Widespread iPhone shortages, combined with an explosion in carrier deals, point to the launch of the next-generation iPhone as right around the corner, according to Piper Jaffray.
I know, I know: this isn't the first time you've heard that theory. But you have to admit that signs are piling up that a 3G iPhone is in Apple's short-term plans. Let's recap the evidence so far.
The iPhone is currently unavailable at half the Apple retail stores surveyed by Piper Jaffray over the weekend. Both the 8GB and 16GB models are unavailable from Apple's online store. Shortages have also been reported in recent weeks in the U.K. following a price cut.
Also, Apple is adding wireless carriers at a frantic pace. Canada, Mexico, Australia, much of Latin America, four new countries in Asia, and almost half of Europe are now on track to start officially selling iPhones in short fashion. The big Asian prizes, China and Japan, remain outsiders for the moment, but unlocked iPhones are selling briskly in China under the table.
Piper Jaffray expects Apple to announce the 3G iPhone at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in June (where, believe it or not, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver a keynote address). The iPhone 2.0 software is expected to arrive by the end of June, which will mark the one-year anniversary of the iPhone's debut.
So, those of you who were wondering if you should wait to purchase an iPhone until the 3G model comes out, rest easy. You simply can't buy one now even if you wanted to--or at least, you're going to have trouble finding one.