updated 11:50 pm EST, Wed January 28, 2009
A deeper look into the latest iPhone firmware reveals the model number of the next-generation iPhone, according to MacRumors. The original iPhone carries the designation "iPhone 1,1" and the 3G variant accounts for the presence of "iPhone 1,2". The latest firmware includes a reference to "iPhone 2,1" that would imply a major revision. In comparison, the first generation iPod touch is labeled "iPod 1,1" while the current model is referenced as "iPod 2,1" and integrates functionality for a speaker and external volume adjustment, in addition to a faster processor and mic support.
Rumors surrounding the inevitable next iPhone have established a wide range of speculation. Aftermarket case designs point to a smaller form-factor handset, suggested to carry the name "Nano." The device could arrive with a lower price-point, with some speculation claiming that 3G support will be dropped.
A lower-priced device could prove a formidable foe to the current BlackBerry and Palm products that fall well below the iPhone's $199 base price. Other rumors suggest that the upcoming phone will initially launch in China, although Apple typically introduces products to the domestic market first.