Rumors regarding the next iteration of the iPhone have been flying left and right. If you’ve been following the rumor mill, you know that there’s a lot of potential innovations to be implemented into Apple’s next iPhone.
Will Apple release several different iPhone models at once? Will the next iPhone be considerably smaller than its predecessors? Will Apple release the iPhone 5 on all carriers with a universal baseband?
These, among others, are all questions being asked about the next iPhone. Let’s examine the rumors and try and make sense of it all…
What we do know, based on Apple’s product cycle, is that a new iPhone announcement should happen this summer. About a month ago, Digitimes released some interesting information regarding Apple’s supply chains. Digitimes reported that Apple was ramping up for iPhone 5 production, which would place Apple’s projected announcement date right around the normal time of the WWDC conference in June (possibly on June 5th).
Apple is planning on increasing the battery life of its next iPhone. A patent has surfaced revealing that Apple is planning on improving the iPhone’s battery life by increasing battery cell density. Every new iteration of the iPhone has had better battery life than the last, so this improvement is almost a given for the iPhone 5.
The next iPhone will most likely have Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC is a relatively new breakthrough in mobile payment, and reports from the likes of Bloomberg claim that Apple will implement NFC into the iPhone 5.
NFC would primarily be used to let the iPhone interface with and make payments for physical products and ads through RFID technology. If you’ve ever used a mobile device to scan a bar code or a QR code, you should have a good grasp of how NFC works.
AppleInsider reports that Apple plans to implement NFC in a new and interesting way,
“White said that his sources have indicated to him that the next iPhone will include NFC technology. However, Apple’s approach will reportedly have “a twist that will make it unique versus his peers.” White did not give any indication as to what the “twist” could be.”
Apple will reportedly make its cloud-based service, MobileMe, free with the release of the next iPhone. MobileMe has always been overpriced and lacking in key functionality when compared to other free web services like Google.
Rumors say that Apple is bringing significant updates to MobileMe. Along with the remarkably reduced price tag, speculation says that MobileMe will become a much more integrated part of the iOS experience in the near future. A streaming iTunes media service could also work in tandem with an updated MobileMe. If the next iPhone is indeed mostly cloud-based, these MobileMe rumors make sense.
Apple could release a smaller iPhone dubbed the “iPhone Nano.” This miniature iPhone would probably be sold unsubsidized (no $200 hardware fee) and depend on internet streaming for content.
The Wall Street Journal has also reported that the iPhone Nano will posses an “edge-to-edge” screen and have voice navigation. A cheaper iPhone Nano could have the potential to increase Apple’s smartphone revenue by over 250% and saturate the market with cheap iPhones on different carriers.
It is worth noting that there have been conflicting reports about the iPhone Nano. The New York Times claims that the iPhone Nano will not be any smaller than the iPhone 4, but that it will be cheaper. The NY Times also corroborated the report that Apple will make MobileMe free.
We shall see what happens.
The next iPhone could have a larger 4 inch display. Digitimes has claimed that Apple will increase the iPhone’s display size to compete with current Android handsets that all boast 4 inch screens.
While Apple has never really been one to feel the pressure of competition, a slightly larger screen on the next iPhone wouldn’t be a stretch. This idea also compliments the rumor that the next iPhone will not have a home button. (Don’t worry, we’ll get there.)
An iPhone with a slideout keyboard? Hey, it could happen.
While the idea of an iPhone with a slideout keyboard does seem unlike Apple, it’s entirely possibly that the (or “a”) next iPhone could have a slideout keyboard. A Taiwanese site called tw.Apple.pro claims that Apple will implement a slideout keyboard in the iPhone 5. We’ll see if this rumor ever comes true.
The next iPhone could have no home button. Boy Genius claims that Apple will replace the home button’s functionality with new multitouch gestures.
A home buttonless iPhone would definitely be a drastic design change. It’s unknown as to how this would effect the jailbreak process (it’s kind of hard to put an iPhone in DFU mode without a home button), but I guess we’ll find out this summer.
The iPhone 5 could have a universal baseband and sport a dual core CPU. Apparently, the Verizon iPhone actually has a universal Qualcomm chip, but Apple has it disabled. It makes sense that Apple would introduce an iPhone 5 “world phone” with the ability to run on any carrier.
A dual core CPU also makes sense for the internals of the next iPhone. Apple always improves performance with each new iteration, and the ARM Cortex A9 processor seems like the next logical step for the iPhone 5.
An interesting patent suggests that Apple may eventually plan on using its Magsafe connector for power and data transfers on iOS devices. Apple’s MacBooks use Magsafe for power, but Apple wants to have Magsafe replace its USB connector for iPods and iOS devices.
If Apple can successfully achieve power and data through Magsafe, it’s assumable that Magsafe will become the standard connector for all Apple mobile devices in the future. We probably won’t see Magsafe on the iPhone this year, but I’m sure Apple has it on the distant horizon.
LTE has been a question on the iPhone since the technology’s introduction in the mobile space. Apple is definitely working on implementing LTE into the iPhone, but not for the near future. In fact, Apple only recently posted the job listing for an LTE specialist.
While we won’t be seeing LTE in the iPhone 5, Apple will most likely introduce LTE in the generation after this year’s cycle. Apple has never been a company that quickly adopts new technologies, and LTE is no exception to that rule.
We could possibly see three different iPhone models released this summer, or Apple could stick with its track record and release one device. Most likely the iPhone 5 will have improved performance and battery life, NFC technology, and some sort of display size change. MobileMe will be apart of the next iPhone announcement, and the biggest design change could be the lack of a home button.
Hopefully this article helped you sort through all of the speculation on the iPhone 5.
Now that you’re familiar with the rumors- What do you expect out of Apple’s next iPhone? What would you like to see? A larger screen? Better camera? I’d just like to be able to buy one in white.
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