The iPhone 5 is widely expected to be announced within the next few weeks, with (limited) availability expected shortly afterwards towards the end of October. As with all Apple products its development is a closely guarded secret and its very existence is flatly denied by Apple until the day Steve Jobs decides he’s ready to tell you about it.
Luckily with the age of internet communications, extensive global supply chains where not everyone can be gagged, and not to mention a few overly keen handset case manufacturers, you can generally work out the main specs before the device is announced. So while Apple will never give the game away entirely (even the ‘lost’ iPhone 4 situation from last year left many details to the official announcement), we thought you’d appreciate a roundup of the latest rumours on the phone’s 5th outing. But rather than just regurgitate all the conflicting rumours out there, I thought I’d put my neck out and make solid predictions based on the rumours I’ve seen and my own judgement. You can judge for yourself whether I’m right in a few weeks time…
iPhone 4S or iPhone 5?
Our prediction: Both
Let’s settle this once and for all. Apple will announce two phones – a slightly upgraded iPhone 4 called the iPhone 4S (or something similar retaining the number 4) which will be largely identical to the existing iPhone 4 but with the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and potentially a tweak to the antenna. The iPhone 4S will replace the iPhone 3GS as the new ‘budget’ iPhone.
The iPhone 5 will therefore be the new flagship handset, so the rest of this post will therefore concern the specs of that phone.
Bigger screen, same size phone
While this may be a bit tricky from a scaling perspective (the iPhone 4’s jump in pixels was made simple for developers since it just doubled the existing pixel rate), Apple simply has to release a bigger screen to compete with the likes of the latest Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy SII. But in Apple style they won’t go too big. The mainstream iPhone user is quite happy with the current size, so they’ll simply extend the screen to the edge of the phone. The phone therefore will remain the same size as the iPhone 4 and those few geeks who love to compare inches can just buy the Samsung. Apple will sell enough iPhone 5s to not notice.
While the wait of the iPhone 4 is often described as ‘reassuring’, anyone who’s picked up a newer handset will consider it to be very heavy. ‘Modern’ phones (i.e. those born in the last few months rather than those ancient phones from 2010) are incredibly light. There’s no reason to think the iPhone 5 will be any different.
8 megapixel camera
This is the one prediction that I’m not too sure about, as increases in phone camera resolutions seems to have plateaued a bit as they focus on better quality lenses or autofocus over the pixel rate specifically. But the 5 megapixel camera in the iPhone 4 does seem a bit weak now, so I’m going to bet on 8 megapixels making it’s way to the iPhone 5, if only to give Apple another spec improvement to shout about.
Hidden antenna (again)
The Antenna-gate saga following the iPhone 4’s launch makes this a dead certainty. While the antenna may still follow the same innovative design of the iPhone 4 by being wrapped around the edge of the handset, it will not be visible this time but concealed in the handset as with previous iPhones. In this regard I wouldn’t be surprised if the antenna in the iPhone 4S benefits from a little tweak too, albeit a much less drastic one than the iPhone 5 (such as being covered in a thin layer of plastic to disguise its former sins).
If the iPhone 4S is getting the new A5 processor from the iPad 2, what is the iPhone 5 going to have to better it? My prediction – A slightly faster A5, if not exactly the same speed. Apple won’t be going quad-core just yet so they’ll be sticking with the A5, which considering it’s only been rolled out in the iPad 2 so far is nothing to be ashamed of.
Battery – much the same
Apple will increase the battery’s capacity as they always do, but the extra horsepower of the A5 processor and the larger screen will result in similar usage times as the iPhone 4 today.
The phone will be available in white and black from day one and come in 16, 32 and 64GB versions, with the iPhone 4S coming in the same 16 and 32GB versions available today. The 64GB iPhone is long overdue, but I’ll admit that doesn’t make it a certainty. iCloud will reduce the need for more local memory, but with Apple pushing down the cost of flash memory every day, the cost barrier to a 64GB iPhone is now gone, so they might as well do it.
So there’s my roundup of the main features. What do you think? Have I missed anything crucial? Do you think I’m way off the mark? Let us know in the comments below or tweeting us at btbizdirect.