The Motorola Droid Bionic for Verizon finally launched back at the end of September and since then, we’ve seen a swath of rumors surface regarding the next big anticipated smartphone release. That release of course is Apple’s iPhone 5, possibly paired with another cheaper iPhone, and right now we sit just mere days out from the day that we think the Cupertino-based company will announce it.
Since our last rumor roundup, a lot has changed. We have some new seemingly credible information about the iPhone 5 release date, hardware and which mobile carriers it will be headed to when its announced in October.
Keep in mind, all of this remains rumor. There has been nothing official out of Apple’s camp thus far. Not even an invite to an event that is supposedly taking place next week at the company’s headquarters in the Bay Area.
That being said, let’s dive into a little bit of the pre-launch history of the iPhone 5 and then take a look at the latest information that we have.
At the beginning of this year, it’s safe to assume that most of us thought that Apple would announce the next iPhone, as it normally does, at WWDC 2011 in San Francisco.
As you we now know, Apple did not announce any hardware in June, something that caught quite a few people off guard. Since then, there have been quite a lot of predictions about when Apple would announce the iPhone 5 with most agreeing that either September or October would be the months during which an announcement would take place.
Right now, we think – nothing is official yet – that we know the official date of the iPhone 5 announcement and the lucky date is October 4th. That date comes from a report by AllThingsD, a credible source for things of this nature, so it’s safe to assume that October 4th will likely be the day that Apple introduces its latest iPhone.
The event itself is going to be vastly different than previous iPhone announcements. It’s widely expected that it will be Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, and not Steve Jobs that takes the stage to make the announcement and its also rumored that the next iPhone will be introduced at Apple’s headquarters down the road from San Francisco instead of in San Francisco itself.
Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t sent out press invites to this event as of yet so we’re still in the dark on whether or not the 4th is going to be the day, but seeing as though we’re mere days away, we should see something official soon.
Update: It’s official. Apple will be talking iPhone at an event on October 4th.
Prior to the iPhone 4’s launch on Verizon in February, the iPhone had only been available to AT&T customers. However, it appears that it won’t only be AT&T and Verizon that see the iPhone 5. Both Sprint and T-Mobile had been rumored to be getting the next version of the iPhone but it appears that only one of them will be getting an iPhone in the near future.
Sprint: Sprint has been rumored to be getting the iPhone 5 since May. However, since August, when the Wall Street Journal reported Sprint would be getting the iPhone 5, the rumor mill has been working at a thunderous pace.
Sprint executives, including the carrier’s CEO Dan Hesse, have been dancing around the iPhone question but haven’t been denying anything. In fact, they have been laying out all sorts of iPhone theories to investors, just in case the carrier happens to get the iconic device somewhere down the road.
And all road signs point to an iPhone release this year.
Sprint has been shuffling its policies around, a move that seems to signify that something is in the works. First, it was the Sprint Premier program that got canned because the carrier wanted to focus on keeping unlimited data and to ensure that it would could get the latest high-tech devices. Translation: offering the iPhone on unlimited data plans is not going to be easy.
Second, the carrier raised its ETF (early termination fees) rates and tightened up its return policy.
And then, just a few days ago, Sprint confirmed that it would be putting a cap on mobile hotspot data. Instead of offering unlimited data to those tethering, it will limit data use to 5GB. This policy will go into effect on October 2nd, another sign that Sprint will in fact be getting the next iPhone.
It’s currently unclear whether or not the carrier will offer unlimited data with the next iPhone, but these policy moves seem to point to it being a possibility. If Sprint does in fact, offer it with unlimited data, it’s unknown how long that offer will be available.
Also unknown is whether Sprint will be offering the iPhone 5 or if it will instead be offering the iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 Plus which is said to be an improved iPhone 4, without the expensive price tag.
We should know for sure in just a few short days.
T-Mobile: We had thought that T-Mobile might be stepping up and getting the next iPhone this year, that is until a document came to light that pegged T-Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman as saying that his company would not be getting the iPhone 5 this year. Brodman also made similar statements today during an interview.
There was no elaboration as to why or if the carrier would get it at some point beyond 2011.
This isn’t shocking as T-Mobile has essentially been absent from all of the iPhone 5 rumors aside from a few nearly inaudible whispers. So, this is looking very much like a three horse race but we wouldn’t count out T-Mobile out of said race forever.
If the deal with AT&T falls through, there is always a possibility that the iPhone 5 or something else could arrive on its network. After all, we know that the company has been testing it out.
Let’s just get this out of the way. We’re still unsure about the iPhone 5’s hardware. There are a lot of rumors out there about what the device is going to have and what it won’t have. We’ve been hearing about possible features since January and even now, in September, there are only bits and pieces of information that we are inclined to believe.
- We’re pretty sure that it’s going to feature Apple’s A5 dual-core processor. This has been a pretty consistent rumor throughout and it’s one that we’re inclined to believe.
- It’s likely going to have an upgraded camera, probably making the jump up to 8MP. We saw a test photo pop up a short time ago and we’re fairly certain that it was the confirmation that we had been looking for. So, those of you that were hoping for an even better camera than the one on the iPhone 4 will likely be thrilled by the sensor on the next iPhone.
- Apple will also likely make up for the issues it had with releasing the white version of the iPhone 4 by offering both white and black versions of the iPhone 5 at launch. This is just speculation on our part but we don’t think it’s too far-fetched. Remember, Apple is all about pleasing its fans and that policy will not change just because Steve Jobs is no longer the CEO.
- A new antenna. We’re fairly certain that Apple won’t release a design with the same antenna as the iPhone 4’s, not after the whole Antennagate debacle.
- A thinner design. We’ve seen a ton of cases pop up but none more interesting than CaseMate’s leak which revealed an iPhone with a thinner design. Thinner and lighter have been rumored before and Apple knows that its customers want gorgeous, thin, iPhone. Look for it to deliver in October.
- World phone. Expect the next iPhone to be a phone that is able to travel the globe.
Now, let’s take a look at the stuff that we’re moderately sure of.
- More RAM. The latest has Apple installing a 1GB of RAM in the new iPhone which will be essential for a rumored Assistant voice-control system that will be apparently be exclusive to the iPhone 5. This feature is apparently so powerful, that it won’t be able to run on iPhones like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS which hold a lesser amount of RAM.
- Larger display. Earlier this month, some cases leaked out that seem to point to the iPhone 5 as having a larger screen than the iPhone 4. Apple may have decided to make the jump from 3.5-inches to 4-inches but at this point, this isn’t exactly a safe bet. Same goes for those edge-to-edge display rumors.
Finally, features we don’t see the iPhone 5 having.
- 4G LTE. You can find some pretty good reasons right here. To sum it up, AT&T’s network isn’t ready yet and Verizon’s probably isn’t ready yet either. Apple will wait until LTE covers the entire United States before it releases an LTE-compatible iPhone.
The iPhone 5 isn’t the only iPhone that is rumored to be getting announced in October either. Many believe that the company will also announce an iPhone 4 Plus or iPhone 4S, a cheap beefed up version of the iPhone 4. The device is rumored to have some improvements from the iPhone 4 but will be moderately priced in order to try and eat into some of the cheap Android phones on the market.
Once again, all of this is conjecture. In true Apple fashion, the iPhone 4 was an anomaly, we won’t know anything for sure until Tim Cook takes the stage and clues us all in to the facts.
Nothing new on this front. We still think that Apple will offer up its 16GB model for $199 and its 32GB model for $299. Carriers will likely do the same, although, it’s possible that Sprint might do something different since it might offer unlimited data with the iPhone 5.
If that sounds too expensive, and you currently own an iPhone 4 or something else, you’ll want to check out this guide as it might help you lower the cost of getting Apple’s latest and greatest hardware.
Release date, release date, release date. By now, you’ve probably heard a ton about the possible release date of the iPhone 5. After Apple failed to launch it at WWDC, September and October became the front runners and now, it appears that October has trumped September. With rumors of an October 4th announcement date came immediate rumors of a launch at some point in mid-October.
We have heard that Sprint will probably be getting an iPhone by October 15th and we’ve also seen some AT&T upgrades get pushed to October 13th. There are also reports about a couple of other October dates but the moral of the story is this.
The iPhone 5 and possibly the iPhone 4S will be out shortly after Apple makes an announcement which means that we’re only a few weeks away from the launch of the phone that many of you have been waiting over a year for.
The iPhone 5 will be paired with Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 5. Of this, we have no doubt. But there is a possibility that the iPhone 5 might have an exclusive advanced Assistant voice control that will be above and beyond the normal voice control found in previous versions of the iPhone.
Apple is rumored to have doubled the amount of RAM inside the iPhone 5 for this feature, a feature that is supposedly going to be the crowning achievement from Apple’s acquisition of Siri. It will supposedly allow users to input voice commands like ‘How do I get to Golden Gate Park?’ or “Make an Appointment with Josh Smith” and the phone will take use GPS to give you directions for the former and make a note on your calendar for the latter.
You will also apparently be able to send texts with your voice. Speak and if the text is correct, say yes. If it’s not, say no, and you can do it again. There is also apparently something called a conversation view that will essentially be a conversation between you and the phone that will help it to remember things like previous SMS threads – it will show you them in a small conversation bubble, all in an effort to provide you with the best results.
There is also supposedly a opt-in Find My Friend feature which will allow you to find your friends if you ask the personal assistant to do so and there is also Wolfram Alpha support that will allow users to ask a litany of questions and get accurate answers. Example: math problems like conversions. There will likely also be Nuance speech-to-text support to round it all off.
If these rumors are true, this feature might actually be the biggest attraction of this year’s iPhone.