Editor’s Note: Parth Dhebar (@pdparticle) is the Founder of Simple-Reviews (@simple_reviews), a blog that features simplified reviews for Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch apps. In addition, he leads Community and Business Development efforts at Teens in Tech Labs.
This year at the World Wide Developer Conference, Apple surprised the audience when they announced iOS 5 and OS X Lion leaving no mention of a new iPhone. Since then, the media started a non-stop publishing spree with bizarre claims and rumors. Here are five reasonable things we can definitely expect with the iPhone 4S. Yup, you heard me. The iPhone 4S, not an iPhone 5.
Better Internal Hardware
The upcoming iPhone 4S will probably feature the next generation dual-core A5 processor, an upgrade to the existing A4. Apple will likely throw in a better graphics chip and double the RAM to 1 GB. According to rumors, iOS 5 has some hardware-exclusive voice control features which do not work on the current iPhone 4. The upcoming iPhone 4S is undoubtedly the key to unlocking the feature.
While everyone is hoping for 4G capabilities, it is hard to tell whether the iPhone 4S will support the faster network. Apple often adopts early technologies, but not unless they can get it right. If Apple does introduce a 4G enabled model, they would do so for all major networks. Unfortunately, that is not entirely possible since carriers are not entirely ready.
AT&T offers HSPA+ under the 4G brand name and has yet to deploy a LTE network. Introducing a model with only HSPA+ support would mean incompatibility for future LTE-based networks. Apple would also need a WiMax model for Sprint 4G and another LTE version for Verizon Wireless 4G.
After all, Apple did not seem to concerned about only having 2G on the original iPhone when most mediocre flip phones already had 3G at the time — it clearly did not hurt growth either.
Same Design, With Tweaks
Rumors suggest the next-gen iPhone will offer a completely new design. However, taking example from the previous refreshes, the iPhone 4S will offer the same design but with minor enhancements. The upcoming model will probably offer a new antenna design to avoid a rerun of the infamous “antennagate”.
In addition, after rumors of many complaints from customers regarding the somewhat-fragile glass back, Apple would have definitely taken notice. A change of material for the back piece is a given and we might possibly see a new aluminum plate introduced.
During WWDC 2010, Steve Jobs explained how megapixels are not what makes a camera better. The year-old iPhone 4 currently offers only a 5 megapixel sensor and which I think still continues to blows competition out of the water. With that being said, signs are pointing toward an 8 megapixel camera which will probably turn out to be true. With top-notch hardware, an even better camera is just one of the improvements Apple can bring to the table to get existing customers to upgrade.
The Same Display
Currently, the iPhone and iPod touch feature a display which I think is the best on the market. Going by the name Retina Display, it has a super high pixel density screen with a 960-by-640 pixel resolution on a 3.5 inch screen which equates to a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi). Steve Jobs during the WWDC 2010 keynote explained that after a certain point the human eye fails to distinguish individual pixels. In addition, Jobs explained the magic number is around 330 ppi when visible pixelation is no more. This is exactly why the iPhone 4S does not need a new display.
Since launch, Apple has not increased the screen size with any new version of the iPhone and they definitely will not with the iPhone 4S. Rumors have suggested that they will, but it would become a nightmare for developers. In addition, Apple’s stance on-screen size should be pretty clear by now. If they are going to increase screen size for any of their iOS devices, they would have already done so when competitors were using screen size as a selling point.
The media is pretty confident about Apple calling the next iPhone the “iPhone 5,” but it will not be called that. The new model will probably go with the name “iPhone 4S” since the refresh will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In fact, that is exactly what Apple did when they introduced the iPhone 3GS in 2009. The “S” in “3GS” was to signify the faster and better hardware compared to its predecessor the “iPhone 3G”.
I also predict that Apple, at some point, will get rid of the numbers after “iPhone” and will just call future generations the “iPhone”. They have already done just that with the iPod touch.
If you are desperately looking for a new smart phone, I think it is still a great time to purchase an iPhone 4 since Apple will definitely continue to support it even after the launch of the next iteration even if the same set of features are not available. However, if you are like me and want the latest hardware I would suggest waiting. Apple will probably hold an event in early-October announcing the iPhone 4S and new iPod touch models. Those on a budget should keep in mind that Apple will likely reduce the current price of the iPhone 4 to $99.
Disclosure: Parth Dhebar is an investor in Apple.