March 29, 2011 | Andy Boxall
Now Apple have announced the dates for 2011′s Worldwide Developers Conference, it’s time to start thinking about both the next generation of iPhone and the next major revision of iOS. Here are ten rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 and our own probability rating after each one.
1. No iPhone 5 at WWDC.
This rumor began back in February, when component shortages were linked to a delayed iPhone 5 release. Now though, thanks to the wording of Apple’s WWDC 2011 press release and some insider knowledge courtesy of The Loop, it’s being said the iPhone 5 won’t even be announced in June. A Q4 release date has been mentioned, so a late Q3/early Q4 announcement makes sense. If this turns out to be true, it’ll be almost as big as if the phone was announced at WWDC!
Probability: 5/10 – Could go either way.
2. The iPhone 5 Will Look Very Similar to the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4 is a beautiful piece of hardware and has hardly dated at all in the last eight months. The change from 3G to 3GS didn’t see any design changes, and the general consensus is that this will be the same from the 4 to the 5.
Probability: 8/10 – There’s life in the old dog (and bone) yet.
3. The iPhone 5 Will Have a Metal Rear Panel.
Just because the overall design is likely to stay the same, doesn’t mean it can’t change. The glass rear panel on the iPhone 4 may look pretty, but it’s much to fragile, so a change to an all-metal rear panel seems sensible. But what will it be? Aluminum, Liquid Metal or something else? Our guess is a shift to the same design as the iPad 2.
Probability: 9/10 – The closest we’ll get to a sure thing.
4. It’ll Have a Bigger Screen.
Top-end smartphones from other manufacturers want you to think a 4″ or even a 4.3″ touchscreen is the thing to have, but we’re not convinced. There are advantages to a big screen, however 4″ phones aren’t anywhere near as pocketable as a 3.5″ or a 3.7″ phone.
Images have appeared online of a new bezel with an edge-to-edge 4″ screen, enabling a very similar form factor while still increasing screen size. It looks great, but would be a headache for securing anything other than ‘clip-on’ cases.
Apple appear to have chosen another route anyway, as big screens are nothing new and the iPhone 4 could have been given a 4″ screen if they had felt the need. Instead, they went with the Retina Display, giving the phone something no other manufacturer could match – very high resolution and a very sharp image.
Probability: 7/5 – Apple in bandwagon leap shocker?
5. The Phone Will Use the A5 Processor.
It’s almost certain (well, as much as we can be) that the iPhone 5 will use a dual-core processor, otherwise it’ll be way behind the curve in one of the most critical areas of modern smartphones; we’d be very surprised if it was anything but the iPad 2′s A5 processor inside.
Probability: 9/10 – Why wouldn’t they?
6. The Antenna Will Have a Different Design.
Next to the glass back panel, the most controversial part of the iPhone 4 was its antenna band. Who can forget the endless ‘death grip’ coverage, the press conference and the free cases that haunted the iPhone 4 after launch? We’re not keen to see it again, and we doubt Apple are either!
Rumors and patents suggesting the antenna will be moved into the Apple logo have previously appeared, however if the design is going to stay the same, perhaps the antenna team at Apple will find a way to avoid those diminishing bars of reception.
Probability: 9/10 – The chance of Apple risking a repeat of ‘antennagate’? Almost zero.
This is a long-discussed feature that’s certainly coming to the iPhone, but whether the iPhone 5 gets it depends on the infrastructure available to use NFC around the world. Aside from Japan, it’s hardly widespread, and although trials are being conducted in the USA, the UK and many other places, it seems unlikely NFC will be ready for everyday use before the end of the year.
Gingerbread may have added NFC to Android, but it’s still only the Nexus S that supports it, and Nokia abandoned their NFC-equipped phone a while back; so there has been no incentive for retailers and businesses to push for its introduction.
The press go in different directions with this one too, with sources from The Independent saying it won’t be there, but China Times say it will. We’re with the Indie, and wonder if the iPhone 6 will see NFC introduced.
Probability: 4/10 – What is there to use it with?
8. The iPhone 5 Will Have LTE/4G Support.
Just like NFC, support for LTE/4G will come, but not with the iPhone 5. It’s just too much of a minefield at the moment, with nobody offering true 4G services, and networks shooting themselves in the foot with all this ’4G’ naming nonsense. If Apple want to get into the whole marketing-driven 4G situation in the US – they’re really evolved 3G networks offering HSPA+ speeds don’t forget – we’d be surprised, especially as it won’t mean anything to the rest of the world.
What could happen is a Verizon CDMA-only LTE iPhone, which would make use of the fastest US network without causing confusion internationally. But we don’t see a GSM 4G phone happening until 4G actually appears, which won’t be for another couple of years.
Probability: 3/10 – Double it for the LTE Verizon iPhone 5, otherwise, nah.
9. It’ll Be a ‘World’ Phone.
Building one phone for use on both GSM and CDMA makes sense, as it’s surely cheaper. RIM have done it for a while, after all. The concept of a ‘World’ phone also fits in with talk of a built-in SIM that circulated a while back.
However, CDMA and GSM are two different beasts, and making two devices allows Apple to fiddle with each to fine tune their performance. Even if they do continue with a GSM and a CDMA version, we’d be willing to bet the designs won’t be subtly different this time.
Probability: 3/10 – We think Apple will value quality over more simple production.
10. The 64GB iPhone 5.
We’ve had 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB. Any phone using a microSD card slot to boost its internal memory can match, an in some cases exceed, the 32GB storage on the iPhone, making 64GB of internal memory quite a headline grabber.
A prototype, probably of an iPhone 4, did do the rounds recently, indicating that tests could be being performed; and it would bring the iPhone range into line with the iPad’s memory spec too.
Probability: 6/10 – Apps are getting larger all the time, as are the video capabilities of the iPhone. More onboard storage makes sense.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the iPhone 5′s potential spec, so leave a comment below.