Unless it comes with a radical new iOS interface design, there is little reason for anyone to need a new iPhone. No one needs the power, the bigger screen, only perhaps storage. But, that won't stop Apple launching an iPhone 5 anyway -- next spring according to latest reports.
The Battle Goes On
Whatever the decisions behind the scenes, Apple has only just launched the pretty, sleek iPhone 4S and a few flaws aside (but, so has its big rival, the Galaxy Nexus), it is selling well and impressing users. So why, just six months later, would it launch a replacement super-phone with so many users tied into long contracts on the last one?
Regardless, and without casting doubts over Apple's loyal fan-base, that's what Britain's Telegraph newspaper reckons will happen. With reports of a 4-inch screen already in production to give the iPhone more real estate, those who haven't already upgraded to the 4S are the only logical beneficiaries.
While the bigger screen will help Apple compete with the bigger Android devices, the screens themselves will be provided by Hitachi and Sony, as Apple tries to tear itself away from big rival Samsung. But aside from keeping up with the neighbors is there any real benefit?
Is Bigger Better?
While the Internet goes into meltdown over the design and styling of the new phone -- will it be thinner? A teardrop shape? More curved, straight-edged or even permed? What the new phone really needs to deliver is a new user interface. The existing one is now five years old and starting to show its age. But can Apple reinvent it without breaking compatibility and adding useful features?
Microsoft might be late to the game in smartphones and tablets, but its Metro interface will soon come to dominate Windows users' lives and they will be looking for similar levels of multi-functionality and flexibility in other devices, something a quaint static icon (exactly why can't the iPhone weather icon actually show the weather?) doesn't do.
That challenge is far more interesting and relevant to most users than just more processing power or a slightly thinner case. Only when Apple (or Android) starts talking about revamping the basic screen and tools that users interact with all the time will this war get interesting again.
While there might not be a pressing need for a new iPhone, there is certainly room for a new iPad, either in different sizes, or less-expensive configurations. 2012 will certainly see an iPad 3 and there is plenty of innovation to go in this sector, but again, Apple needs to start looking at the interface.
One small thought, what will the next iPhone be called? Is the iPhone 5 name toast after this year's non-launch? We wonder how likely it is that the next iPhone will be called the SJ after the company's late leader? Or, at least, carry his name on the case.