Apple has announced a press conference on the 4th of October entitled ‘Let’s talk iPhone’.
At the conference, we’ll almost certainly see a new iPhone being announced, finally putting an end to the recent rumours. It’ll be interesting to see whether the phone is an all new design, which many are expecting given the extended development time, or a simple boost in the iPhone 4’s specifications. At the very least, I’m expecting the Apple A5 processor to appear on the device and also for it to sport a better camera. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a new antenna design and a 64GB memory offering too.
The countdown begins…
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.
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.
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.
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.
DigiTimes is suggesting iPhone 5 will gain an extra 0.5 inches to to the screen, giving it a 4 inch screen which is popular with many Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S. The home button may disappear from the bottom of the device to be replaced with new gestures as Apple was keen to demonstrate in the beta of iOS 4.3 for the iPad. How this might affect the resolution of the screen, and in particular the compatibility with current apps will remain a question to be answered.