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iPhone Imminent? The Final Speculations

iphone-dice2.jpgThe countdown time is under 24 hours now, right in about 22 hours and a few minutes.  When the clock hits zero, or a few minutes after 10am PST Monday, Steve Jobs will take the stage at Apple’s World Wide Developers conference to issue his keynote.  By most estimates, somewhere in that opening speech, somewhere woven in amidst all the product hyperbole and “go-team” cheer leading, he’ll also introduce the second generation of the iPhone.  At least, that’s the expectation that’s been brewing for months.

With the deadline looming, this week, the iPhone 2.0  buzz, rumors and speculation reached crescendo.  3G, GPS, smaller, bigger, two models or just one.  Theories were everywhere.

Across the blogosphere and in the major press, outside of the echo-chambers repeating what’s already said,  many have searched for the unique scoop; the chance to reveal the iPhone features (or whatever product announcement is ultimately coming) just ahead of the official news.   Apple’s managed to keep things mostly under wraps.

The only thing that is virtually certain is tomorrow Apple will announce a new product.  Thursday and Friday that was confirmed by reports detailing unusual shipping patterns through Apple’s distribution partners.

quantaThe first such report came Wednesday from Forbes.  Brian Caulfield reported for the magazine that there was an unusually high volume of shipping vehicles moving in and out of the quiet East Bay office park that is home to several facilities owned by Quanta, an Apple distribution partner.

As strangely perverse as is to stalk a new gadget with a long telephoto lens, chasing the Forbes lead I drove to Apple to Quanta’s West Coast facilities in Fremont California to see for myself.   Like a paparazzi chasing celebs, the hope was to get that unique shot – the “must have” evidence.   It wasn’t there.  Camera gear and effort notwithstanding, there wasn’t anything to really see.  But Caulfield’s report of unusual traffic was accurate.  That can be confirmed. 

Over the span of an hour, small trucks and semi trucks from Fed Ex and DHL moved in and out of the facility.  Other semi’s, parked and waiting for loads, sat idle nearby.   Outside in Quanta’s back lot, shielded partly by industrial fencing, workers steadily labored to load pallet after pallet of boxes.  Nondescript, but with Apple markings, there was no doubt from the boxes and activity Apple was moving a product to retailers.
As for what’s in the boxes? Or what’s really going on?  Those details are still missing.  Nothing fell of the back of a truck for the inquiring to examine.  Efforts to reach the shipping manager at Quanta’s Fremont facility came up empty too. 

But another report, from Australian  Apple website MacTalk, adds to the certainty.  Since Friday, they’ve been hosting pictures of boxes similar to those leaving Quanta. The close up of one shows a shipping label that read “Subject to Terms of NDA, Do Not Open Until Tuesday June 10th.”  (With Time Zone adjustment that will correspond with Apple’s Developer Conference).

It’s possible the boxes could house a new computer.  A new anything.  It likely the phone.  The only real answer will come Monday but past product shortages, vast new distribution agreements, and all else in the world of Apple hint iPhone 2.0, coming very soon.

Rumors say it will be GPS enabled, 3G, maybe smaller, maybe better battery life.  Some are predicting an FM Radio receiver.  2 Cameras (one for video conferencing functionality).  3 to 5 megapixels each.  8, 16 or 32 GB drives is another point of speculation.   Price and carrier exclusivity are subject of chatter too.

With the timer winding down – the details will reveal tomorrow.  No point in speculating.  With less than 24 hours the world will see soon enough.   The hype is there, the expectation high.  Will Apple live up  to expectations? Is the bar too high now?  Can they can best themselves?  Soon enough. We’ll See.

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