- 14 May 08, 15:05 GMT
Apple is the master of the tease. Just when you are about to get bored with their unwillingness to reveal what they are doing, they come out with an announcement that entices but doesn't quite satisfy.
Their latest missive about the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, in San Francisco next month has just confirmed that Steve Jobs will be giving the keynote address and that yes he will be talking about their operating system OS X Leopard and, more alluringly, the iPhone.
At this year's WWDC it certainly seems that Apple is putting the iPhone centre stage. For the first time it will showcase sessions for mobile developers with in-depth sessions and hands-on labs to explore the capabilities of the iPhone 2.0 software.
But Apple media figures are stonewalling on whether or not Mr Jobs will actually be taking the wraps off a new 3G smartphone at the WWDC event.
Let's have a look at some of the signs that suggest there is a high probability factor that he will.
First up you can't get your hands on an iPhone for love nor money. Online in the UK and the States it seems supply has dried up. And last week O2, the iPhone provider in Britain, admitted it wasn't currently available on shop shelves and that customers may well have to hold out for the 3G version. Even in Mac shops in the States the iPhone has disappeared.
Also there have been copious hints over the previous months from the likes of AT&T's wireless chief Ralph de la Vega who said during a conference in April "Our integrated devices will be 3G devices in the not-too-distant future, and I mean months."
And let's also add into the mix the fact that the price of the 8GB iPhone was slashed by $169 (£85). Perhaps this was a way to get rid of old stock and persuade people to snag a bargain despite the fact the next generation phone is waiting in the wings.
The last thing Apple wants is everyone holding onto their money until the new shinier version of the iPhone is available. After all what company wants to be saddled with lagging sales as a result and a load of old stock nobody wants?
Apple is not alone in keeping information about updated products close to its chest.
But timing is everything.
Conversely you don't want to be turning away customers with money to burn. They may well choose Apple's chief smartphone rival in the market the BlackBerry which this week launched its new 3G, wi-fi and GPS enabled Blackberry Bold.
And in a move to hang onto its lead over the iPhone, BlackBerry has just announced its partnering with Microsoft Windows Live to give users services like consumer email and instant messaging. This shifts the phone away from the buttoned up image of a business device and makes it more social and per chance hip.
Plenty of analysts are talking up the BlackBerry Bold and applauding the company's success at beating Apple to the punch with their new phone, but perhaps not unsurprisingly the guys over at MacDaily don't think that much of it. Chris Neher told me "The BlackBerry 9000 is a pathetic and sad attempt to hide an antique beneath iPhone veneer."
If Apple wants to make real inroads into mature 3G markets like Europe and Asia then it is going to need something with real bells and whistles to attract sales. And Steve Jobs will need these markets to succeed if he wants to achieve his stated aim of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of the year.
Oh and Mr Jobs if you think BlackBerry's Research in Motion is your main competitor, a word to the wise to look over your shoulder.
Microsoft is reportedly talking about controlling 40% of the smart phone market through Windows Mobile by 2012. So far 11 million devices carry the operating systems and the Redmond company is aiming for 20 million by the end of this year.
And let's not forget about Google's offering via Android.
So Steve no pressure then!
Oh and one other reason to believe the rumours swirling around the Valley that the new iPhone will make an appearance next month is that it will be one year old. Happy birthday.
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