What I hope to see in the iPhone 5

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: October 3, 2011

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Apple hasn't released a new iPhone in almost a year and a half. They missed their typical schedule of a new phone every summer and we're now entering October without any real clue as to what the next iPhone holds or when exactly it will launch. Luckily, for those of you who are growing impatient, we will know more as soon as tomorrow. Apple's new CEO, Tim Cook, will be taking stage at Apple HQ – another break of tradition – tomorrow at 1 PM Eastern.

The first of the "next generation" iPhone rumors started not long after the iPhone 4 hit shelves. Each year, these rumors escalate, leading to lost devices, police raids, lawsuits and who knows what else. (The staging of a lost iPhone to build hype?) Over nearly 18 months of conflicting rumors, some of those tales have shown through and have people believing they know exactly what this next iPhone – or should I say iPhones – will entail.

If rumors (and inventory systems) are to be believed, the iPhone will come in two flavors this year: iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Originally, iPhone 4S was assumed to be a cheaper, minor upgrade to the current iPhone 4, much like that of the 3GS to the 3G. However, BGR is reporting today that the iPhone 4S will be much more substantial and the iPhone 5 will be a Sprint (WiMAX) exclusive. BGR states the 4S will sport:

  • A low voltage Apple A5 CPU (it won’t be the same as the iPad 2 chip, clock for clock).
  • Updated front and back camera sensors. FaceTime HD in the front, 8-megapixel 1080p HD video recording in the back.
  • Multiband 3G Qualcomm chipset — North American & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for AT&T and Global carriers,
  • North American CDMA & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for Verizon and Sprint.
  • NFC support.
  • Metal or “premium” plastic on the back case.

That leaves a lot to question, like: if the iPhone 4S is a substantial upgrade to the current iPhone, what might appear in the iPhone 5? So far, it has been rumored to have an advanced camera, new, iPod-like design, thinner chassis, 4-inch display and more. With the possibility of a larger display comes even more concerns. What will happen to the Retina Display? If Apple increases the size of the display without bumping resolution, they will lose that claim and fall to Android phones with HD displays.

Personally, I don't see why the iPhone 4S would or should be that big of an upgrade. Apple needs an answer to the cheaper Android smartphones. They should bump the processor to the A5 and leave the rest alone. Despite what the rumor mill has to say today, I feel that the meaty upgrades will be saved for the iPhone 5. And I have a feeling it won't come as a Sprint exclusive; that would be a huge mistake on Apple's part.

In the iPhone 5, I do expect to see a larger display. The current 3.5-inch display is simply too small in comparison to today's 4.3-inch phones. It's quite impossible to judge what Tim Cook & Co. will do about the resolution debacle, but I am going to guess that they're not going to fragment their OS any more than they have to. Rather than requiring all developers to update their applications to support yet another resolution, I believe they will wait another year or so to make a 4-inch (or greater) Retina Display.

The A5 processor and the amazing camera that we supposedly got a glimpse of a few weeks ago are givens for my iPhone 5 expectations. But a larger display, faster processor and advanced camera are not all the new iPhone needs to ward off the onslaught of high-end Android phones. I expect Apple will be one of the early adopters (in the US, at least) of NFC. They have to have something to counter Google Wallet, right?

Aside from the things we are all expecting to see, there are some things I can only hope for. According to all of the rumors, hopes for an LTE-compatible iPhone are pretty bleak. Nonetheless, I will keep on wishing until I hear Tim Cook denounce the rumors himself tomorrow. Also, I am crossing my fingers for some battery life improvements. The iPhone's battery life is already pretty great, but I'm always up for more juice. And who doesn't want more memory? Flash memory is becoming cheaper all the time. It's time for a 120GB iPhone, Apple. I'll settle for a 64GB version, though. (Then again, who needs more on-board storage when you have iCloud?)

I hope ... no, I pray the iPhone 5 looks nothing like the latest renders and case mock-ups. A new design is fine with me, but there is a point where thin is too thin. Not to mention, there is nothing about the iPod Touch design that gives it that high class feel – not in comparison to phones, at least.

Without a larger display, NFC and some form of 4G support, I will have a hard time convincing myself to buy an iPhone 5. Not to mention, Google and Samsung are teaming up on October 11th. If the Nexus follows with its rumored specs and Ice Cream Sandwich in tow, I may soon forget about whatever it is that Apple announces.

There is a lot that can go either way for Apple right now. Despite what the iPhone 5 or 4S will actually bring to the table, Apple has enough loyal minions that it doesn't really matter. Sales will be great and likely record breaking, regardless. We have less than 24 hours until Tim Cook takes the stage in Cupertino. And I'm sure they have a few tricks up their sleeve, just for those of us who think we know what will happen.

What say you, pups? What do you hope to see in the iPhone 4S/5 announcement tomorrow? Are there any features that will be deal breakers if left out? Sound off and speculate below!

Image via Giga Netzwerk

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