors would allegedly receive the new device in June, which would represent the typical timeframe for an iPhone launch.


The iPhone debuted in South Korea at the end of November with a successful launch. Apple sold 60,000 iPhones in the handset's debut, representing 15 percent of the 400,000 total smartphones sold in the country in the third quarter of 2009.

But the anonymous gnomes at Electronista call the rumors "sketchy":

Serious doubts exist about the accuracy of the story as it contradicts several typical Apple practices as well as industry patterns. Although many 4G rollouts will take place this year and should include Korea, the country has largely favored WiMAX ... for its current 4G service. The technology ... is unlikely to get support from Apple. ... Most expect the competing Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard to become the dominant 4G format.


It has also never shipped the iPhone with a removable battery and has even extended the use of sealed-in batteries to MacBooks. Removable batteries have often been dismissed by Apple as consuming too much added space. ... [Apple] has never held pre-sales for business in the history of the iPhone. All testing ahead of a public launch has so far been conducted in private by Apple and carrier employees. The handsets have usually shipped in June or July for all customers.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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