updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu May 14, 2009
Piper on Jobs, iPhone
Apple may not expose any new iPhones at this year's WWDC keynote, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Although an announcement of new hardware is anticipated by most analysts and the media, Munster argues that wording in Apple's keynote press release may have been deliberately geared to alter expectations. The company may instead focus on Mac OS X Snow Leopard at WWDC, despite the operating system's distance from release.
Thought to be more likely is a surprise media event, which could be staged in late June or early July to coincide with the return of Steve Jobs to the public eye. There the Apple CEO may introduce a "family" of new iPhones, split between high-end models and low-end spin-offs, the latter having reduced features but also cheaper subscription deals. Such an option could help breach the Chinese market, which is generally too poor to afford the current platform.
An exact date for Jobs' return has not been disclosed, but a late June timeframe is believed to be most probable, based on comments from other Apple executives. The replacement of Jobs with Schiller at this year's WWDC keynote should not come as a shocking fact, Munster adds, because in order to prepare for a June 8th keynote, Jobs would likely have to return too early to make preparations. One of the reasons cited for the cancellation of Apple's presence at Macworld was Jobs' desire to spend the Christmas holidays with his family, rather than prepare for a keynote a few weeks later.