Experts Predict Multiple iPhone Models

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It's that time again. More iPhone rumors and speculation--including predictions that Apple will release a variety of iPhone devices, and that the company will add features like video capture and video chat--have come to light.

The latest predictions come in a note to investors from Barclay's Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, which was released ahead of Apple's April 22 earnings report. Reitzes says that Apple has ramped up iPhone production in anticipation of high demand that will come after Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. However, Reitzes says that high demand only tells half the story and that Apple is getting ready to release more than one new iPhone model.

Reitzes believes that Apple will introduce two iPhones, according to Apple Insider. The first would be a lower-end iPhone with less storage and features. The low-end phone theory is supported by other analysts who believe the device would primarily be meant for the Chinese market, where Apple may have lined up a carrier.

Meanwhile, Reitzes predicts that a device designed with a video camera on the iPhone's face and back will replace the current iPhone. The front camera would support video chat, while the regular iPhone camera would work as a video recorder to rival the Flip line of camcorders. This predicton is also supported by yesterday's rumors that the new iPhone OS 3.0 has extended video editing support.

Reitzes also made the now obligatory prediction that Apple will be coming out with a tablety, netbooky-like thingy. Reitzes says to look for an Apple netbook-like device in the second half of this year. While many Apple fans might love to get their hands on an iPhone tablet, haven't we had enough of the netbook prediction already? It just won't die, even though Apple has disappointed on the netbook front time and again. Another prediction gaining ground among analysts is that a new device would be followed by further forays into the netbook market, all of which would be based on the iPhone OS and not OS X as previously thought.

So what to make of all these predictions? As always there's no telling what Apple will do when the lights go up at San Francisco's Moscone Center West this June. But it should be noted that Reitzes made similar predictions in November, and nothing ever came of it. Then again, if netbooks remain the bright spot for the computer industry, an iPhone-inspired tablet might just make sense. There's only 76 days until we found out for sure. Until then, the guessing game continues.

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