By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 3:46 am
Until now, I’ve held off–sorry for this metaphor!–regurgitating the river of rumors about the release date for Palm’s Pre phone. For one thing, I’m far more interested in whether the Pre lives up to its considerable potential than the precise day on which it will be released. (This we know: Unless Palm unexpectedly blows its deadline, the Pre will ship some time between today and June 30th.) For another thing, Pre-related rumors are so unreliable that you’d think they were about an Apple product–if they were reliable, we’d have been able to buy the phone the day after Valentine’s Day.
But I’ve got to break down and say something at some point, and Engadget is reporting that an upcoming Sprint ad sets the release date as Saturday, June 6th. InfoSync is going further, stating that ads setting the date as June 6th are already appearing on the Web. (I haven’t seen any of these myself, but if they’re out there, they clinch it.)
If the Pre shows up for sale on June 6th, it’ll make its debut forty-eight hours before the keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, where chances are good-to-great that Apple will announce one or more new iPhones. Commenting on an earlier rumor that the Pre would arrive on June 7th, All Things Digital’s John Paczkowski said it would be “sheer lunacy” for Palm to release its phone with such a narrow window of glory before a new iPhone hogged the spotlight. I presume that John would deem it only slightly less nutty if the Pre showed up on the 6th. But I dunno: If there is a new iPhone at WWDC and Palm does get the Pre out the door by the end of June, the two phones are going to be competing for the world’s attention no matter what. It’s possible that being the most interesting new phone that isn’t the new iPhone would actually be healthy for the Pre’s PR campaign. And you know what? The Pre is the only upcoming phone I know of that stands a real chance of being more interesting than the new iPhone.
One way or another, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the Pre. It makes for a sensational demo, and we won’t have to wait much longer before we learn just how it fares in the real world.