Apple iPhone and iPod Rumor Round-Up

As Apple prepares to debut upgraded versions of its iPhone smartphone and popular, Wi-Fi-enabled portable digital music player, the iPod touch, the rumor mill is kicking into high gear. Is the iPod touch getting a camera? What about high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi capability? Is Apple getting ready to tackle the Chinese market? Let's get to the core of the Apple rumors.

The whispering about new features on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch products is growing louder, as blogs, financial analysts and Apple insiders debate the veracity of unconfirmed reports and unnamed sources. The latest buzzing regards the iPod touch, which may or may not be getting a camera (and 802.11n Wi-Fi capability) when the device is upgraded.
As programmers slice apart the 3.0 software operating system for the iPhone, features such as stereo Bluetooth-audio streaming are surfacing. A report by Lazard Capital Markets semiconductors analyst Daniel Amir, which was picked up by AppleInsider, suggests production of two versions of iPhones will be introduced this year, debuting in June.
One version is thought to be a "high-end" model, aimed at the North American market, and a low-end iPhone, which will be marketed to Russia, China, India and Brazil. In the report cited by AppleInsider, Amir said the high-end version has an improved camera that would allow video capability and 32GB of storage. The low-end version drops the video function and lowers storage capacity.
Amir also mentions the low-end model might lack Wi-Fi, a decision made to appease Chinese wireless companies. Regardless of features, Apple is going to ramp up production capacity, Amir reports. "Our checks suggest that March iPhone shipments have been much stronger than previously expected and may reach 1.5 million units, which is the highest level over the past five months," he is quoted as reporting on AppleInsider. "Total iPhone shipments in [first quarter of 2009] are therefore tracking slightly higher than Street expectations of 3-3.5 million units and could reach 3.8 to 4 million units."
In addition, Amir predicts total April iPhone shipments to increase 40 percent to 50 percent month-over-month, and expand another 20 percent to 30 percent month-over-month in May. "Accounting for the new versions of the iPhone shipping in April, total iPhone shipments in [the second quarter] could reach 7-8 million units, which equates to approximately 3-4 times last year's shipments during the same period," he wrote.
On Monday, CNN reported on an analysis by Barclays Capital's Ben Reitzes, who raised his target for Apple shares to $143 from $113 and is also expecting Apple to ramp up iPhone production and expects iPhone sales to reach 17.4 million units this year, up from an earlier estimate of 13.3 million. In 2010, Reitzes expects sales to top 20 million units.
The unofficially dubbed "iPhone 3.0" or "iPhone 4G" is also rumored to offer video editing software, a built-in FM radio and support for 802.11n Wi-Fi networking. The last feature, suggested by AppleInsider, would make sense considering Apple is transitioning hardware such as Macbooks and AirPort Base Stations to 802.11n. The current versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch support 802.11a networks (5GHz), or 802.11b/g networks (2.4GHz).