Report: New 'iPhone 3GS' to boast better battery, video

But rumored $99 iPhone, if it exists, will be marked-down 3G, says Daring Fireball

Later today, Apple Inc. will reveal its next-generation smartphone as the "iPhone 3GS" and brag about its improved battery life, faster processor and video camera, blogger Jon Gruber predicted Sunday.

Gruber writes the Daring Fireball blog and has a solid track record calling Apple's moves at its major events. Prior to last year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), for example, Gruber nailed most of what Apple announced the next day about Snow Leopard, the operating system successor to Mac OS X 10.5.

In a post yesterday, Gruber tagged the new iPhone -- which virtually every analyst expects Apple to announce today, even though it may not go on sale right away -- as the "iPhone 3GS."

"I'm not certain that's what it'll be officially named, but my hunch is yes," said Gruber. He speculated that Apple would say the "S" stands for "speed."

Gruber's other predictions included a 15%-20% improvement in battery life compared to 2008's iPhone 3G, and a camera capable of taking not only still images, but also video.

"I expect Apple to announce updated iPhones with significantly faster processors, twice the RAM and twice the storage," Gruber said. "I expect prices to remain the same as the current lineup: $199/$299 for 16/32GB, respectively. The video camera is going to be a major selling point."

iPhone video has been one of the most resilient rumors in the past weeks, with the buzz ranging from simple recording and playback to video chat.

Gruber agreed with a pair of analysts Computerworld interviewed last week, who said that it was unlikely Apple would unveil a host of different iPhone models or drop the price of the smartphone.

"I believe the imminent $99 iPhone will simply be the existing 3G at a reduced price," said Gruber, echoing the take of Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, last week. "I'm not even sure this $99 iPhone will be announced at WWDC -- Apple may well wait until the new iPhones are available for sale to announce it. In fact, if I'm right that the $99 iPhone will simply be a reduced-price 3G, I wouldn't be surprised if it were something Apple sold only through its own stores, and perhaps only for a limited time until their stock of old 3G models is gone."

The WWDC keynote kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET, with Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, leading a team of executives in the presentations.

Editor's note: Computerworld's Seth Weintraub will liveblog the WWDC keynote.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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