Apple’s New iPhone: What To Expect and What To Hold Loosely (AAPL)

Posted by · July 17, 2012 12:52 pm

English: An iPhone 4S on its setup screen.With the debut of Apple’s next-generation iPhone expected to be here in just a few more months, speculation about what the iPhone 5—or whatever they decide to call it—will hold is increasing exponentially. Of course, this makes perfect sense not only considering the anticipation characteristic of any Apple release countdown, but also in light of the fact that Chinese consumers were able to begin pre-ordering the new iPhone last week.

In order to provide readers with the clearest picture of the upcoming iPhone available to date, here’s what we know so far.

Screen Size Bigger, Yet Also Thinner

Just today, a new report from The Wall Street Journal says that in addition to a larger screen, Apple’s next-generation smartphone will also have a thinner screen. After speaking with their “people familiar with the matter”—likely sources at the Asian component manufacturer where the iPhone is being made—the WSJ had the following to report about the new liquid-crystal displays:

The technology integrates touch sensors into the LCD, making it unnecessary to have a separate touch-screen layer. The absence of the layer, usually about half-a-millimeter thick, not only makes the whole screen thinner, but improves the quality of displayed images, said DisplaySearch analyst Hiroshi Hayase.

Although manufacturers are reportedly having considerable difficulty maintaining high output as they work with this newer technology, a thinner yet larger iPhone means two things. For consumers, it means not having to deal with a bulkier, heavier phone to enjoy the benefits of a larger screen.

For competitors, the news is less exciting. “At the same time, the adoption of in-cell technology is bad news for makers of conventional touch panels used in many smartphone screens now,” the Journal notes.

For more details on the new iPhone’s screen, the following video interview with WSJ Asia Technology Editor Juro Osawa was also included:

One thing we haven’t heard definitively, though, is whether the earlier reports that the next iPhone would sport Apple’s high-def Retina Display are in fact true.

iOS 6 Features: Enhanced Siri, No More Google Maps, FaceTime Anywhere…

While we knew that Apple would be replacing Google Maps with its own native maps app in iOS 6, there is little else we’ve really known about Apple’s new mobile OS until now. While the degree of alleged Facebook integration with the new iPhone is still relatively uncertain—other than a “tap to post” feature for status updates—it’s been reported that an enhanced Siri will be part of the new iOS experience.

As discussed during WWDC 2012, iOS 6 will also come with a new app called Passbook, which Apple argues is “the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.” A “Do Not Disturb” feature is also a highlight of the new operating system, allowing users to suppress annoying message alerts when they’re sleeping.

While such details may seem rather generous with the iPhone’s release still a ways off, Apple is saying that iOS 6 will come with some 200 new features—making what we do know a mere fraction of what’s coming. And that just so happens to bring us to the next point.

Coming This…Fall?

Although Apple is yet to put a firm date on the release of the next iPhone, the announced fall release of iOS 6—not to mention last year’s October release of the iPhone 4S—gives us an idea of when to expect it. Of course, there are rumors galore of specific dates. One particular blog, whose source (of course, of course) “wishes to remain anonymous,” pegs the iPhone 5’s release date on August 7, which would run counter to other indicators.

Although it’s anyone’s guess at this point, I wouldn’t hold my breath. After all, how much sense does it make to release a phone in August if the mobile OS it uses isn’t set to come out until the fall?

iPhone 5, iPhone 4GS, the new iPhone…?

The other thing I wouldn’t expect is for the next iPhone to actually be called the iPhone 5. Now that the iPad, which is a younger device than the iPhone, is just “the iPad,” don’t be surprised if Apple does the same thing with the iPhone. Now that it’s a proven piece of hardware that will forever remain part of the Apple product arsenal, it only seems like the appropriate time to cut the number game and start calling it the iPhone.

For more news and rumors on Apple’s new iPhone…