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Piper on iPhone shortage as update sign; Acrobat 9 for Mac soon

An investment note by Piper Jaffray calls the new iPhone shortage a sign of an impending new model. Also, Adobe will soon announce the next major version of Acrobat with new features, Sprint and Samsung have unleashed a direct iPhone rival, and a new report says Hon Hai will produce 10 million new iPhones.

Analyst: low iPhone supply likely sign of refresh

With stock of Apple's touchscreen cellphone running almost completely dry across the US, senior Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on Tuesday that the shortage pointed to an upgrade.

The low supply, verified across 20 stores in a separate check from AppleInsider's, gave an 80 percent chance that an update was coming "earlier than anticipated," according to Munster. There was also a 20 percent chance given that the low supply was evidence of a production problem.

A release in the near future would contradict a report issued on Monday by Munster himself, who called for a June release of a 3G iPhone, as well as those by several other analysts. If accurate, however, the device would probably be a similarly-styled replacement for the $400 model rather than a premium or heavily reworked version, he added.

The researcher also noted that Apple's iPhone growth, while unlikely to top 2 million iPhones shipped this quarter, was "a full 2-3 years ahead" of the iPod's, which didn't reach the same shipping volume until 2005.

Adobe Acrobat 9 to launch in weeks

Adobe is prepping a launch for its Acrobat 9 PDF creation tool within the next two months, AppleInsider has learned.

The new version will primarily extend some features of today's high-end versions to the mainstream. An ability to convert 3D files from AutoCAD and other programs to PDF files will be available in the Professional edition, for example. The software will also enable collaborating on documents from an Adobe server, similar to a web-based beta service launched on Monday.

However, a planned move to allow the creation of fillable PDF forms in the Standard edition will be limited to the Windows release; for Mac users, the option will be available only for the Professional edition, which should cost $200 more. Adobe will offer a free upgrade to anyone who buys a paid version of Acrobat 8 after version 9 is announced.

Adobe is expected to hold a briefing for the press later this month on its plans for the software, though those details will remain secret until late June.

Sprint next in line with iPhone rival

Adding to the growing ranks of all-touchscreen phones reaching US shores, Sprint has unveiled the Samsung Instinct.

The device is Sprint's first non-business device of its kind and dwells heavily on media playback and entertainment, but is said to have a few enhancements over its counterpart at AT&T: 3G Internet access over EVDO Revision A, assisted GPS, and vibration responses to touch that mimic real buttons.

In an unusual coincidence, Sprint officially plans to ship the phone in June, one year after the iPhone's release in the US, and will similarly require that buyers subscribe to a special monthly plan; in the Instinct's case, this will involve a $70 service with unlimited data.

Dow Jones estimates 10 million 3G iPhones to be made by Hon Hai

Furthering its own brief report late last week, Dow Jones now estimates that Hon Hai Precision Industry will ship at least 10 million 3G iPhones in the near future.

While a contract to manufacture the device had already been discussed in the earlier report, the company — known as Foxconn in the US — is now allegedly prepared to produce and ship large quantities of the device. The shipment by itself would match Apple's stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones from its June 2007 launch to the end of 2008.

The Taiwan firm is "just waiting for the nod from Apple," according to the report.

Neither Apple nor Hon Hai has offered to comment on the story.