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AmTech on 3G iPhone; Adobe Lightroom 2.0; Apple China boss lured

AmTech is chiming in with its own report on a 3G iPhone which the firm believes will be accompanied by a revised 2.5G model sporting a slight casing redesign. Meanwhile, Adobe has released a beta of its Lightroom 2.0 post-production photography software; Apple's China chief has been poached by the nation's leading search firm; and Germany receives fresh iTunes TV content.

AmTech on new iPhones

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu on Wednesday joined a chorus of other analysts in forecasting Apple to introduce a new version of its iPhone handset around June.

"Our checks with supply chain sources indicate that the iPhone is likely to undergo a product transition in the June-July timeframe, about a quarter earlier than expected," he wrote in a research note to clients. "We had previously thought a 3G version would be available in mid- to second-half . Besides a software upgrade to version 2.0 in late June, we now believe we will likely see new hardware as well."

Giving the analyst higher conviction is the accelerated timetable in which iPhone inventory levels have gone lean, which he said is consistent with Apple's tendency to wind down stockpiles ahead of an update.

"We believe Steve Jobs could unveil these new iPhones at his WWDC keynote in early June," he told clients. "In addition to a 3G version, our sources indicate that the 2.5G model could see a minor casing change and lower price point closer to $299-349 vs. its $399 price today."

While the iPhone currently stands as a relatively minor contributor to Apple's top line, generating only 2-3 percent of the company's revenue, Wu believes it will one day become as large as the current Mac business, fueling approximately $15 - $20 billion in annualized revenue.

Adobe release Lightroom 2.0 beta

In its latest move aimed at battling Apple's Aperture for share of the post-production photography workflow software market, Adobe on Wednesday released a free public beta of its Lightroom 2.0 application that won't expire until the end of August.

Among the enhancements that can be found in the new version are:

  • Localized corrections — Enhance specific areas of an image for unsurpassed nondestructive flexibility and control reminiscent of the traditional darkroom dodge and burn experience.
  • Improved organizational tools — Find the images you need quickly and easily.
  • Multiple monitor support — Add an additional monitor to efficiently manage photographic workflow and presentation.
  • Flexible print package functionality — Create custom layouts containing multiple sizes of a photograph on a single page.
  • 64-bit support — Lightroom 2.0 now takes advantage of the latest hardware architectures with improved memory handling and performance.

A complete set of detailed release notes [49.5KB PDF] are also available.

Apple China Boss heads to Baidu

Reuters is reporting that has lured Apple's former China head for the role of chief operating officer in the latest high-level executive shuffle at China's largest search engine.

Peng Ye, who oversaw all business operations in China for Apple as the country general manager, joins Baidu on the heels of the appointment of ex-General Motors executive Jennifer Li to the post of chief financial officer, the media outlet said.

Baidu is reported to maintain a slight edge over Google as China's most popular search engine.

TV programming comes to German iTunes Store

Apple said Wednesday that hit television programming from Germany’s top networks, including ProSieben, Sat.1, ZDF Enterprises, Brainpool and US broadcasters ABC Studios and MTV Networks is now available from the iTunes Store in Germany.

“iTunes is the world’s most popular online music and TV store with over four billion songs and 125 million TV episodes sold,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We’re off to a great start with over 35 TV shows available on the iTunes Store in Germany.”

German iTunes customers can now choose from a wide range of award-winning primetime programming including “Stromberg,” “Tramitz and Friends,” “Switch!,” “Shaolin Wuzang” and “Kaya Yanar-Made In Germany,” as well as the Emmy Award-winning US programs “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “South Park.”

Shows are priced at €1.99 and €2.49 per episode.