Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs is expected to announce more gadgets to stuff down your trousers next Monday, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. As usual, speculation is rife. Especially since Apple's PR department fiercely tracks down any real leaks like an Afghan hound, which makes finding out any pre-launch information as easy as trying to recite pi to 83,432 digits.
One of the longest-running rumours this year has been the Apple iPhone, essentially a mobile phone that looks like an iPod, and walks like an iPod, but talks like a mobile phone. A plethora of mock images, videos and even fake adverts have fuelled such a large fire that every tech blog seems to regularly mention the imminent arrival of an Apple mobile phone. Of course, last year Apple did make a phone with Motorola (the ), but this was, in no uncertain terms, a disaster. Some pundits went as far as saying that Apple intentionally made the Rokr bad, so that people wouldn't buy it and would continue to buy iPods instead.
It's rumoured that the new Apple phone will be nothing like the Rokr -- it's been said it will have a scroll wheel, and a look and feel like the rest of the Apple product family. But we think the idea that Apple will launch a phone on Monday is simply ridiculous.
Although we'd love to see an iPhone, we don't think it's going to be launched any time soon. From speculation about a mobile network deal with Japanese communications company SoftBank, to the mobile phone code in the latest iPod firmware update, we think these rumours are simply too good to be true.
We think there will be an iPhone at some point in time, but it won't be soon. Apple prides itself on making simple to use products and making a mobile phone that matches the rest of its product range will take time. As we saw with the Rokr, you can't simply strap iTunes onto any phone -- you have to remake the entire device including the interface and casing. This is by no means a press to play product, so unless Jobs has already been planning this for years, there's still a long way to go. Now we know Steve is a tech clairvoyant, but music phones have only been a viable part of the market for about a year.
So if you're pinning your hopes on upgrading your phone to an Apple one soon, then you'll have to keep on dreaming. At least you can put a face to your fantasies by looking at the mock-up images, although the real thing may end up looking very different... -Andrew Lim