Let’s Talk iPhone.

Alright, let’s make a blog post.

More specifically, “Let’s Talk iPhone”.

If you follow the tech blogosphere, you are probably aware of Apple’s Media event, scheduled for this Wednesday, September 12th at the Yerba Buena convention center in San Francisco, CA. Many sources, including myself, believe Apple will use this event to launch a new iPhone for the market. From 2007 to 2010, Apple has scheduled spring/summer releases for the iPhone, usually being unveiled at the annual WWDC. However, since last year, Apple has held a special event to release the new iPhones, starting with the iPhone 4S.

Let’s look at some of the popular rumors surrounding this new device.

  • A Taller iPhone
  • And more specifically, one that has a 4′ display. I definitely see this happening, only due to market competition. The modern smartphone starts at a 4 inch display, most having a display size between 4.2 and 4.5 inches. As we saw with the iPhone 4 in 2010, resolution is no challenge for Apple with their incredible Retina Display at 326ppi. Most phones currently attempt to match that, with some like the HTC Rezound surpassing the 326ppi mark. Or as some carriers describe their phones, with a 720p display. It really is amazing, but because of the bigger display, the PPI will decrease slightly. It’s a give or take situation, and everyone knows that Apple will come out on top.

  • Aluminum/colored back
  • You may have seen some photos of an iPhone “5” prototype with a large aluminum back and color bands at the top and bottom of the device; in white and black respectively. I think the blogosphere is on the right track, but I don’t think that’s the final product. The design almost seems too “tacky” for Apple, but it has potential to make use of new technology. With this aluminum back, one could easily argue that this is for NFC (Near Field Communications), or some sort of “beam” technology. Sharing a document wirelessly, instantly? Android 4.1 already has that feature, with the Galaxy Nexus being the first Android 4.0 device to support Beam. However, there are already several apps available for iOS that achieve this functionality over the same wireless network, such as Bump. I don’t expect Apple to bring anything of that sort to the table. Why? Because they already have it, with iCloud. Remember that iCloud is still incredibly new, about a year old. Using iCloud technology, documents, music, apps (well, maybe not apps) can all be shared wirelessly over 4G, 3G, whatever!

  • 4G LTE
  • Yes, yes, and yes. Last year, Apple disappointingly withheld LTE from the iPhone 4S, only giving the AT&T model any sort of “faux” G capabilities, with an HSPA+ enabled radio. The Verizon and Sprint models were still stuck on the same 3G radio my Motorola RAZR (remember that flip phone?) had built in. But one year later, Verizon’s LTE network has been established in most major cities, and AT&T’s LTE network is rapidly growing. I expect LTE on both of these devices. But what about Sprint? That’s a tough call, with their WiMax network suffering a slow and painful death, and has nowhere near the same infrastructure AT&T and Verizon has. So expect Verizon and AT&T to get those precious LTE models. What about the magenta carrier, T-Mobile? Expect further support for use of unlocked iPhones on their network. And Sprint may have a cat in the bag, and will finally start supporting iPads on their networks (yes, that means new iPads). I haven’t seen anything indicating this, but I think it will happen eventually.

  • Hardware
  • Can’t forget about this section. Let’s make some guesses here. Apple will use either an A5X or an A6 processor (the A6 is more likely), as seen from some teardowns of the new logic board in iPhone “5”. 10MP camera with 1080p recording, better sensors made by Sony. Remember that megapixel count means absolutely nothing without the hardware to support it. iOS 6 on board with the device, and a better processor (A6) to support Siri’s increasing demands. Button layout will remain the same, with the exception of the headphone jack relocating to the bottom (how unfortunate). The dock connector? It’s either a yes or no. If they make the new standard USB Micro, I’ll be jumping with joy. If it’s a proprietary connector, we will just have to see. Also, I kind of wish that Apple would move the camera to where the buttons are, to support the Volume Up button for photo taking. That feature proved incredibly handy in iOS 5, so maybe Apple will listen to their die-hard customers.

  • Software
  • Yay, software! I don’t really have much to say, but if you are a Apple Dev member, you probably watched the Newsstand section from the WWDC videos. I did, and it discussed the Push Notification system extensively. It’s a HUGE problem in iOS 5, especially for devices like the wi-fi iPad and iPod touch, since they usually are not constantly connected to a network. How many times have you woken your device up, and then gotten a massive stream of notifications? Now, the video only discussed it in relation to new issue notifications from Newsstand; you could only send out one notification per 24 hour window, regardless of whether your issue was late/early or on time. Apple has said they’re going to fix this in iOS 6, but I expect it to be more system wide, allowing devices to get notifications in real-time, versus waiting to awake the device. You can currently bypass this problem with Wi-Fi only iOS devices, but it requires a power source to keep your connection up and running. Remember Wi-Fi syncing overnight? Yeah, kind of like that. Remember that what Apple doesn’t release with iOS 6, someone may develop it and put it on Cydia.

    Recap/Summary:

    So, let’s narrow it down to a simple list of things to discuss at the event.

    * New iPhone will be called either iPhone 5 or “new iPhone”
    * iPhone 5 will feature a 4′ display, lower PPI count but still “retina”
    * Slimmer profile with redesigned bottom (headphone jack, dock connector, speakers)
    * New back, but not color and solid aluminum. How about colored aluminum?
    * 4G LTE connectivity for AT&T and Verizon models, Sprint left out cold
    * iPad- I do not think they will introduce a newer iPad or iPad mini at this event, but may announce that Sprint may get its own iPad.
    * A6 processor with A5X specs or greater
    * Redesigned antenna system, still a global device
    * 10MP camera or greater with even better optics
    * Better camera button integration
    * Cellular FaceTime (not that you can’t do this already)
    * Push notifications finally fixed
    * More Siri
    * New and improved iCloud technology, integrates “beam” like sharing
    * Putting Newsstand in a folder (can we please do this already? I know why we can’t, which is because Newsstand is essentially a folder by itself. But the functionality would be cool. You can put folders in folders with a real OS 😉 )

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