In this week's PhoneDog Live, we discussed two topics - the iPhone 5 and all of the recent rumors we've heard about delays and new patents, and the recently announced HTC Sensation. As Apple's WWDC, the conference where we usually see the new iPhone, draws closer I get asked more and more about the iPhone 5 and what features it will have. It's all speculation for now, but we do have a few leads. We also have a few news sources saying that it could be delayed until the Fall. Is this true or are people just jumping to conclusions?
We discussed a few reasons why the next iPhone could be delayed. The most reasonable explanation we've heard is that Apple wants to implement LTE in the new model and they may want to wait until Verizon's 4G LTE network has more coverage. This also makes sense because Apple said that they chose not to go with 4G on the Verizon iPhone because they would've had to make "design compromises" that they didn't want to deal with. Well, we've heard plenty of rumors that the next iPhone could have a new design, a decision that could have been made because Apple wanted to make it LTE-compatible. The only problem with this idea is that there's no solid evidence to support it. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead says that he's "very confident" that Apple will use LTE eventually and China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou also says that Steve Jobs has "expressed his interest" in building an LTE-capable iPhone. However, Telecom Pragmatics analyst Samuel Greenholtz says that his sources deny that the iPhone 5 will use LTE.
Another reason for the delay could be that the iPhone 5 could have an 8-megapixel camera, a jump from the current iPhone's 5-megapixel shooter. This new camera is supposedly being made by Sony who is experiencing shipping delays due to the earthquake in Japan. Delayed cameras means delayed iPhone.
That's all speculation. Apple has said that this year's WWDC will focus on "the future of iOS and Mac OS", leading some to believe that we won't see any new hardware. Apple has been pretty loyal to their yearly update cycle so I would be surprised if they deterred from it this year.
So, what about this "smart bezel" patent we've been hearing about? Patently Apple, a website who makes it their job to dig through numerous patent applications to find out what Apple has up their sleeve, has uncovered a recent patent for what's being called a "smart bezel". Contradicting rumors that we've heard earlier about Apple reducing the size of the bezel, this patent suggests that Apple will instead keep the same bezel size and use it as a secondary display "to introduce a new set of illuminated indicators that would be able to morph into various controls for work and play." There are a few obvious and practical uses for this. Apple could use this technology to create an illuminated home button that appears as your hand hovers over it (similar to that "capacitive touch home button" rumor we've heard before). This smart bezel could also be used as gaming pad controls or for iBook reading features when using the iBooks app. The possibilities are endless.
Again, will this actually happen? Companies apply for patents all the time. Some of them work out, some of them don't. We'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, we have plenty of other cool devices to drool over. Most of our viewers were pretty excited about the new HTC Sensation, formerly known as the Pyramid. This will be one of the first phones outside of the Nexus S to ship with Android 2.3 and the new version of Sense, version 3.0. On top of that, or I guess below it since that's what you see on the display, the Sensation packs a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera that captures full 1080p HD video along with a front-facing camera, a beautiful 4.3-inch Super LCD display, and 4G connectivity using T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. To me, the best thing about this device is the fact that it ships with a version of Android that will actually allow it to make full use of that dual-core processor. The general consensus is that this phone is off the chiz-ain and that we'll all be dreaming about it until it comes out. (And I mean real dreams, not the "oh I think about that phone during the day 'cause it's really awesome" dreaming. I mean "wow, I actually had a dream about the HTC Sensation last night" dreaming.)
If you'd like to watch the next episode of PhoneDog Live, we'll be broadcasting every Friday at 5 p.m. from our Ustream channel. You can watch it directly from Ustream or from our Facebook page. The recording of this week's broadcast somehow got lost so you can't watch it. Next week's show will be available after the broadcast.