iPhone 3G: Release the rumors!

Will the new iPhone be had in July for $199? Despite the buzz, nothing is certain about the next-generation iPhone — except that it will be the biggest mobile game machine of the back-to-school season.

iPhone 3G: Release the rumors!

Will the new iPhone be had in July for $199? Despite the buzz, nothing is certain about the next-generation iPhone — except that it will be the biggest mobile game machine of the back-to-school season.

The story of the moment is by Scott Moritz over at Fortune, who on Tuesday that AT&T will subsidize the cost of the next-gen iPhone by $200 for customers who sign a 2-year contract.

According to his source, the new iPhone will be 2.5mm thinner than the original and use real GPS for location-based services.

Of course, some of these specs run counter to last week's Engadget reports of a black iPhone.

The most noticeable physical difference is back of the phone is no longer metal -- the whole thing is glossy black, from top to bottom. The volume buttons are now chrome.

Here's something to consider: Apple could be toying with the media and planting stories. These reports may or may not be correct and the sources may or may not be the real deal. I'm not doubting the reporting. But Apple is locked down tight, and most AT&T executives may not have the full story.

The market expects that the new iPhone will be 3G and that seems likely, so it's a common thread. But everything else should be taken with a generous helping of salt. That includes real GPS.

The only thing for sure about the iPhone in the summer and fall is that this mobile platform will be a hot gaming machine. This was clear from vendor reaction at the announcement of iPhone SDK and later.

At the SDK launch event, several game developers said they were committed to the platform, including Electronic Arts, which will release Spore in Sept., and Sega, which showed a version of Super Monkey Ball for the iPhone. According to reports, both companies have more iPhone games in the pipeline.

If you've never seen the demonstration take a look at this YouTube clip from the launch event in Cupertino. It really shows the way acceleration and touch can be used by game developers.

And there are many more announcements. Mac developer FreeVerse said it will release a sports suite and a motorcycle game.

Using the iPhone’s unique flick/pinch feature, we’re working on Golf, Bowling, Soccer, and Baseball (to start). Fun, colorful and quick, these will be ideal games for a modern mobile platform.

Michel Guillemot, CEO of iPod game developer Gameloft told Macworld that the company will release 15 titles for the iPhone in calendar 2008.

There is no doubt that Apple is positioning its mobile device strategy against the popular Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. Apple's SDK and vetting will provide the levels of reliability and usability that gamers expect.

And gamers buying into the iPhone platform will get a phone and super mobile Internet client along with the games.

A buddy in Japan close to the market there told me that his only concern for Apple on the gaming front would be if Nintendo were to create a mobile phone — an unlikely event in the near term. His comment was that unlike Apple, "Nintendo really gets fun."

So until Apple can grok fun, the company will have to be satisfied with a supply of the commodity from third-party developers.

[Correction 4/30/08: The maker of the Comic Life software is Plasq. The company said it will release a new application Comic Life Magiq in the next week.