With the highly-anticipated launch of the iPad 2 finally out of the way, the grapevine is ripe with iPhone 5 rumors flying all around. From an edge-to-edge display to 4G capability to a July 2011 release, speculations about the latest generation iPhone are making the rounds in the tech world. But which of these rumored features are simply products of wishful thinking and which are actually not such far-off possibilities?
iPhone 5 Out by Summer?
The launch date of the iPhone 5 is perhaps one of the easiest details to speculate on. Nothing is set in stone as yet but Apple’s history of summer releases will tell us that a late June or early July unveiling of the next iPhone is something that we could perhaps all look forward to. Besides, by that time, the iPad 2 should be entrenched in the market well enough for Apple’s wise guys to shift their efforts from “perfecting” the tablet to doing the same with the smart phone.
From Glass to Metal?
The latest buzz to hit the blogs recently is that the iPhone 5 is going for a metallic look reminiscent of the earliest iPhone model. If there is truth to this, then the all-glass backing “breakthrough technology” (as Apple puts it) of the iPhone 4 may not have been so revolutionary after all.
When the iPhone 4 debuted the glass back last year, many were all praises for it – that is, until the “antennagate” issue surfaced. While the reports (more like fabricated hype) of signal problems when the iPhone 4 is held in a certain way remain unverified to this day, the bad press it got may have swayed Apple to decide in favor of metal backing over that of retaining the glass panels.
Major Makeover for iPhone 5?
Word also has it that the soon-to-be iPhone will not only have a metallic back but a few other changes to its physical features as well. Some blogs are speculating on an essentially complete “rethink” of the iPhone 5 design. Think edge-to-edge, larger display, and a white, slimmer iPhone, and perhaps you may have something that remotely resembles the iPhone 5. Or not.
The idea of a wider, edge-to-edge screen for the wildly smartphone was spurred on by an alleged iPhone front casing photo that suddenly surfaced online a few weeks back. While having a screen that occupied the entire width of the device does sound interesting, we’re more interested in the veracity of the source, which at the moment may just be a Photoshop expert. On the other hand, talks of a slimmed-down and white iPhone 5 may stem from these same features adopted by the just-released iPad 2.
Don’t look now but a smaller, cheaper version – the iPhone nano – could even be on the way. Given that the iPod Nano has met significant success, this one may not be so far-fetched, but again, there’s not enough basis to support this rumor. And even if it were not unfounded, we also don’t know if its release will come before, after, or together with the iPhone 5.
What’s Under the Hood?
The iPhone 5 may experience some weight loss owing to the supposed elimination of the glass panel and a more svelte design, but what could be underneath is heaps more powerful than the previous version. Talks are rife that the multi-core A5 processor now used on the second-gen iPad will also make its appearance on the new iPhone.
Combined with a dual core graphics chip (GPU) which is reportedly in the works as well, the iPhone 5 will definitely up the ante especially when it comes to graphics-intensive applications. Better battery performance is another subsequent advantage of the bumped up processor.
The next iPhone could also be the first to offer 64GB of storage capacity – something that’s already available on the 4th-generation iPod Touch. We say, it’s about time.
4G Network Coming Soon?
Both Verizon and AT&T, which are the two carriers slated to offer the iPhone 5, already have their 4G networks in place. The former offered its 4G connectivity to subscribers late last year, while the latter is set to launch its own 4G system in mid-2011.
Would Apple perhaps maximize this technology to provide fifth-generation iPhone users with blazing fast web access? Many believe that this is so and we do too. If a heavily upgraded features set isn’t enough to convince one to move on to the next iPhone, then maybe a zippy, seamless internet connection via 4G wireless would do so.
How Near is NFC?
The iPhone 5 buzz also includes hints of built-in near field communication (NFC), allowing the device to be used for mobile payments. Such speculation is fueled by a recently revealed Apple patent that shows an e-wallet icon right on the home screen. Another reason why a digital wallet using NFC technology could be incorporated into the next iPhone? Google’s Nexus S has it. While the iPhone is not one to play catch-up with Android phones (nor does it need to), Apple certainly would not want to be one-upped by the competition in any aspect.
Same Price Tag?
Again taking cue from Apple’s move with the iPad 2, the imminent iPhone 5 could come at about the same cost as the previous model. Besides, even assuming it doesn’t let go of its hold on the smartphone market, the iPhone is bound to see a loosening of its iron grip. And with the influx of cheaper Android phones, the chink in the armor could well prove to be the iPhone pricing.
It’s all well and good to talk about what the next generation iPhone is likely to have or not have. But whether these iPhone 5 rumors will turn out to be hits or misses is something that is for Steve Jobs and his gang to know, and us to find out – come launch date.
=== About the Author ===
Tim Ambler is a prolific writer and technology enthusiast. His company, MightyPromos, provides products such as promotional footballs that can be custom imprinted with a logo or message of your choosing.