April 06, 2009, 8:59 PM — So, you know, stocks are down and companies aren't hiring and we can't borrow infinitely against the value of our homes anymore and this is the new age of fiscal prudence and hey, did you hear that Apple is planning on doubling iPhone production? Well, that's ... gutsy, if nothing else. I think it's safe to say that Apple isn't doing this on blind faith in the iPhone's awesomeness; so what, exactly, will be the driver behind all of us supposedly impoverished folks shelling out for shiny Apple hardware and the pricey long-term mobile contracts that go with it?
The leaked rumors about new features -- 802.11n, video editing, FM broadcast and reception capabilities -- definitely fall into the interesting but not game-changing category. Thus, as the Ars article linked above guesses, the magic will probably come with some product diversity, like we saw with the iPod after that gadget had reached maturity: a pricey upper-level phone with video capabilities and more storage, a phone similar to the current offering but cheaper, and -- maybe -- a (subsidized) $99 or less low-end version limited in some ways (no Wi-Fi?), like the kind that analysts have been angrily demanding for months. It will be interesting to see how the iPhone OS will be adapted if that low-end phone has a different form factor, as that could have serious implications for any potential Apple netbook.