What to Expect in Apple’s iPhone 5

| Analysis

Rumors about the next iPhone are flying fast and furious now. Here’s a list of the features that have been mentioned and the the likelihood we’ll see them in what Apple will probably call the iPhone 5.

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First, there that enduring question about what Apple will call it. Certainly, it’s Apple’s sixth generation iPhone (1, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S). As a placeholder, it’s been called the iPhone 5. That makes sense because there were pretty good rumors that the 4S was going to be the iPhone 5. Something happened there, and we’re not completely sure what.

Another possibility is “iPhone 4G” to reflect the almost certain 4G LTE capability. However, with the extreme competition from Samsung, I think Apple will want to bump the base number for the sake of perception. As for the argument that Apple is giving up on numbering, to wit, “new iPad,” I think that has more to do with marketing the iPad line and the (rumored) forthcoming iPad 7 than the iPhone itself.

iPhone 5 conceptiPhone 5 concept. Image Credit: TechRadar

Almost Certain

Four Inch Display. When the leak goes out to the Wall Street Journal, you know it’s for real. There was also a slip by Sharp president Takashi Okuda that the new display will be 4 inches diagonally — compared to the current 3.5 inches. That will also include a move to in-cell technology that will make the display just slightly thiner and better looking. The competition from Android smartphones, seeking some kind, any kind, of advantage over the iPhone, forces Apple’s hand here. iOS scaling and resolution issues seem to have been addressed.

4G LTE. This is what we were hoping for in the iPhone 4S, and it’s just about a certainty in the iPhone 5. Verizon’s LTE network is well along (200 cities) and while AT&T remains behind, AT&T customers with a 4G LTE iPhone will be a lot happier over the next year.

Quad Core. The issues isn’t what we are doing with the iPhone 4/4S. The processor in the iPhone 4S is plenty fast enough for what it does. However, the data rates from 4G LTE, Apple’s new mapping service, a mature Siri, iOS 6 and NFC all suggest that Apple should get on with a much more capable quad core processor. That’s what HTC is doing, and Apple needs to move sharply ahead or be criticized accordingly.

Smaller Dock Connector. Enough photos have been leaked to put this on the Almost Certain list. The first order explanation is that Apple wanted to make more room inside the iPhone and pave the way for a future, thinner design. Another theory, not contradictory, is that the new connector is designed to comply with European Union directive, the micro-USB standard.

Even though we’ll all be annoyed for awhile, using an adapter, it’s good for all users in the long run. And it will likely carry over to the iPad. The current dock connector is a shaky affair on a slanted surface.

Iffy Prospects

The next list of items have been talked about, but may not be a done deal in the iPhone 5. Listed here in order of probability by my estimation.

Near Field Communications (NFC). Apple appears to be heading down the path of the digital wallet. The purchase of AthenTec and the iOS 6 feature called “Passbook”,a warm up, strongly suggest that direction.

However, we may still be a year away from a solid, refined digital wallet scheme using fingerprint authentication and NFC, so NFC might not make it into this version of the iPhone. Unless Apple has some other interim features in mind.

Typically, what we see before a technology like this rolls out is a host of articles by standards groups and major banks on how they want it to work, and then the carriers and mobile phone makers jump on board. In this case, however, the mobile phone makers seem to be jumping the gun, trying to set the standards before they get squeezed out. Here’s some discussion. Lacking a coherent national standard, it’s still a mess. Will Apple strike out on its own? I doubt it.

Nano SIM. This new standard for SIM cards would allow Apple to save room inside the iPhone, space that could be used for a larger battery. 4G LTE is going to need it. Still, this is still on my “iffy” list until I hear more. However, we do have some leaked images.

AirDrop. There has been some discussion about a new Wi-Fi chip in the iPhone 5 that will support “AirDrop,” the ability to easily transmit a file to another nearby device. Given how much pain users have experienced getting iPhone files moved about, having to resort to Dropbox, Printopia and email, this would be a welcome addition.

Headphone jack move to bottom. I don’t know why Apple would want to do this other than for the sake of economy of design on the mother board. That is, collecting similar electrical components together.

Is That Enough?

Every year, Apple’s iPhone gets more and more popular. Horace Dediu has pointed out a finding from the Samsung trial in which Apple’s Senior V.P. of Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, mentioned an internal rule of thumb. “Each new generation sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined.”

There certainly is enough pent up demand to make the iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple calls it) another hit. The real question is whether the new feature list is even relevant from a pure technology standpoint. Apple customers want to be on and stay on the technology bandwagon. While iOS 6 and the technical changes to the hardware may not seem like an overwhelming technical upgrade, that’s how smartphone technology advances. The race with competitors, incremental improvements, and Apple’s need to advance the state of the art (and prepare for the future itself) may be all that’s necessary to give Apple another blockbuster launch.

Comments

graxspoo

I just switched from the iOS world to Android. Here’s why: Android phones are ‘good enough’ and much cheaper. I don’t need all the latest bells and whistles. I just need a phone that works, that lets me browse the web, get email, watch movies and run a few apps. Android, even the old “Froyo” version on the phone I’m getting, does that and more. It even has walking directions, street view, and time-tested and reliable navigation. Secondly, going with a no-contract provider like Virgin Mobile can easily save you $1000 over the course of two years. So, just as people are starting to unplug from the cable providers to get better value for their money, I think more and more people will realize that an iPhone is simply not the best bang-for-the-buck. In short, I think Apple would be wise to put a little more attention to the low end than simply saying “you can buy the old models at a reduced price.”

mactoid

Android phones are ?good enough?

That is certainly the secret to the “success” of M$ and Windoze!

John Lunson

If the form factor does not change all the software enhancements and 4g won’t mean a thing.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has the shape that Apple needs to mimic. I realize that is not the usual Apple way; however lawsuits aside the rectangular flat surface of a 4 ” screen ain’t gonna be the breakout Apple is expecting.

No way Tim Cook launches a other flat rectangle

vpndev

I’ll go with a no-contract provider, thank you. Enough of AT&T’s we-still-own-the-iPhone attitude with their pricing. And same pricing after your contract, and the subsidy, ends. Rip-off, pure and simple.

But even at no-subsidy pricing I will come out ahead. Maybe AT&T will wake up to this one day, but it seems that it will not be soon.

Lancashire-Witch

4 inches. I was hoping for something slightly smaller and lighter than the 4S. An iPhone “nano” would be very welcome if the “5” is larger than the 4S.

daemon

I want to get this clear, there will be no “iPhone 5” ever.

I kinda feel like were not even going to see an iPhone refresh this year…

RonMacGuy

I think more and more people will realize that an iPhone is simply not the best bang-for-the-buck.

Graxspoo, I’m glad you are satisfied with your “good enough” phone and plan, but I fail to see how your experience is representative of the global market for iPhones.

In short, I think Apple would be wise to put a little more attention to the low end than simply saying ?you can buy the old models at a reduced price.?

Really?  Why?  You yourself just said:

“Here?s why: Android phones are ?good enough? and much cheaper. I don?t need all the latest bells and whistles. I just need a phone that works, that lets me browse the web, get email, watch movies and run a few apps. Android, even the old ?Froyo? version on the phone I?m getting, does that and more. It even has walking directions, street view, and time-tested and reliable navigation.”

So, an iPhone 3GS does all of that too.  You say android phones are much cheaper, but they aren’t.  You can get a 3GS for 99 cents at AT&T.  So why criticize Apple for offering old models at a reduced price (which pretty much outsell just about any other android model by the way)?

I won’t argue the Virgin Mobile comment because I don’t have any experience with them or the pay-as-you-go route.  But I think you can get iPhones for some of those as well.  So I really don’t get your comments in general.

RonMacGuy

I want to get this clear, there will be no ?iPhone 5? ever.

I kinda feel like were not even going to see an iPhone refresh this year?

Wishful thinking, daemon?  As for the model, there is a good chance they will call it the iPhone 5, but then again Apple may go a totally different route on this.  As soon as they come out with the iPhone 5, AT&T will announce that they are giving up on 4G and going straight to 5G LTE2, and then the world will be asking, “does the iPhone 5 support 5G?  Why did they call it the 5 when it isn’t a 5G phone?!?!?  ME AM CONFUSED.”

Maybe they should go the automotive route.  “I’m here to announce the MY 2013 iPhone!!  And, in a few months, we will release the MY2013.5 iPad 7.”

daemon

Wishful thinking, daemon?

... Why would I wish that?

daemon

As soon as they come out with the iPhone 5, AT&T will announce that they are giving up on 4G and going straight to 5G LTE2, and then the world will be asking, ?does the iPhone 5 support 5G?  Why did they call it the 5 when it isn?t a 5G phone?!?!?  ME AM CONFUSED.?

This is such complete and utter dribble…

Look 4G is 1 Gigabit per second downloads. Anything that does not deliver at the bare minimum 1 Gigabit per second downloads is not 4G. 3G was supposed to be atleast 2 Megabit per second downloads, but that definition was killed pretty early on and somehow even EDGE was put into the 3G standard as a 3G interface….

RonMacGuy

Dude, take a chill pill.  I was just joking around.  Wow, have a drink and relax a bit.  You and Brad are so wound up all the time.  Must be all of that Olympic android malware you’ve got to deal with.

grin

daemon

Must be all of that Olympic android malware you?ve got to deal with.

Extra vigilance is just the cost of living in a free and open society…

Except even police states have their problems….

iJack

“This is such complete and utter dribble?”

“Drivel,” daemon.  Drivel.
Dribble is something else altogether.

dswoodley

There is no way in hell Apple is going to call the SIXTH version of its phone the iPhone 5.  Probably drop the descriptor altogether - just “the new iPhone”.

RonMacGuy

Extra vigilance is just the cost of living in a free and open society?

Except even police states have their problems?.

Sorry for the delay, daemon.  I think I knocked myself out with my extreme eye-roll.

Are you seriously trying to compare the two on the topic of malware?  Really?  Huh.

Just keep in mind that 1 in 3 users still prefer the police state to the free and open garbage out there.  1 in 3.

geoduck

I’m hoping that the improved processor, 5” screen, and better camera leak down into the iPodTouch. I love my iPT. Don’t miss having the phone part at all. The only part is that it’s so far behind the iPhone now that it’s getting to be an issue.

My dream would be to have to decide between a 7” iPad and a 5” iPT, both with specs similar at least to the current iPhone 4S.

RonMacGuy

Very good points, geoduck.  In my case, I have daughters wanting iPhones, yet with the new “share everything” plan on Verizon an iPhone costs $40 a month but a tablet only costs $10 a month.  So, why not go 7” 4G iPads for them (or 5” iPT if they get smart and put 4G capability in) and a combination of Skype/messaging service for them and save $30 a month but still get the same level of service?  Heck, maybe I trade in an iPhone and go the same route.  So long as there is texting and VOIP capability, why have the “phone” plan?

mladd

I kinda feel like were not even going to see an iPhone refresh this year?

Based on what?? What information could make you think this at all?

looper

I’ve had bad experiences with roaming in “underserved” parts of the country with prepaid phones—no service from the local carrier, where I would have had roaming service with an on-contract phone—so I’m inclined to stick with contract service despite the extra net cost.  As vpndev pointed out, the monthly service cost doesn’t drop when the contract period ends and the “subsidy” is paid off; that being the case, if you’re comfortable with selling a used phone on (say) eBay rather than sticking it in a drawer, it seems there is little reason not to upgrade as often as your contract allows, and to the top-end model (though maybe not the top capacity).  The cash you’ll get for your old phone will more than cover the up-front cost of the new phone, and from my limited examination of the topic, it looks like the increase in resale value of an iPhone 4S over an iPhone 4 over an iPhone 3GS is more than the $100 difference in their up-front purchase prices (though the additional $100 per storage increment on the 4S doesn’t seem to translate to an equal or greater increase in resale value).

Does anybody have any info as to the resale value of any Android phones that cost you the same amount up-front on contract as one or another iPhone model?  Part of the value equation of Macs vs. PCs is that Macs tend to hold their value better at resale time; is the same true of iPhones vs. Android phones?  Also, to the extent that the desirability of iPhones allows Apple to demand larger subsidies for them than Android-phone makers can for their phones, this will tilt the balance even further since the same monthly contract payment as for an Android phone is buying you a larger subsidy on the iPhone.  (Of course, for the Android phone the same monthly price might also be buying you 4G service instead of 3G; and as noted, all the numbers change if your needs are adequately covered by prepaid service.)

djaramis

“First, there that enduring question about what Apple will call it. Certainly, it?s Apple?s sixth generation iPhone (1, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S). As a placeholder, it?s been called the iPhone 5. That makes sense because there were pretty good rumors that the 4S was going to be the iPhone 5. Something happened there, and we?re not completely sure what.”

That’s what the first paragraph says. Where’s the iPhone 2?

mladd

That?s what the first paragraph says. Where?s the iPhone 2?

I’m not sure where you are going with your question, but I’ll take the bait. There was never an iPhone officially named iPhone 2 by Apple.

geoduck

There was never an iPhone officially named iPhone 2 by Apple.

Which brings up a good point. Apple is not bound by convention. They make a point of flouting convention. The iPad was followed by the iPad2 then by the iPad. The iPhone2 is MIA but they had two iPhone3 and iPhone4 models. They’ve made it clear that OS-X 10.9 may very well be followed by 10.10 and 10.11. Puma, Panther, and Mountain Lion are the same thing and Apple doesn’t care. I would not be surprised if they called the next iPhone the iPhone5, or the iPhone6, or the iPhone4SJ, or even the iPhone-Banana Edition. (OK maybe that last one might surprise me a little bit). They might even drop the denominator altogether and just call it the iPhone. MacBooks and iMacs don’t have one. We call them iMac (2011) or whatever for our convenience but to Apple it’s just an iMac with a SN#.

So I’ll wait for the new iPhone whatever it’s called. (Though a yellow banana edition model would be kinda cool.)

mladd

but they had two iPhone3

Err, no, they didn’t. Not to split hairs, but they had an iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS Neither of them referring to their generation

and <two> iPhone4 models.

They had one. This was the only iteration that actually referenced their generation.

daemon

?Drivel,? daemon.  Drivel.
Dribble is something else altogether.

I was refering to his comments as being the equivalent of drops of urine.

RonMacGuy

I was refering to his comments as being the equivalent of drops of urine.

Nice attempted recovery there.

You’re just upset that I told you to take a chill pill and relax since you’re so wound up all the time.  But if you have a urine drip problem, they have other kinds of pills for that!!

Since I was obvious joking around in my post, I take no offense from your insult.  But I will apologize for not putting a smiley face in to show that I was joking around.

Since you were confused by my joking, I will explain.  I was acting like the general public did back when there were questions regarding iPhone’s model numbers as they related to the different cell phone mobile communications standards like 3G and 4G and what the iPhone supported.  Hope that helps.

If you need me to explain the Conan spoof video about Samsung copying Apple, I can do so as well.  Just let me know.  Take care.  Bye bye.

iJack

I was refering to his comments as being the equivalent of drops of urine.

Uh-huh, I believe ya.

wab95

John:

I like the conservative tack of your list here, although I might have listed the quadcore processor in the ‘iffy’ category, only because Apple have shown a consistent trend of feature upgrades on its iOS line on an ‘as needed’ basis, or as we say in medicine PRN (pro re nata).

As the standard to beat, Apple consistently push their competitors to provide superior specs (which erodes their margins - Second Law principle - no free lunch). The iPhone is not simply a device, but an integral component of a digital management system. Thus far, Android smartphones are ‘devices’ or as the BBC likes to call them, ‘gadgets’. In order to gain on Apple, they have to load up on latest iteration specs. These cost. Make no mistake, they hurt. They make the competition bleed.

This is no accident. Like it or not, we live in a state of smartphone war. Each side has its strategy. Apple’s strategy mirrors that of the US vs USSR in the nuclear arms race - make the competition bleed economically; make them starve their R&D supply lines to underwrite production costs. In short, push them to spend first; then reassess their status and what Apple need to bring from their arsenal of options to retain first-strike capability, which for Apple means, retain industry standard status.

Apple don’t need to put the latest (and most expensive) iteration of its feature set for status retention. They appear to do so only when necessary, to take the fight to the next level. Make the competition do it first. Make him bleed. Then close for the kill. Amongst handset manufacturers, that strategy has served Apple well. The only high-end handset manufacturer left standing in the Android world is Samsung, who are sucking the oxygen from the room amongst their Android OEM brethren to keep pace with Apple. Their problem remains that Apple still define the standard. The gamble for Apple, not unlike the detente gamble of the Cold War, is knowing how much is necessary to push the competition into spending valuable resources without falling so far behind as to lose deterrent capacity.

Here is where I think Apple need to go with the next iteration of the iPhone. Features. Not specs. Which features? Basically your list. These include:

1) Best in class viewing capability. Why? To preserve best in class user experience for both content consumption and light, on-the-fly productivity. This would include both a slightly larger screen buttressed by retina display level resolution.

2) Security. Why? (If you need an answer to that, you shouldn’t be in the market for a smartphone - put the weapon down and leave the range). iOS will continue to mercilessly sandbox its apps, supported by superior system level security built into iOS6. This would include a raft of advance countermeasures against jailbreaking, not to rain on anyone’s ‘freedom’ (afterall, that’s what Android is for - freedom to spy, spam and sideload), but to protect the ecosystem from security breaches. On this score, I would argue that Apple will deploy NFC only if they can insure security and a standardised and universal user experience. I concur with you that Apple are not likely to run ahead of the industry, as that might compromise both features.

3) Speed and power - sufficient enough to run the latest apps, including games, without quashing battery life. Is quadcore essential? Perhaps not, particularly if it?s a battery hog. Short battery life won’t harm an Android OEM, but would hurt Apple and its reputation for excellence.

4) User-centric interface. They need to continue the trend of simplicity (even a child can use an iPhone) while leveraging the investment in feature and function harmonisation across iOS and Mac devices. Bonus points for natural speech interactivity with Siri.

5) Digital data collectivity: camera, microphone. These need to remain superior. They need not be best available if the marginal cost exceeds substantial benefit to the consumer. That is the kill zone to where Apple are trying to push the competition.

No matter what Apple come out with, the competition will retaliate. Not only will they come out with next gen super specs (their principle card thus far), but with the same psychological warfare tactics they’ve used to date; including the use of paid agents provocateurs posing as disgruntled loyal Apple clients on sites like TMO to complain about inferior specs and how the competition (Android, Windows) are so much better, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

To keep expanding marketshare and profits, all Apple need to do is maintain focus on best in class all around user experience in secure digital lifestyle management.

RonMacGuy

Against my better judgement, I have logged back in to TMO to specifically reply to this thread one last time.

daemon said on Aug 6, 2012:  “I want to get this clear, there will be no “iPhone 5” ever.  I kinda feel like were not even going to see an iPhone refresh this year…”

LMAO.  Reminds me of Bill Clinton.  “I want to say one thing to the American people.  I want you to listen to me.  I’m going to say this again:  I did not have $exual relations with that woman…”

OK daemon, I want to get this clear.  You were WRONG once again.  Your comments were ‘such complete and utter drivel…’

LMAO.

OK, my work on TMO is complete.  I bid you farewell daemon.  At least for now…

Hey, you should feel honored that I cared enough to keep this thread link until after the iPhone 5 release…

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