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Monday
Aug012011

The Apple Beat: Interest in iPhone 5 surges

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

A number of iPhone 5 related stories have come up during the last few days.  From purported leaked photos of the device, some third party cases and myriad mockups, interest is surging for this yet unnanounced product. Many are speculating on what the next revision of Apple's iPhone is going to look like, what features it is going to have and how it is going to compete with this year's crop of superphones. A rundown of what we've heard as well as our own fearless predictions after the jump.

Graphic: IDC

We're hearing that the iPhone 5 won't be coming out until October and while this is an odd release date for Apple (the music/iPod events are in September but an October launch puts the iPhone 5 out in time for the holiday buying season), it would be a good time to launch.

The iPhone 4 has been a successful product for Apple globally but now the competition is coming in strong with dual-core processor, larger screens and thinner form factors that are gaining in popularity. The onus os on Apple to raise the bar again with a desireable, updated and multifunctional device. Maintaining the current iPhone 4 as a cheaper alternative at a reduced price would make a lot of sense.

Still, while no one has heard from Apple on the update to the iPhone 4 (which just made Apple the largest smartphone vendor in the world, ousting Nokia). Apple's growth has been phenomenal as it registered a 141 per cent  sales increase year over year.

Predictions abound

The iPhone 5 will likely be even thinner than the iPhone 4. We expect a 1GHz or higher dual core A5 processor and at least 1GB of RAM and we think it is about time Apple offers a 64GB variant of the iPhone.

Many will argue that with iCloud coming, there isn't a need to keep a lot of files and data on the devices and for most users that would be fine, iCloud will serve as the depository. Users who love to take tons of pictures and video as well as test the dozens of new apps that appear each week need a lot of space.

Rumoured iPhone 5 accessory cases are causing a wave of excitement for the unreleased smartphone

I've already maxxed out the 16GB limit of my iPhone 4 and was given an error message saying couldn't take anymore pictures because there was no more space to save them.

I found this really weird since I don't have any music or movies on my device but I do have a lot of apps and tons of photos.

Since the iPhone never had a microSD expansion option (grrr!) users are forced to now carefully choose what they want to take with them on their phones.

I agree 16GB is a lot and if managed properly should be able to hold a lot of valuable files but it would still be nice to have an option in the upper limit.

The iPhone 5 camera will be much better, possibly in the 8-12 megapixel range although what will be exciting about this is the enhanced performance and functionality for stills and videos. Better low-light functionality and faster performance would be great. The Facetime camera might get an upgrade as well.

The iPhone 5 might come in GSM and CDMA variants or Apple might be taking its time because it is developing a true universal phone that will easily work on all countries/bands/carriers. We've heard that they might be making an even smaller SIM card and we hope they are not because we aren't particularly fond of the microSIM as it can only be used in very limited devices something even smaller would be way too insular.

We expect the iPhone 5 to have a larger screen. Many of the mockups reflect this by showing iPhones with end-to-end screens which look a bit awkward.

The reason for this is that these mockups are based on the iPhone 4 design.

Apple isn't known to work that way. They are likely to revamp the entire phone design rather than just pop in a larger screen into an existing design. they will likely keep the current metal band antenna design and probably improve on it.

A 3.7" inch to 4" inch screen on the next iPhone would be a great upgrade that wouldn't necessarily increase the size or weight. Apps will  also still look good in this screen size and work as expected so developers don't need to rework existing apps.

We expect a better, brighter Retina Display possibly with even lower power draw and hopefully strengthened and even more scratch and impact resistant glass.

If the iPhone's size increases, we think so will the device's battery capacity (or at least the capacity will remain the same despite the larger screen).

We don't see Apple getting into NFC (Near Field Communications) anytime soon although we figure there will be no shortage of third party cases or apps that will enable this functionality. 

We would like to see a feature like OS X Lion's AirDrop WiFi peer-to-peer sharing function on the iPhone and iPod Touch, surely they can figure out a way to allow non-DRM files to be sent between devices quickly.

Finally, while we like the iPhone 4's squarish design, it looks like the iPhone 5 could go back to its roots and will be an amalgam of the original iPhone (with an Aluminum rear) and with some elements of the 3GS and the iPhone 4. A larger screen will mean a slightly bigger and wider design which will need to be thinner to keep weight down.

These are all speculative and wishful, Apple will likely pull a few surprises that no one expects. No other handset in the industry receives this kind of scrutiny and anticipation as the iPhone and 14 month has been a long spell between models so the rumours will continue until Apple itself reveals more about this critical and market leading smartphone.

 Sources: 9to5Mac

             IDC

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