Five Months, Counting
Apple's iPhone revisions usually ship in the summer, but due to the trauma that Japan is facing, a lot of mobile products and tech developments are slipping. September is now the given date, according to a raft of industry insiders.
But, the iPhone 5 is coming and it has carted more rumors around with it than Jimmy Hoffa. Most likely Apple will be sticking with the tried and tested iPhone 4 square look for at least one more generation. (Chinese case prototypes suggest Apple is sticking to the format.) The thing can hardly get any thinner, but what will we find inside the beast? Now that the iPhone 4 is soon to be available in white, perhaps various color alternatives are possible.
First up will be a new, faster processor, most likely the same chip found packing by iPad 2s. The A5 processor will improve general performance but really kicks in the graphics department, and Apple has hired several games industry PR experts to help move the phone more dynamically in this field. Hardcore gamers still scoff at most iPhone games but increasingly, there is little reason (apart from controls) to keep modern gaming experiences off the iPhone.
Near Field or Far?
NFC has been a big buzzword for a few years now, but apart from a few metropolitan transit applications has failed to hit the streets. Whichever phone ships with it first, and Android is also in the race, will see a lot of extra interest. The idea of paying with just a wave of the phone will bring e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar clashing together in a smorgasbord of advertising and marketing potential.
After not appearing for the iPad 2 launch, another big feature could be cloud-stored content such as your iTunes songs. The pros and cons of this are already old hat but it could allow Apple to sell cheaper phones with less memory -- perhaps an iPhone Lite class of device. This would help Apple compete with all the cheaper Android phones out there, something it needs to protect revenue in years to come. This also probably knocks out anyone wishing for SD or other memory card support.
Outside the Box
There are lots of features people would like to see in the iPhone 5, but it is highly unlikely that Apple will rock its own boat with overly disruptive technologies. A built-in projector would be an awesome addition, but for now we'll probably have to stick with the HDMI-out connector that shipped recently, which works with iPad 2 and iPhone 4.
The final changes are more likely to be within the case itself. The antennas will need to be fixed from the iPhone 4 design, and, if Apple does ditch the physical button, the screen will get a little larger -- ideal for widescreen movie viewing, but perhaps making it a little elongated? We'll have to see.