We all remember that last year’s introduction of the iPhone 3GS resulted in a price drop down to $99 for the iPhone 3G, this year’s iPhone update is expected to see an iPhone price drop.
Analyst Katy Huberty with Morgan Stanley thinks price is the largest single issue preventing more people from from jumping into the iPhone ownership club. e.g. The minimum monthly plan iPhone users can get away with comes in at $70. That’s for 450 minutes ($40) and unlimited data ($30). That $70 price tag doesn’t include messaging. With messaging and taxes thrown in, the average monthly bill hovers around the $105 mark.
Huberty writes: “We expect Apple to launch new iPhones in June that offer both a lower total cost of ownership and new functionality, potentially including gesture-based technologyю”
Two recently published patent applications from Apple give possible explanations to Huberty’s statement.
The first patent, “Camera as Input Interface,” adds alternate input methods for a touchscreen phone, particularly useful when the touchscreen is pressed against your face during a phone call. The patent describes a method using the built-in camera as a gesture detector, recognizing “swiping” up, down, left, or right using a finger. The gestures could be used to control voicemail, for instance, by swiping “forward” or “back” to skip to the next or previous message. The input could be augmented with accelerometer data to recognize a “tap” as well, according to the patent application.
The second patent, called “Shape Detecting Input Device,” describes a system using a touchscreen to recognize uniquely shaped signets, and to perform actions associated with a specific shape. One application would be to log in a unique user based on the recognized shape. This is similar to the now-defunct practice of stamping a seal from a signet ring into sealing wax to verify a document’s authenticity or source. If such a signet were indeed on a ring, it could also be used to unlock an iPhone.