Apple will unveil a new iPhone at its sold-out developers conference today in San Francisco; at least that's the consensus among the numerous rumor sites, developers and media outlets speculating in the days leading up to the event.
Once again, Apple's done an exceptional job of building expectations for an announcement it's never publicly confirmed.
Will the new iPhone offer higher 3G (define) speeds? New apps? New touchscreen technology? The only thing Apple or carrier partner AT&T has said publicly this year about a new iPhone release is that it will happen "this year."
But all the ducks are lined up. Apple released the beta of its software development kit (SDK) in March with the final version due out this month. Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco will, for the first time, include a track for iPhone developers.
Also, a number of sessions on the WWDC developer site schedule are listed as "Session to be Determined" which may indicate content Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) wants to keep under wraps about the new iPhone.
Industry analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, is a longtime Apple observer who has also done some consulting work for the company. While he said he doesn't have any inside knowledge of what's going to be announced, he thinks all the hype and speculation about a new iPhone is a bit misguided.
"Remember, this is a developer conference," Bajarin told InternetNews.com. "Apple's goal is going to be to help developers understand the company's software strategy and encourage them to write programs for the Mac and the iPhone. Whatever news comes out of WWDC, I expect 80 percent of it to be software-related."
And that's even if a new iPhone with higher 3G speed capability is released.
Which is not to say Apple won't bring some interesting new hardware into play.
There's been speculation of an additional camera for videoconferencing and enhancements to the iPhone's touchscreen features, which so many competitors have scrambled to copy. InternetNews.com's sister site PDA Street reported in late April that Apple may license haptic technology (define) called VibeTonz from tactile-feedback player Immersion.
The technology could allow Apple to include vibration-based feedback in future releases of the iPhone, if not the new version rumored to be announced today.
More than just a vibrating phone, the inclusion of VibeTonz technology could let developers independently control both vibration strength and frequency for what Immersion calls high-fidelity touch sensations. One area this could help is with the iPhone's virtual keys, giving users something closer to the sense they're actually pressing a key.