The anticipation for Apple's next generation iPhone 5 -- or in some circles, the iPhone 4s -- has exploded beyond a frenzy and reached more of a mania, with some observers not only predicting one phone, but two.
Observers and fans are anticipating a follow-up to last-years iPhone 4 roll out with not only a new flagship phone, but also a smaller, less expensive model as well. This isn't entirely beyond reason.
Analysts see huge potential for Apple to accelerate growth in China, but that market is a different beast than western markets. The primary device of choice is pre-paid, so many theories have surfaced suggesting that Apple will target this market with it's own, low-cost pre-paid device.
But BMO Captial's Keitch Bachman says this is flat out wrong -- per se.
There will be a low-end model, but we believe that the [existing] 3GS will be the low-end iPhone, he told investors late Monday.
That line of reasoning is a direct contradiction to Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore who believes that there will be two handset models introduced in September, a fully-featured iPhone 5, and a lower-end iPhone 4S that would use pre-paid voice offerings to attack the mid-range of the smartphone market.
Extremities aside, the consensus is Apple will roll out just minor upgrades to the next iPhone, with some analysts predicting a more radical refresh in 2012, when the company is expected to introduce a model with support for high-speed 4G long-term evolution data.
The backbone of the new phone will be the iCloud , however, a new hosted service that will give users access to data and services streamed directly from Apple servers.
Apple has already embarked on what could be the largest data center in the world in Maiden, North Carolina in recent months.
The half a million square feet center will also give Apple massive computing power that users can also exploit and benefit from, like streaming music and video and a digital locker service.