With summer being only several months away–the timeframe that Apple usually releases its smartphone refresh–analysts are now turning their eyes to Apple and the iPhone rumor mill is back in action. The latest speculation from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Hubert posits that the iPhone can be launched with lower prices. Apple’s current pricing goes from $99 for an 8 GB iPhone with contract to as high as $299 with a two-year agreement on AT&T in the US. When Apple announced the iPhone 3GS, it had also announced the $99 pricing, which was a pleasant surprise for consumers and forced the company’s competitors to compete not just on hype and features, but pricing as well; Apple had similarly shocked tablet competitors by competing on price with its iPad introduction.
Also speculated is the inclusion of gesture support. Apple had popularized multitouch and capacitive touchscreen displays, but rumors are swirling about gestures utilizing the device’s rear camera. Similar to the multitouch surface found on Synaptic’s Fuse concept phone, an Apple patent filed in 2008 suggests that Apple could use the camera as an optical trackpad of sorts to discern swipes. Users can then control their iPhones from the rear using the rear-mounted camera and not have to touch the screen.
Although patents are regularly filed, few make it to production models. The camera-based gesture support could be useful for many and we’re hoping to see that implemented.