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Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Report: Apple prepping Australia for June (3G?) iPhone arrival

A debatable report out of one of Australia's largest Apple communities this week claims the wheels are in motion to launch the iPhone in the region this June, and that a 3G model is likely to take center stage.

Citing unnamed sources within the country's tightly-knit circle of Apple resellers, an administrator for the MacTalk forums reports that many of those resellers have started to receive guidance from the Cupertino-based company regarding a local iPhone launch during the final week of June.

The timeframe would coincide with the widely anticipated arrival of a second-generation iPhone with 3G wireless capabilities, iPhone software v2.0, and the first Australian Apple retail stores in Sydney and Melbourne, both of which are believed to be nearing completion.

Though somewhat suspect, the report adds that the touch-screen handset will arrive unlocked for use on many of the nation's wireless carriers and that Australian Apple resellers, unlike those in the US and Europe, will be privy to market the device to their customers.

MacTalk notes that all the major Australian carriers already operate a 3G HSDPA network, while only one — Telstra — maintains a network suitable for the current 2.5G EDGE-based iPhone. As such, the publication believes a 3G model would stand as the only logical choice for the region, a notion believed to also support the rumored multi-carrier model.

On Tuesday evening it was discovered that the latest private beta of iPhone software v2.0 includes references to Infineon's SGOLD3H chipset. A successor to the SGOLD2 chipset used in the current iPhone, the new version is distinguished from the earlier hardware by its 3G cellular data capabilities.

Unlike the EDGE-only chipset in the current iPhone, the new Infineon hardware not only adds 3G over HSDPA but runs up to the international standard's newer 7.2 megabit per second spec — twice the speed of the 3.6-megabit access seen on most HSDPA networks.

It also enables new options for video that aren't present in the SGOLD2, such as live recording and two-way video calls.