Don’t buy an iPhone (yet)!

O2 are going to love me for that headline but this is nothing to do with their price plans or the device itself, which is still tempting me even with its flaws.

Basically, anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to have an iPhone (and who does?) should hold off buying one for the next month or so as the much rumoured 3G iPhone model is on its way.

As is tradition with Apple, there’s no official announcement but all the pieces are falling into place.

Firstly AT&T, the iPhone carrier in the USA, has said it expects all its devices sold for its network to be 3G within a matter of months; when asked if that included the iPhone the spokesperson stressed the word ‘all’. Secondly, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray checked 20 Apple Stores in the US and found they were all sold out of iPhones – in the iPod world such a decline in availability is a clear indication that a new generation of device is on the way. Thirdly, and on the back of the above news amongst other indicators, influential Mac site Macrumours.com has changed its Buyer’s Guide recommendation on the iPhone to a ‘Only buy if you need to’.

Last but not least well-known American tech journalist Walt Mossberg has said he expects a 3G iPhone within the next 60 days; which means he expects a 3G iPhone by early June. Early-mid June just happens to be when Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference takes place (this has been the location of many big Mac announcements in the past and this year will see a big focus on third party development for the iPhone itself).

Just to qualify this warning – it’s unlikely that Ireland will get the 3G iPhone at the same time as the US, simply due to the limited amount that will be available in the first few weeks. It’s also entirely possible that they (Apple/o2) may not roll the 3G model out officially in Ireland until later in the year, for fear of the backlash that would come from releasing a product in mid-March and making it obsolete by mid-June. There are also rumours that the current iPhone will remain on the market, bar a few cosmetic (and perhaps storage size) changes, with the 3G model being marketed as the premium version of what already exists.

However this warning isn’t just aimed at people planning on buying an iPhone from o2 – it’s also aimed at those thinking of importing from the US. If you can old off until late June or July you may end up getting a 3G model (with 16GB storage or even more) for the same price as the current 16GB model… and if the currency markets continue on their current trend it’ll work out as an even better deal than it would have anyway!

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