Apple’s 8-gig and 16-gig iPhones are out of stock at apple.com and at some retail stores. TechCrunch takes this to mean that we “might be seeing a next-gen iPhone in the next few days.” Engadget Mobile, meanwhile, wonders if Apple’s 3G iPhone “is a whole heck of a lot closer than we could’ve imagined.”
No, it’s not.
We continue to think that Apple will introduce its 3G iPhone at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference early next month, and will begin shipping them in late June.
Why then and not now?
– Apple’s “iPhone 2.0” software update, including support for third-party apps and corporate email, rolls out in June. It makes sense for new iPhones to go on sale around the same time the new software becomes available.
– Before Apple can start selling a 3G iPhone in the U.S., it needs to be approved by the FCC. And as of 10:45 this morning, the FCC hasn’t approved any new iPhones. Last year, the FCC approved iPhone 1.0 on May 17. It didn’t go on sale until June 29 — 43 days later. We expect to see FCC approval for the 3G iPhone sooner than later, but we don’t expect the phone to start selling for a few weeks (or longer) after it’s approved by the Feds.
– AT&T (T) has requested its employees not to take vacations from mid-June to mid-July. We assume this is to be able to handle the bigger-than-usual crowds that a new iPhone will bring to AT&T stores, customer service, etc. If the iPhone were to go on sale much sooner, we don’t think AT&T would have made this request.
– We still think Apple and its carrier partners will continue to sell the current iPhone as a cheaper alternative to the new, 3G iPhone. Which would require keeping the current iPhone in stock, too.