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5 Likely Features in the Next iPhone
The new iPhone will probably appear in about a month from now. Here are 5 brand-new features it’s likely to have.
The next iPhone (don’t call it the iPhone 5 yet) is likely about a month away, if you believe reports from AllThingsD, iMore, former Macworld editor Jim Dalrymple and others. With so many different journalists claiming sources for a Sept. 12 launch and Sept. 21 sale date, it’s really starting to look like Apple is running an unofficial whispering campaign.
Nobody outside Apple really knows what the next iPhone looks like or what it will do, although we know it’ll run iOS 6. But some of the rumors are appearing so frequently that like the supposed release date, they’re nearly sure things. Here are the five features I think are most likely.
The 4-inch Screen. Various reports suggest that the new iPhone will have a 4-inch, 16-by-9 format screen with an 1,136-by-640 resolution. (The report that made me trust the rumors comes from John Gruber, who has such a close relationship with Apple that he seems to be almost a spokesman.) That’s literally a stretch from the existing 960-by-640. It will allow for an extra row of icons at the bottom of each home screen, but existing 960-by-640 apps will run without looking too hideous or having to scale. I think this is a no-brainer. The iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen has been behind the times for several years now. Studies show that consumers want larger screens, and even at 4 inches, the iPhone will be at the low end of popular screen sizes.
LTE. This may be required. Verizon and AT&T simply aren’t accepting any more high-end smartphones into their lineups without LTE, as they’re so desperate to get people off their crowded 3G networks and onto the wider, emptier lanes of 4G. Apple managed to avoid the first, power-hungry generation of LTE chipsets, but now we’re seeing slimmer LTE phones with better battery life than we did last year. It’s time for Apple to make the jump over to 4G.
NFC. The “Passbook” feature in iOS 6 is practically screaming for NFC, the short-distance wireless technology that’s always just about to enable mobile payments, but never quite pulls it off. Passbook collects tickets, loyalty cards, Starbucks cards and … well, you can see mobile payments fitting in there, but Apple never made that quite explicit at the iOS 6 announcement. An NFC-packing phone with mobile payment capability is the obvious missing piece here.
The new dock connector. The 30-pin Apple dock connector forces devices to be a bit larger than they have to be, and includes pins for protocols that Apple no longer uses (such as Firewire.) It’s time to slim it down. But unlike most other smartphone manufacturers, Apple isn’t going for the industry-standard MicroUSB connector; it makes too much money licensing its patented dock connector to accessory makers. Look for a smaller 8- or 9-pin dock connector on the new iPhone, along with a dongle or adapter for existing accessories.
A faster processor. Apple’s A5 is looking a bit long in the tooth. The maker of Apple’s A5X processors, Samsung, has a quad-core Cortex-A9-based solution churning out of its factories right now that should offer roughly double the performance. While Apple will probably call its next processor the “A6,” it will probably be closely related to Samsung’s latest Exynos chips, which means a quad-A9-based solution.
What will Apple pack into its next phone? I’m pretty sure we’ll find out next month.
For more, see PCMag’s full review of the iPhone 4S and the slideshow below.
By Sascha Segan, PCMag