iPhone 2 launch?

  • Posted: 16 December 2007 01:58 AM

    A 3G iPhone in January? Probably not. But even though iPhone’s FCC application was kept secret, Apple did announce six months before shipping, and iPhone still hasn’t shipped in most territories. With the iPhone 2 launch, how can Apple avoid killing iPhone sales for as much as 6 months? Secrecy alone is not an option, on account of necessary approvals with FCC and AT&T and their counterparts all over the world.

    Some ideas:
    [list=1][*]innovative confidentiality agreements with approval agencies.
    [*]No change in appearance - so that those encountering the device in advance don’t realise it has new hardware.
    [*]Covert hardware upgrades (like macbook 802.11n) so that iPhones sold in the weeks before announcement already have the important new hardware.
    [*]Trade in programme - those on contract (and generating revenue share) can trade-in the old iPhone and start a new 2-year contract.
    [*]price/model alternation (similar to macbook/macbook pro): new features are announced on a much more expensive model, which becomes the standard at the standard price at the next model change.
    [/list:o]

    Any more ideas, including reasons why it might not matter?

         
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    Posted: 16 December 2007 04:30 AM #1

    The FCC makes it’s documents pretty much accessible to anybody (transparency in government - a good thing), but other approval agencies may be more selective in the information they make available to the public and when.

    If Apple decides to launch a 3G iPhone in Europe first, it may be able to obtain approval from the relevant ministry without having that public agency be obliged to publish Apple’s application.

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    Posted: 16 December 2007 05:16 AM #2

    I don’t see anything to be overly concerned about. This is just a normal product upgrade cycle of the kind every company has to face. Apple faces this every time a new laptop, iPod, or Mac pro is rumoured, and it doesn’t overly impact sales.

    There needn’t be a 6 month gap between submitting a device for testing and releasing it to manufacture. This was unique to the first iPhone simply because it was still under development when it was sent to the FCC.

    They’ve had an age to work on iPhone 2.0, which could be released anytime from as little as month or two subsequent to being submitted to the FCC for testing.

    I’m not worried.

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  • Posted: 16 December 2007 07:05 AM #3

    Tommo, I didn’t mean to convey “concern”. It’s just interesting to speculate how cellphone releases will be managed “the Apple way”. Even without the carrier liaison and regulatory approval tasks, Apple overcomes considerable difficulties in product transitions. What Apple does is very different to what other PC, CE and cellphone manufacturers do. Rapid transitions of a tiny product catalogue deliver a huge lead over competitors’ main product lines. With a major effort, Nokia, Sony or HP occasionally deliver a product as up-to-date as Apple’s. But there is no way for this to match Apple’s price point or to do it for all their products.

    Certain aspects of iPhone are years ahead. But other aspects are scorned as obsolete by some. However, when Apple brings its product cycle management to bear on cellphones, I believe the competition may well lag behind in every basic hardware spec. of their product, not merely the browser, the touch screen, the carrier contracts, the customer relationship and the accounting!

         
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    Posted: 16 December 2007 07:47 AM #4

    Elmer FUD has picked up on this thread and refers to it in the article below.

    http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/12/16/iphone-how-to-get-from-2g-to-3g-without-killing-sales/?source=yahoo_quote

    I agree with Tommo_UK that the time from announcement to release will be much shorted than 6 months.

    For all the times Philip Elmer-Dewitt has raised my blood pressure, I have to say that working through and considering his arguements has helped validated my decision to own Apple stock. This makes me feel I am not just ‘sipping the Kool-Aid.”  :D

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    Posted: 16 December 2007 08:53 AM #5

    [quote author=“stkstalker”]Elmer FUD has picked up on this thread and refers to it in the article below.
    http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/12/16/iphone-how-to-get-from-2g-to-3g-without-killing-sales/?source=yahoo_quote
    I agree with Tommo_UK that the time from announcement to release will be much shorted than 6 months.
    For all the times Philip Elmer-Dewitt has raised my blood pressure, I have to say that working through and considering his arguements has helped validated my decision to own Apple stock. This makes me feel I am not just ‘sipping the Kool-Aid.”  :D

    To be fair on Philip he’s actually a tireless and relentless Apple news hound smile ... only Businessweek carries anywhere near as much Apple-related news and commentary in online financial media. its just that sometimes the editorial priorities of Fortune seem to, errrr, colour his headlines a bit rolleyes

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    Posted: 16 December 2007 09:05 AM #6

    The majority of people I know in the UK who don’t yet have an iPhone but want one are now determined to wait for a version either with more memory (16GB min) or 3G. There’s no arguing with them - it doesn’t matter how persuasive the user experience is, they’re convinced they’d be “mugs” to buy the current version and are all dead certain there’s a new model just around the corner.

    Peer pressure seems to dictate you wait for the next version or be called stupid for buying the current model, which some now deem “slow” (no 3G) “too small” (no 16GB/32GB version).

    I should stress that these are the same sort of people who won’t buy a MacBook now because they’re certain there’s a better version coming out at MacWorld, or wouldn’t buy a Mac last January because they were waiting for Leopard at WWDC in June - and ended up having to wait until October rolleyes

    Fortunately most people are not so anally-retentive and just want what works, right now, but of course they’re not the ones working for Engadget and Gizmodo. Some people get paid to whine louder than others, unfortunately.

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  • Posted: 16 December 2007 02:40 PM #7

    I think we’re more likely to get a 16G/32G option in the US before we get 3G. It would be an easier upgrade for Apple, whereas 3G might require some modificarions to the case due to chip size (although I’m totally clueless on that issue).

         
  • Posted: 17 December 2007 07:38 AM #8

    [quote author=“Tommo_UK”]The majority of people I know in the UK who don’t yet have an iPhone but want one are now determined to wait for a version either with more memory (16GB min) or 3G. There’s no arguing with them - it doesn’t matter how persuasive the user experience is, they’re convinced they’d be “mugs” to buy the current version and are all dead certain there’s a new model just around the corner.

    Peer pressure seems to dictate you wait for the next version or be called stupid for buying the current model, which some now deem “slow” (no 3G) “too small” (no 16GB/32GB version).

    I should stress that these are the same sort of people who won’t buy a MacBook now because they’re certain there’s a better version coming out at MacWorld, or wouldn’t buy a Mac last January because they were waiting for Leopard at WWDC in June - and ended up having to wait until October rolleyes

    Fortunately most people are not so anally-retentive and just want what works, right now, but of course they’re not the ones working for Engadget and Gizmodo. Some people get paid to whine louder than others, unfortunately.

    I think that most people holding out on buying an iPhone because it’s “too small” either don’t realize or don’t know that no cell phone on the market has more than 8 GB of memory, and only very few besides the iPhone come with so much memory out of the box. I only know of the Nokia N95 8GB.

         
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    Posted: 17 December 2007 07:54 AM #9

    [quote author=“csimmons”]I think that most people holding out on buying an iPhone because it’s “too small” either don’t realize or don’t know that no cell phone on the market has more than 8 GB of memory, and only very few besides the iPhone come with so much memory out of the box. I only know of the Nokia N95 8GB.

    It doesn’t really matter.. these people think of the iPhone in iPod terms: “only 8GB? Not enough.” And frankly, with the mount of space video eats up and increasingly higher bit-rate music downloads, it isn’t enough. AAPL should offer at least a 16GB, but also a 32GB (cost be damned there are tons of buyers for such a device at any cost) version.
    And with the upcoming SDK about to unleash more iPhone applications which will in turn require a memory footprint of their own, the iPhone’s 8GB has never looks less adequate to me.

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    Posted: 17 December 2007 08:20 AM #10

    Not so surprising that the 4GB version died in its infancy.

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  • Posted: 17 December 2007 09:59 AM #11

    Agency Approvals

    At the outset let me say that I’ve never had to do any compliance testing for mobile phones, but I have done testing for electronics and I believe the situation is the same for phone, though the standards are different.

    All that by way of a disclaimer lest I be wrong but…

    No government agency ever touches a product. Those agencies publish specifications that cover radio interference, safety etc. A company then has to have its devices tested against those specifications. You can do all that testing yourself if you want, but you or an independent third party has to certify the results of those tests. This can all be accomplished under non-disclosure.

    Different countries have similar specifications so all of the testing for the relevant markets is usually done at once. There is a difference between safety testing and radio interference testing and some countries only need one or the other, but if you plan to sell world-wide, you usually do all of the certifications at once.

    Now the caveat for a phone, which by definition is an “Intentional Radiator” of radio frequencies needs more than just a certification that it doesn’t interfere within areas of the radio spectrum where it’s not suppose to intentionally radiate. It needs an FCC ID, and with that, it has to supply the FCC with all the necessary documentation including the reports that are certified to show that the device operates within the rules of the FCC. I’m sure other governing bodies either require their own registration or they will accept the FCCs. In any case, all that is paperwork and happens after they have all of the testing and fixing done.

    The only way someone is going to know is if they forget to do a test and the FCC turns them down. In any case, they can keep the process confidential for a period of time.

    If you’re interested you can see the iphone documents at the FCC web site here

    So I don’t believe that the certification process means disclosure. i.e. Steve can say “And one more thing…” and it could indeed be iPhone 2.0 - Big surprise!

         
  • Posted: 17 December 2007 10:18 AM #12

    Re: Agency Approvals

    [quote author=“ctopher”]At the outset let me say that I’ve never had to do any compliance testing for mobile phones, but I have done testing for electronics and I believe the situation is the same for phone, though the standards are different.

    All that by way of a disclaimer lest I be wrong but…

    No government agency ever touches a product. Those agencies publish specifications that cover radio interference, safety etc. A company then has to have its devices tested against those specifications. You can do all that testing yourself if you want, but you or an independent third party has to certify the results of those tests. This can all be accomplished under non-disclosure.

    Different countries have similar specifications so all of the testing for the relevant markets is usually done at once. There is a difference between safety testing and radio interference testing and some countries only need one or the other, but if you plan to sell world-wide, you usually do all of the certifications at once.

    Now the caveat for a phone, which by definition is an “Intentional Radiator” of radio frequencies needs more than just a certification that it doesn’t interfere within areas of the radio spectrum where it’s not suppose to intentionally radiate. It needs an FCC ID, and with that, it has to supply the FCC with all the necessary documentation including the reports that are certified to show that the device operates within the rules of the FCC. I’m sure other governing bodies either require their own registration or they will accept the FCCs. In any case, all that is paperwork and happens after they have all of the testing and fixing done.

    The only way someone is going to know is if they forget to do a test and the FCC turns them down. In any case, they can keep the process confidential for a period of time.

    If you’re interested you can see the iphone documents at the FCC web site here

    So I don’t believe that the certification process means disclosure. i.e. Steve can say “And one more thing…” and it could indeed be iPhone 2.0 - Big surprise!

    I know from contacting the FCC that they do actual testing, but if you don’t want to sit and wait (backlog) then you can use one of their certified 3rd parties at an additional cost, which only takes a couple of weeks.

    HAB

         
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    Posted: 17 December 2007 10:24 AM #13

    Re: Agency Approvals

    [quote author=“HotAirBaffoon”]I know from contacting the FCC that they do actual testing, but if you don’t want to sit and wait (backlog) then you can use one of their certified 3rd parties at an additional cost, which only takes a couple of weeks.
    HAB

    AFAIK Apple did use a 3rd party for the original iPhone testing. I remember reading the testing results on the FCC site once they were released; they were from an independent company.

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