The iPhone 5 won’t be coming out this summer. Instead, its release date will likely fall into the summer months much like the iPhone 4S did last year. That means that over the next several months, we’ll hear all sorts of rumors sprout to the surface regarding the features coming with the next iPhone.
Right now, the only thing that we can safely say the iPhone 5 will have is iOS 6 on board. Apple would never launch a new iPhone with last-generation software and especially not after it released the iOS 6 beta to developers after the software was announced at WWDC 2012.
However, the rest of the phone remains shrouded in mystery, just like all Apple hardware is before it launches to the general populous.
We’ve already discussed what we expect the iPhone 5 to have on board feature-wise when it arrives later this year but now we want to take a look at the things that it needs when it launches in the fall.
The iPhone 5 will sell well, but if Apple really wants to delight consumers, the device will feature these five things at the very least.
The first feature that the iPhone 5 absolutely needs to have on board is 4G LTE. For those unfamiliar with 4G LTE, its the next generation cellular network that carriers are currently rolling out to customers in the United States.
4G LTE offers data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than those found on 3G.
Android devices have, since March of 2011, had access to 4G LTE speeds. In October, Apple released the iPhone 4S but the device is limited to the 3G networks on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. AT&T’s model does get ‘4G’ service but that ‘4G’ indicator stands for HSDPA which is only slightly better than 4G LTE.
4G LTE is the true ‘4G’ and it’s something that iPhone users have desperately been craving. Fortunately, the iPhone 5 will likely feature LTE data speeds. How do we know this?
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, the three big carriers of the iPhone here in the United States, all have 4G LTE networks in place. Throw in the fact that the new iPad, which Apple released earlier this year boasts 4G LTE and it’s clear that the iPhone 5 is likely going to come with LTE.
Amazing Battery Life
One of the knocks on 4G LTE devices is the poor battery life that often comes with them. Improvements have been made since the HTC ThunderBolt, the first 4G LTE smartphone, launched in March of last year but there is still a lot to be desired in the battery life department.
Should Apple decide to include 4G LTE on board, it will need to offer amazing battery life to customers. My cries about the terrible battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus may have fallen on deaf ears but terrible battery life on an iPhone would not go so quietly.
iPhone users have been accustomed to best-in-class battery life over the years and Apple needs to keep up this standard to not only keep sales on the up-and-up but to keep customers happy as well.
Luckily, we believe that this was one of the reasons why Apple initially held off on releasing a 4G LTE iPhone. It wanted to ensure that its smartphone had amazing battery life, even with 4G LTE.
There is still quite the debate out there about whether or not the iPhone 5 will feature a larger screen. Right now, smart money is on the iPhone 5 boasting a 4-inch display, should Apple decide to bump the device’s screen size up from the usual 3.5-inches.
With the way that the mobile industry is right now, this is something that Apple needs to do.
It’s clear that larger screen phones are something that consumers want. The best selling Android devices are the devices that feature larger screens. By offering an iPhone 5 with a larger screen, Apple essentially kills two birds with one stone. One, it pleases customers who want an iPhone with a bigger screen (there are a lot of them) and it also takes away that advantage from its competitors.
Have you ever watched a movie or a video on the iPhone’s tiny display? It’s not a pleasant experience. Bumping up the screen size just a little would allow for better viewing and better gaming, two things that are important to smartphone users these days. This would work out especially well with a 4G LTE iPhone which will allow users to stream content faster than ever while on-the-go.
A larger screen would also allow for things like a larger keyboard and more information on the screen.
And if Apple can accomplish this without making the phone wider or thicker like many believe, Apple will be able to change the screen size without drastically changing up the device that millions have become comfortable with over the past give years.
Both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have been great successes with their mix of thinness, metal and glass. However, Apple needs to change it up much like it did when it introduced the iPhone 4’s design after sticking with similar designs for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.
That new design was a huge reason why these phones were both huge successes. However, there are many that want something different from the iPhone 5. Whether it’s because they feel like the current design is stale or because they don’t like the glass backing on the iPhone, many past, present and future iPhone users want to see Apple do something different.
Maybe it’s that tear drop design we saw back before the iPhone 4S launched, maybe it’s something completely different. But Apple has a chance to raise the bar of smartphone design again with the iPhone 5 and it needs to with the competition as fierce as it is.
Better Front-Facing Camera
Believe it or not, the iPhone 5 needs a better front-facing camera.
One, the front-facing camera on the current iPhone is terrible. It doesn’t perform well in places were lighting isn’t perfect. Read: just about everywhere. That has deterred users from using services like FaceTime, Skype and more with their iPhone.
With iOS 6, Apple is going to be introducing FaceTime over 3G and presumably, 4G LTE as well. In order for that feature to matter, Apple will need to outfit its next iPhone with an above average front-facing camera.
I know I’d use video chat services if it did and I’m sure others would be more inclined to as well.
What do you think the iPhone 5 need?