This has the potential to be Apple’s most important presentation in the last five years.
When Jobs took the stage back in 2007 to unveil the original iPhone, one of the lines that always stuck in my memory was how the entire project was “five years ahead of the competition.” I’d say he was pretty much dead on. It seems like this was finally the year that Android became user friendly, competitors hardware became equally attractive, and the iPhone was no longer the only well-executed smart phone in town.
The iPhone 5 (or whatever they name it) will arrive with more pressure on it than any other Apple release in recent memory. The 4S ran out of steam months ago and there have been leaks all over the place surrounding this launch, so it will be especially challenging for Apple to recapture the “magic” that has faded so much over the last year. Here are a few thoughts…
What’s Almost Certainly Coming
Judging by all of the leaks over the past few months, we seem to know several things about the iPhone 5 already…
- It’ll have a new, thinner, two-tone unibody design.
- It’ll have a 4″ screen that’s taller, not wider
- It’ll have a new dock connector to replace the ancient one (that dates back to the original iPod!)
- It’ll have 4G LTE for wireless
- It’ll be called the iPhone 5, even though its the sixth iPhone (which they strongly alluded to in their event invite)
Unless Apple surprises everyone (see my wildcard below), I think all of those items are pretty much locked in.
What I Think We’ll See
A new, A6 processor – The iPhone normally inherits the processor from the preceding iPad, but it doesn’t make sense in context of the New iPad, which uses the A5X – The same processor as before, only with more video horsepower to power its retina display. I think we’ll see a new, supercharged system on the chip that will help add some more “newness” clout to the iPhone 5.
Low power GPS – Cook has said that Passbook is a huge part of iOS 6, and a big part of Passbook seems to be location aware notifications; the only way that’s going to work well is with a GPS chip that uses MUCH less energy than the current models.
AirPlay Direct – There was talk a few weeks ago about taking advantage of AirPlay sharing without the requirement of a WiFi network (great for classrooms and other environments). Sounds like a logical move to me.
An 8MP camera with much better optics – Apple LOVES to have the best smart phone camera on the market, and I don’t think that’ll change with the iPhone 5. Expect optical image stabilization similar to the Nokia, and probably a few other tricks like panorama photos, photo booth, etc.
A better front facing camera – Because everyone’s self portraits are looking gross on the 4/4S.
What We Might See
Bluetooth Pairing with the iPod Nano for notifications – This is kind of a wildcard, but Apple seems to like the idea of the Nano as a wristwatch, so using it as a notification center from your iPhone doesn’t seem too far fetched; it fact, it seems like exactly the kind of “gee-whiz” feature that Apple likes to make.
iPhone as a Game Controller – This one’s been floating around this morning, and it makes that new 16×9 screen ratio make a lot more sense (think the NES controller). It would be a huge blow against Nintendo’s WiiU, but I’m not sure that we’d see this without the AppleTV gaining an App Store for games. Who knows, maybe that’s coming today too.
What I Don’t Think We’ll See
NFC – Apple is notorious for shunning widely accepted technology for the technology it prefers (Blu-Ray, USB 3 for ages, etc). If they do some sort of iWallet thing with Passbook, I’m betting they’ll find a way to do it with Bluetooth 4.
Fingerprint Scanner – Yeah, they just bought AuthenTec, but we typically don’t see the fruit of those acquisitions until 12-18mo down the road. That may also be where iWallet makes its debut.
Ever since the “leaked” two-tone design started making the rounds, something has always felt “off” to me. The camera on the back looks oddly positioned, and it doesn’t immediately feel as intrinsically beautiful as the iPhone 4 design. With Cook also famously stating that he’s “doubling down” on secrecy right before these leaks, part of me is wondering if all of this isn’t some gigantic smoke screen for the actual design. It would be a HUGE win for Cook to surprise everyone, and cast tremendous doubt on all of the rumor blogs, both of which would delight Apple. It’s a long shot, I know, but it doesn’t seem completely absurd.
So that’s what I’m thinking… Give me your predictions in the comments below!