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Wall Street analysts anticipate WWDC 09

With WWDC 09 coming up next week, Wall Street analysts are polishing their crystal balls and commenting on what they think we'll hear about. In a post on Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, Eric Savitz polled the top tech analysts for their ideas.

Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer believes that the new iPhones will be delayed until WWDC so that the conference focus will be on Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0. Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers is in agreement, and Wu also believes that AT&T will offer more flexible service plans, and that the iPhone line will split into a high-end version with improved battery life and a junior version with less functionality.

Savitz's post goes on to tap Phil Cusick of Macquarie Research for his ideas, which also include the split of the line into high-end and entry-level iPhones. He's noted as saying that the high-end phone will include both a front camera for video chat and a rear mounted autofocus camera, but that an OLED screen won't be a feature of this device.

Kathryn Huberty of Morgan Stanley is cited as believing that the new iPhones will be unveiled at WWDC, with a $100 price cut, lower AT&T service plan fees, and entrance into the China market, thereby increasing demand. Huberty is noted as thinking that Apple won't add another US carrier before 2011. Vincent Rech of Societe Generale also believes that China is ripe for an iPhone distribution deal.

Everybody's favorite research analyst, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, has high hopes for AppleTV in the near future, according to a post on the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital site today.

Blogger John Paczkowsi cites Munster as believing that Apple is working on both a new AppleTV for a September release and an App Store to go with it. WWDC 09 might be used as a launch site for an AppleTV SDK, along with an announcement of an App Store for AppleTV for a 2010 launch.

Munster, who has a pretty good track record at Apple predictions, feels that future AppleTV apps could include digital video services for expanding content offerings (he cites Hulu as an example) and that an SDK would enable use of the iPhone or iPod touch as a game controller.

The consensus? Pretty much everyone believes that new iPhones are imminent, although the timing of the release is up in the air. Several of the analysts believe that the new devices will be announced at a separate Apple event towards the end of June where Steve Jobs can make his long-awaited return to the company.

Whatever the outcome of WWDC, be sure to stay tuned to TUAW for our continuing coverage of this important event.

With WWDC 09 coming up next week, Wall Street analysts are polishing their crystal balls and commenting on what they think we'll hear...