Apple could ship as many as 24 million next-generation iPhones in 2010, according to a May 17 report in Taiwan-based Digitimes, with the publication's analysts citing unnamed sources within that country's component manufacturers.
"Foxconn will ship 4.5 million units in the first half and 19.5 million units for the rest of 2010," reads the report. "Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 4G on June 7, 2010 during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference."
Those shipment numbers for the first half of the year, if accurate, suggest that Apple is anticipating truly massive demand for the device. The Digitimes report also suggested that the new iPhones would incorporate FFS technology, which would offer the screen a wider viewing angle and clearer visibility in sunlight: "Apple is aiming to improve the handset's ebook reader features and promote its iBooks Store. HTC's Hero smartphone has already adopted this technology."
In addition, a thinner iPhone panel supposedly allows space for a larger battery, according to Digitimes analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Despite Apple's much-vaunted corporate security, devices that could be the next iPhone have leaked into the public sphere at least twice over the past two months. In April, tech blog Gizmodo dissected what it claimed was a prototype iPhone supposedly lost in a California bar by an Apple engineer; a few weeks later, around May 12, another device with similar features appeared in Vietnam.
In the latter instance, Vietnamese online forum Taoviet posted images and video of the device's outer shell and inner processor, which subsequently found their way onto Apple-centric Websites and blogs such as Apple Insider. While the Taoviet iPhone prototype featured fewer visible screws along the chassis than the Gizmodo model, it appeared otherwise virtually identical; however, the Vietnamese device appeared somewhat more refined and finished in its build. A dissection of the device supposedly revealed an A4 processor.
According to a search warrant affidavit unsealed on May 14 in San Mateo, Calif., Apple engineer Gray Powell lost the iPhone 4G prototype in the Gourmet Haus Straudt restaurant in Redwood City. According to Detective Matthew Broad, Powell's last memory of the prototype was "placing it in his bag, which he then put on the floor by his feet." At some point during the evening, "his bag was knocked over ... and it was possible the prototype iPhone fell out of the bag and onto the floor."
According to the affidavit, the roommate of a man named Brian Hogan told Broad that Hogan had found the device on the floor of the bar and sold it to Gizmodo. In an April 19 posting, Gizmodo broke down the device, describing a front-facing video chat camera, higher-resolution display, larger battery and secondary mic for noise cancellation.
Apple subsequently complained to the police that the device had been stolen, which eventually led to a REACT (Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team) Task Force raid on the California residence of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen.
In addition to a possible new iPhone device, Apple plans on introducing the iPhone OS 4, which will include features such as iAd, a mobile-applications advertising platform, and multitasking, which previous versions of the smartphone's operating system have lacked.