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Next year’s iPhone

An analyst describes the smartphone innovations he expects from Apple in 2010

In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster suggests three ways Apple (aapl) can stay ahead of the coming wave of smartphones powered by Google's (goog) Android OS.

  • Build an iPhone for Verizon. Munster continues to believe there's a 70% chance Verizon (vz) will get an iPhone before the end of 2010. The value of more than doubling the phone's addressable market -- i.e. adding Verizon's 89 million U.S. subscribers to AT&T's (t) 82 million -- would more than justify the cost of manufacturing a CDMA iPhone, according to Munster.
  • Give the iPhone a battery that lasts longer than one day. "Apple has introduced advanced battery technology with its portable Macs," he writes, "and we expect the company to dramatically improve the iPhone battery life with the next several hardware launches."
  • Turn the iPhone into a digital wallet. Munster predicts that future iPhones will have built-in RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, allowing them to make retail payments with a single swipe.

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"We've just scratched the surface" in terms of apps and accessories, says Munster, who has an interesting take on Apple's continued resistance to Adobe (adbe) Flash. He sees it as a slightly Machiavellian move with strategic implications.

"Apple has built a moat around their apps," he writes, "in part by excluding Flash, preventing app developers from building apps in Flash and porting them to all mobile platforms."

UPDATE: On Twitter late Thursday, Eldar Murtazin, the Moscow-based editor of Mobile Review, posted this cryptic note: "Foxconn received order for next generation iphone." Foxconn is the trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industries, which manufacturers most of Apple's products.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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