On Monday, Emirates Telecommunications - Etisalat said that it had struck the first iPhone deals of 2009 when it announced in a local newspaper plans to bring the iPhone 3G to the UAE and Saudi Arabia (under the Mobily brand) later this month.
Mark Davis, Program Director for iPhone at Etisalat, later spoke with Dow Jones and revealed the precise launch date to be February 15th. The same report went on to say that the "next version of the device, which is due out in June, will be launched in the UAE at the same time."
The source of the June comment is not entirely clear, but appears to have come by way of Davis. That said, industry watchers generally expect Apple to take the wraps off its next-generation touchscreen handset in June, approximately one year after the iPhone 3G made its debut.
To this end, the hardest supporting evidence to date has come from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who in a post Macworld 2009 interview last month outlined the Cupertino-based company's general product cycles, which he said include an iPhone cycle in June.
Recently, references to an iPhone 2,1 have begun to crop up in weblogs and versions of Apple's firmware, suggesting testing of the next-gen iPhone is beginning to heat up.
Unlike the original iPhone and iPhone 3G, which were referenced as the iPhone 1,1 and iPhone 1,2, respectively, the iPhone 2,1 designation appears to signal a major architectural overhaul that is more significant than last year's upgrade.
Specifically, a lengthy breadcrumb trail laid by Apple and its partners suggest the new model will include the use of customized "System on a Chip" components developed by Apple using ARM processor cores and incorporating new PowerVR video and graphics processing core designs developed by Imagination Technologies.