Potential iPhone 5 case design

Leaked images of the case for the next generation iPhone have recently been published by 9to5Mac, which seem to suggest that the new device will have a completely different design to that of the iPhone 4 and 4S.

From this image we can tell that there could be a number of changes. Most importantly, the screen appears much larger, and now appears to be sporting a 16:9 widescreen display. Many people have questioned if the screen size could ever be increased without affecting the layout of on screen elements. However, apps are already expected to be slightly flexible vertically (most applications have scroll bars) and so increasing the resolution in one direction only could be a very viable solution. The screen resolution is reported to be 1136 x 640, up from 960 x 640 on the current generation.

Interestingly, the case seems to have no room for a traditional 30-pin dock connector, which has been standard on all of Apple’s products in recent living memory. Instead, there seems to be a much smaller hole for a potential smaller connector. This could leave more room for higher quality, stereo speakers. External audio is something which has always been a disappointment on the iPhone so this would be most welcome. However, changing the dock connector would mean any device or cable which currently uses this type would become obsolete, unless Apple produced a form of adaptor.

It appears that the headphone socket may be moving from the top to the bottom of the device, taking some of the room saved by having a smaller connector.

Finally, it seems that all the speculation about a phone with no SIM card will come to nothing for now. The images above clearly show a SIM card tray with space for a slot.

It’s been speculated that the iPhone will simply be known as ‘the new iPhone’, just like the ‘new iPad’ which was released earlier this year. If it does indeed have a larger screen and an all new design which these images suggest, offering something to both iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4/4S users, then I expect it to be hugely successful.

iPad 3 to get Retina display?

When iPad 2 was launched, many were surprised that the tablet didn’t sport the new high display resolution which had debuted on the iPhone 4 in summer the previous year. In what therefore seems like a logical step for the next revision of Apple’s tablet, CNET reports that Retina-class QXGA (2048×1536) panel production has now started. This builds on a discovery of two types of icons in the SDK more than a year ago.

I expect to see the new display being launched as a key marketing message with the next generation device in January. Although the iPad is among the best for reading colour newspapers, it can be uncomfortable to read long passages of text when compared with super sharp ‘electronic ink’ devices such as the Amazon Kindle. Improving the display would establish the iPad as the premium eReader for all types of content, and provide publishers with a motivation to increase the availability of content on the Apple Store, particularly in the Newsstand section, which still has disappointingly few titles.

Vodafone mentions iPhone 5

On Vodafone’s web page describing phones compatible with the company’s Sure Signal device, which creates a mini 3G hotspot using a home broadband connection, four separate listings for an iPhone 5 appeared, suggesting the device will be available in both black and white, 16GB and 32GB versions.

What’s interesting is this list also contains the iPhone 4 and 3GS, and the iPhone 5 is listed four separate times, so it can’t simply be a typographical error. However one element is surprising – where’s the 64GB version? It’s hard to believe Apple wouldn’t increase the capacity of the iPhone, especially when 64GB iPod Touches already exist.

iPhone 5 ‘to launch on 5th September’?

When June came and went without a new iPhone this year, most people immediately assumed that Apple would use its traditional September digital media conference to launch the new device instead.

Now we’re starting to put the best of summer behind us, we should hopefully see rumours of expected release dates. An Italian website speculates that the iPhone will be released on the 5th of October in Italy, and a month earlier in the United States. At the same time, Boy Genius Report states that Apple is recruiting additional staff for ‘new product launches’ and that AT&T is informing staff to complete any employee training as soon as possible.

I’m fully expecting a new phone this autumn. Whether it’ll be a complete redesign, or simply a smaller tweak to the iPhone 4, when we consider that a third of all Americans will buy an iPhone 5 it doesn’t seem likely that Apple would fail to meet demand for a new device in 2011.

White iPhone ‘4S’

M.I.C. Gadget has posted this image which appears to show a modified iPhone 4 with a larger display. This could be one of the next generation iPhone protoypes which are rumoured to have been sent to select developers in order for them to take full advantage of the new dual-core A5 chip.

The device we see here may bear no resemblance to the external design of the next-generation iPhone – it may simply be a ‘beefed-up’ version of the iPhone 4. However, many suggest that the next device will be exactly that, just as the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G.

Of course, the white iPhone 4 hasn’t even been launched officially yet. Current rumours, including search results on Three’s website, suggest the white iPhone will be launched imminently, giving credibility to a September launch for the next-generation model.

Capacitive home button?

CrunchGear has published photos which appear to show an iPod Touch with a capacitive home button and 128 Gb of internal storage.

Although this potential development doesn’t come as a surprise, the image on the left looks as though it’s been subjected to some Photoshop treatment. There seems to be a ring around the button where someone may have selected a colour in the image, erased the line, and not properly taken into account the difference in tone between the left and the right side. Perhaps though, this area is just more greasy because it’s the most used, so it could be genuine after all. I’ve no doubt that the extra storage is real – it makes sense that we can expect to see 128 Gb iPods this autumn.

Although a capacitive home button might sound good, in practice it would not be a particularly good idea. It would be far too easy to activate accidentally as you’d have to hold your iPhone/iPod at the sides while using it and so and it would probably become extremely irritating over time. Let’s hope this never makes it into the design of the next generation products.

Possible iPhone 5 front panel?

Following rumours that the iPhone 5 will have a larger screen earlier this month, a Chinese reseller has posted a picture of a part which appears to show the front of the new phone will have a thinner bezel around the outside to accommodate a 4 inch display, while at the same time keeping the same overall size as the current generation phone. Interestingly, it appears the ‘home’ button will be kept for this new model, so speculation that the new multitouch gestures which appeared in iOS 4.3 beta 1 will replace the need for a physical button will be curtailed, for now.

How Apple will manage the screen resolution issue, in order to maintain compatibility with older apps, still remains to be seen. Will they simply keep the screen resolution the same? Unlikely, as this would lose the ‘Retina’ effect with the current 300+ dpi screen. They certainly can’t double it, so the only other option will be perhaps a 1.2x increase. This could lead to some unfortunate scaling artifacts, though perhaps with the high pixel density it would be possible. We may find an answer in next week’s iPad 2 announcement, where that device faces a similar issue.

What to expect from iPad 2

Now that we’ve finally heard the news that Apple is launching iPad 2 on the 2nd of March, what should we start to expect from the new device?

There’s been plenty of speculation about the screen on the new device. If it follows in the steps of the iPhone 4, it will have a Retina display and the resolution will be quadrupled. Any other resolution would lead to huge compatibility headaches. Can Apple pull this off on such a small device without depleting the battery life? If it can, the iPad 2 will be almost impossible to beat in terms of screen quality.

A front facing camera, and hence FaceTime support is almost certain, along with better specifications all round. Expect the iPad to feature more RAM, more flash memory storage, and a dual core CPU.

Will the new iPad be any lighter? It’s hard to see how it could be, with all the extra tech on board. But then it’s hard to see how Apple could be happy to release something that’s heavier, especially when considering the mobile use of the device.

Thank goodness we only have to wait one more week to find out!

iOS 4.3 and iPad 2 to arrive simultaneously?

This blog has been very quiet lately with news of iOS 4.3 and iPad 2. The proposed release date of 14th February has been and gone, and we’ve all been left with very little to go on.

At the moment this can only lead to one conclusion: if iPad 2 is arriving soon, then a new device will be needing new software, so perhaps iOS 4.3 will be the base install on these tablets.

Perhaps then Apple is gearing up for some big announcements soon.

Maybe that thought alone is enough to keep us happy as we wait a little longer.