New iPhone could go on sale July 17

Rumors are circulating over what the new iPhone will offer and when it will be out.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
3 min read
What's coming? We only can guess. Corinne Schulze/CNET

Forgive us for repeating rumors, but when you're writing about future Apple products like the next version of the iPhone, rumors are all you have until the thoroughly tight-lipped company officially spills the beans.

Today's rumor--well, actually it's yesterday's rumor--comes courtesy of AppleiPhoneApps.com. Through its very own Deep Throat--aka a source who is "closely connected to Apple's hardware development team"--the Web site posted some details on just what the third-generation iPhone will offer. What's more, it names Friday, July 17, as the release date.

We can't verify anything right now, but some of the predictions make more sense than others. A July 17 release date is very plausible. Both the iPhone Classic and the iPhone 3G went on sale on Fridays (June 29, 2007, and July 11, 2008, respectively). Apple likes to respect tradition.

Here's a list of what the new iPhone could offer, along with my comments. AppleiPhoneApps is also predicting that the $199 and $299 price tags will remain.

  • A 32GB model--We've expected this for some time. What's more, it would be welcome.
  • Double the RAM and processing power--Ditto here. Hopefully, Apple will add background processing as, as well.
  • A 3.2-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities--We've been hearing about this for a while, as well. But while Apple is at it, we'd also like more camera editing features.
  • Ability to send a pictures and video via MMS--The iPhone 3.0 software update will add the ability to send photos with MMS so videos would make sense too.
  • Turn-by-turn directions--We'll also get this with the 3.0 update. The feature won't be native, but it will come through apps.
  • 1.5x the battery life--The short battery life is one of the iPhone 3G's biggest flaws. I'd look forward to this improvement the most.
  • Apple logo on the rear side will light up--This one is random, indeed. Outside of the, "Look at me, I have an iPhone!" factor I can't imagine why you'd want this. Plus, I agree that it would be useless and annoying if it negatively affected battery life.
  • Built-in compass--This is a bit odd, but anything is possible. You can get limited compass functionality through a compass app.
  • Built-in FM transmitter--This would be a first for Apple, so I'm suspicious. But I'd like it.
  • Other physical changes--AppleiPhoneApps says the metal border might go away and the new model could have a sleeker profile and a rubber tread on its backside. Personally, I think the iPhone is sleek enough already, but some CNET readers have said the opposite. The rubber tread would protect against falls, I suppose. The blog also mentioned an OLED display.

AppleiPhoneApps also promises a "revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps" that will identify photos and photo locations. Now, while that sounds like just the sort of thing Apple would do, CNET News' Daniel Terdiman rightly pointed out when we chatted recently that it wouldn't be the first of its kind. Such an application is in development for the Android platform.

Monday, June 8, would be the earliest we'd learn the details on new iPhone models. That's when Apple Vice President Phil Schiller will open the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco with a keynote address.

One analyst has suggested that an announcement could come later in the month following the return of CEO Steve Jobs, but most informed eyes are looking toward July as the magic month for both a new model and the formal release of the 3.0 update.

Of course, we'll relay the details as soon as we know them. In the meantime, tell us what you think the new iPhone will have and what you'd like it to have. I know...better call quality is probably top of mind with many of you.