With WWDC 2012 come and gone without an iPhone 5 announcement, we can now turn our attention to a fall release date for Apple’s next iPhone. That also means that there is even more time for iPhone 5 rumors to leak out ahead of the device’s launch. More than a few have leaked to the surface already.
And while we’re fairly certain that it will be launching in either September or October, the device itself remains as mysterious as ever. Almost every day a new leak or rumor springs to the surface.
The iPhone 5 is rumored to include a number of changes including a larger display and quite possibly, a different design from Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. There is talk that Apple is going to be bringing back a metal design, rumors furthered by Apple’s renewed partnership with Liquidmetal.
Today though, we want to take a look at some of the features that we think customers should expect of the iPhone 5 when it arrives later on this year. These are features that seem fairly certain to happen, unlike a lot of the iPhone 5 rumors that have swirled about for the last few months.
The iPhone 5 will almost assuredly feature a 4G LTE radio on board when it arrives this fall.
In March, Apple finally launched its first 4G LTE enabled device in the third-generation new iPad. The new iPad, which is available on the 4G LTE networks of AT&T and Verizon, can pull down data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than normal 3G data speeds.
The new iPads 4G LTE data speeds can be seen in the video below:
And now that Apple has its first 4G LTE device on the market, it’s likely not going to stop there.
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, the three major carriers of the iPhone 4S, all have 4G LTE networks in place. Verizon has over 300 4G LTE markets, AT&T is slowly but surely rolling out its network and Sprint will have its network in place by the middle of 2012. By October, all three will be large enough to play host to the iPhone 5 and the millions that will buy it.
All three carriers now mostly sell 4G LTE devices and it would be odd to see Apple launch a new iPhone with only 3G or HSPA+ “4G”, especially after Verizon said it would not be launching anything but 4G LTE devices in 2012.
One major draw that Android and Windows Phone smartphones have over the iPhone at the moment are their 4G LTE capabilities. It would be absurd to think that Apple doesn’t want to take that advantage away.
It will likely be doing so with the iPhone 5.
At WWDC 2012, Apple showed off its next mobile operating system, iOS 6. iOS 6 will be coming this fall which means it’s almost assuredly going to be the operating system found on the next iPhone, much in the same way iOS 5 arrived stock on the iPhone 4s.
The iPhone 5, like the iPhone 4S, will likely be able to take advantage of all that iOS 6 has to offer. That means the new Maps application that offers turn by turn navigation and 3D maps. That means all the new Siri features. That means FaceTime over cellular. And that means shared Photo Streams.
That might not be all though.
Last year, Apple announced iOS 5 at WWDC 2011 without announcing Siri, the device’s virtual personal assistant. It wasn’t until October that Apple debuted Siri along with the iPhone 4S.
It’s possible that Apple might do something similar with the iPhone 5 to make it more marketable and to entice customers to make the upgrade for a feature unique to the iPhone 5.
We can’t say for sure what it is just yet, if it exists at all, but don’t be surprised if it has something to do with NFC (Near-Field Communication).
HTC has talked about how it wants its future devices to be extremely thin. And just about every phone that is popular with consumers does not feature a bulky design. Clearly, smartphone manufacturers and consumers are in agreement. Thin smartphones are in.
We fully expect Apple’s iPhone 5 to fit that mold. At the moment, we can’t say just how thin the iPhone 5 might be, but we have heard whispers of around 7mm. The iPhone 4S is just a hair over 9mm thin.
Even with 4G LTE and the need for a larger battery, we don’t expect Apple to go any thicker than 9mm. Backing that up are rumors we have heard about Apple changing the iPhone’s dock connector in order to save space. This is a move that would free up internal space within the iPhone 5, allowing Apple to put in a thinner camera sensor and larger battery without sacrificing the device’s thinness.
Whatever the case may be, we expect the iPhone 5 to be slim and likely, the thinnest iPhone yet.
Apple’s Retina Display is arguably the best smartphone display on the market. The LCD display found on the HTC One X gives it a run for its money but no one will argue that it’s up there at the top.
The company is rumored to be increasing the size of the iPhone 5’s screen to 4-inches, a departure from the usual 3.5-inches. That may be the case, it may not be. However, one thing is for sure.
Whatever display that Apple has on the iPhone 5 will be high-resolution . There is no way that Apple will sacrifice quality for size. After all, Apple has sold more than a couple of iPhones sporting 3.5-inch displays.
Great Battery Life
One of the reasons that Apple has been so late to the 4G LTE party is because of the poor battery life found on older 4G LTE devices. Apple prides itself on offering best-in-class battery life on its devices, just look at the iPad, and the iPhone 5 even with 4G LTE connectivity, will be no different.
Apple has watched as the competition has released phones with terrible battery life. In most cases, it hasn’t been the fault of manufacturers. 4G LTE, in general, puts a lot of strain on the battery. However, as Apple proved with the 4G LTE iPad, 4G LTE devices can have both the speeds and a great battery.
We expect, with all of the time that Apple has had to test 4G LTE on the iPhone, that the iPhone 5 will probably offer some of the best battery life found on a 4G LTE smartphone.
While some expected Apple to announce a quad-core iPad, Apple instead introduced its A5X dual-core chip alongside the new iPad, a chip that offers quad-core graphics. Apple has tested quad-core processors in its devices and we very well may see a quad-core A6 chip introduced with the iPhone 5.
However, Apple debuted its A5 dual-core processor with the iPad 2 and it later became the chip that powered the iPhone 4S. The company may end up doing something similar with the iPhone 5.
Apple has continually upgraded its smartphone with a faster, more powerful processor and we don’t expect anything different from the iPhone 5. A dual-core processor will get the job done and if the A5X is the on board chip, quad-core graphics should bring a smoother, better-looking gaming experience to the iPhone.
The features above represent features that we strongly believe will arrive with the new iPhone. However, there are some other heavily rumored features that we feel less confident about but may end up arriving with the next iPhone.
The iPhone 5 is heavily rumored to feature a larger, 4-inch display which may end up making the iPhone taller. This has been rumored many, many times over the last few months and with the demand for larger screen smartphones at an all-time high, the iPhone 5 might just be the first iPhone that doesn’t feature a 3.5-inch screen.
The iPhone 4S arguably has the best rear camera found on a smartphone. And with smartphones quickly replacing point-and-shoots, Apple clearly knows how important it is to keep the iPhone’s camera in that discussion. We’ve heard that Apple might be including a slimmer camera sensor in the iPhone , but as of yet, we haven’t heard about any remarkable improvements.
While the iPhone 5 may not feature a rear camera overhaul, Apple would be wise to upgrade the camera so it can take on the competition well into 2013, much in the same way that the iPhone 4S’ camera has stood up to the challenge.
More likely though, Apple will include an improved HD FaceTime camera for use with FaceTime over 3G networks. The front-facing camera on the iPhone 4S isn’t very good and it’s due for an improvement.
As we mentioned, Apple just inked an exclusivity deal with Liquidmetal which could mean that its technology could be a part of the iPhone 5’s design. If so, it would mean that the device would feature a strong, lightweight metal design, a departure from the glass that Apple used with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.
It’s also possible that Apple might use another type of metal for the iPhone 5’s backing, if it indeed decides to release a new design.
What features would you like to see come with the iPhone 5 this fall?