Analyst: Apple to Focus on iPhone at WWDC

Appleis historically Mac-focused World Wide Developer Conference is set to kick off on June 9, but this yearis event will likely focus be more heavily shifted towards the iPhone, according to American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. He expects Apple will announced new models with support for 3G wireless networking while maintaining 2.5G models at a lower price point.

"As most investors expect, our supply chain contacts suggest new iPhones, including new 3G models and a lower cost 2.5G refresh," Mr. Wu said.

He thinks the new iPhones will include an improved virtual keyboard with haptics support, GPS and location services, and a thinner case.

He added "We anticipate pricing for 3G hardware similar to current price points and 2.5G versions to see a US$50 to $100 discount. Signs indicate Apple has become more focused on driving volume, raising the possibility of carrier subsidies."

New Macs arenit likely to make an appearance at the event, but the Cupertino company could have some radical changes in store for its computer lineup later this year.

Instead of new Macs, Apple could debut new tablet-type devices. Mr. Wu commented "Our sources suggest new form factor touchscreen devices (4-inch and 7-inch) are beyond prototype stage. We see a 50 percent chance these are announced at WWDC. These devices appear to be a hybrid between a Mac and iPod touch."

Around 70 markets around the world have announced deals to carry the iPhone before the end of 2008, many of which will need models with 3G support. That helps bolster the notion that Apple is prepping to announce a 3G model soon, but does little to support rumors of other potential features.

Mr. Wu is maintaining his "Buy" rating and $220 target price for Appleis stock. Apple is currently trading at $187.26, up 2.07 (1.12%).

<!--#include virtual="/includes/newsite/series/stockwatch.shtml"-->