Just thought I’d record my predictions for the iPhone 5 before it is announced and see how close I can get. Essentially a lot of this is already known from leaked parts. I’m under NDA regarding iOS 6 but I might guess at features that I have not seen. I’ve updated this with comments about what actually was announced.
- Screen will be movie aspect 16:9 ratio - iOS can adapt existing Apps in several ways - by detecting a scroll area and stretching its bounds which would reveal more content, or by putting black bars on the screen to effectively reduce the screen size back to 640x960, or by stretching the 640x960 pixels to fit the taller space. The last choice seems like a bad one since it alters geometry of objects drawn onto the screen. They went with letterboxing. Apple’s Apps are updated of course to work with the tall screen.
- Case - It will be a thinner iPhone. Both merging the touch sensors with the LCD screen and a metal back are given credit for this. I don’t believe Apple makes design changes for purely aesthetic reasons but rather form follows function. It was both thinner and lighter! While many have argued that the metal back is to make the thinner form factor possible, I have seen some photos of the interior of the back where it seemed to have an NFC antenna or two etched into the surface. No NFC though there are some reports that they tested NFC. Perhaps the etched back I saw was originally from a test unit. Or perhaps the NFC antenna is in there just waiting…
- Camera might get a modest improvement but given the thinner form, I will be surprised if it has changed dramatically. The 4S camera design was quite a big step forward. I expect this one to be incremental if at all. On the other hand the front facing camera may get better. No more pixels but some nice improvements in the camera speed and the sapphire lens cover. And the software is much better. Plus the front facing camera is better too.
- LTE is part of the Qualcomm chipset that everyone is expecting but since there are a limited number of frequencies that could be supported, I expect Apple will try to support the largest LTE markets (or markets that will be large soon). This will mean that some carriers with LTE still won’t get LTE with the new iPhone. And LTE support may be a factor in choosing whether to switch carriers. For example I am thinking of leaving AT&T who has been overcharging my daughter on data for months and basically expecting me to prove that she isn’t using the data, rather than AT&T explaining how data can be used when her phone is off. (I was actually told that my daughter must be lying and turning her phone back on in the middle of the night by a customer service representative.) So if I am going to switch, the availability of LTE may be a deciding factor between my choice of Sprint or Verizon. In my area if you want LTE right now its Verizon. Though you still don’t get simultaneous voice and data unless you are with AT&T. WTF with that?
- Connector - undoubtedly they are finally going to fix the problem of needing to orient the connector. The new connectors should plug in either way. I also would not be surprised if they are mag-safe and there may be other interesting features for hardware peripheral manufacturers. No doubt there will be some initial complaints no matter how great the new design is. Wrong about the mag-safe but the new connector seems like a win.
- Headphones - seems that we’ll be seeing upgraded headphones. This will probably be across products lines and be available for all iPhones, and iPods, etc. Well you still won’t get new EarPods with the older phone models (yet) but you can buy them right away for $29
- Headphone jack. Hardware leaks show this at the bottom. I don’t expect it to be anywhere else tomorrow. This will be a minor annoyance for some. I keep my iPhone in my pocket with headphones attached so I guess now it will just be upside down in my pocket. Yes the jack is at the bottom but so is the speaker so it is sort of logical.
- Even smaller SIM card. This will stop people from buying a new iPhone and using it on T-Mobile for a few weeks or so. Nano sim it was.
- Battery - the battery life will be very close to existing iPhones. Larger, new technologies or both things may be required to do this. In some situations battery life is better, and the damn iPhone is 20% lighter too.
- Processor - I expect a bump in the processor to more cores/more speed. New A6 processor.
- Memory - probably no change here but theoretically Apple could bump up to 96Gb or more if they can squeeze it into the same space and power requirements. No change in memory. Where would they have put it?
- Software - we all have heard about the new maps, and other things that have been talked about. I can’t say any more than that. Everyone will see iOS 6 later this month.
Color saturation is better in part due to the fact that the touch sensors are part of the screen and not another layer. Due to the new processor, performance is almost twice what it was for the 4S. An extra microphone should increase noise cancellation and make it possible for Siri to understand you better. And calls should be easier to hear. It is safe to say that there isn’t any part of this device that was not redesigned and re-engineered.
The fit and finish are superb on the new iPhone. There are essentially 3 different models in order to deal with variations in LTE around the world. And they come in “Silver & White” or “Slate & Black” color schemes.
Well apart from the fact that most of what was announced was already known and leaked, the surprise was the new iPods especially the iPod Touch. Buy one of those and any VOIP App and you’ve got an iPhone simulacrum as long as you are willing to limit use to areas with WiFi.