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05 - 29

Several firms see Apple selling current iPhone 3G for $99 as

With more and more evidence pointing to Apple’s 2009 iPhone lineup consisting of three distinct models, the Royal Bank of Canada is the second investment firm to predict that one of those models will be a repackaged version of the existing 8GB iPhone 3G that will see its price tag lopped in half.

iPhone 3G

Discoveries within betas of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 3.0 software over the past several months have turned up references to at least two new versions — iPhone 2,1 and iPhone 3,1 — of the touch-screen handset that could hit the market this summer. Meanwhile, it’s been speculated that references to “ChinaBrick” found in the same software could indicate a third model may be in the works specifically for mainland China.

Those assumptions were reinforced earlier this week when unnamed sources claiming to be familiar with Apple’s plans said the company is gearing up to introduce a trio of iPhones with distinct wireless hardware, each of which would be available in two capacities for a total of six new models.

More specifically, the report implied that countries with the most capable wireless networks, like the United States, would see an enhanced version of the iPhone 3G capable of 7.2Mbps downloads while other countries receive a version similar to the current iPhone 3G capable of 3.6Mbps 3G downloads. The third model would reportedly target only China and feature more limited functionality, possibly forgoing 3G connectivity entirely or offering compatibility with the government-endorsed TD-SCDMA standard.