All I want for Christmas is My New iPhone

With all the buzz, if Apple doesn’t unveil a new iPhone next month at MacWorld, it’s going to feel like Santa left us a lump of coal.

Morgan Stanley analyst and Apple-watcher Rebecca Runkle laid out her list of likely iPhone features today in Barron’s Online, which is based, she is quoted saying, “on proprietary supply chain checks.” Runkle also claims that at least two models are already in production and offers up plenty of details on the phones as well as the suppliers.

List prices for the gadget — wider than a nano, thinner than a Video iPod — Runkle says will be $599 for a 4GB unit and $649 for 8GB. Features include a three megapixel camera, MP3, and video. E-mail and calendar functions “unconfirmed.” For six hundred bucks, one would hope it has email.

In the past Runkle has also predicted that the iPhone could generate $1.2 billion in new sales for Apple. However, she also predicted that the iPhone would debut in 2006.

The next question inquiring minds want answered is who will be the service provider. Barron’s West Coast Editor and Tech Trader Daily blogger Eric Savitz suggests that Apple will be its own carrier, buying airtime from other carriers — Cingular is named — as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Savitz’ source for this is UBS telecom analyst John Hodulik. Hodulik’s reasoning is as follows: Apple wants to maintain maximum customer control and increase store traffic. Even if that’s at the expense of market share.

But operating as an MVNO is a tough row to hoe.

“While we believe Apple has been able to negotiate an attractive deal with Cingular,” Hodulik is quoted saying, “we do not know whether it will be attractive enough to allow it to compete for high volume users and still make money on the phone services (if that is its intention at all.)”