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.
Keeping the same design and screen size just does not make sense from a marketing point of view or even simple logic. The screen will get bigger…not massively large like the Android 4.5 inch displays but defiantly larger. Regarding the design, it will likely be evolutionary not revolutionary but it will be distinctive when compared to the iPhone 4. Expect two models. This is Apple’s chance to own the market. They know it and won’t do anything half assed regarding the iPhone 5
Here’s to hoping you are right… A bigger screen is necessary as there is a market segment that would prefer the phone/tablet crossover. Enter a 4.x inch screen. I would prefer a screen that is 4.5 inches but hope that any increase does not result in loss of the retina display.
Regardless of features, it is time for Apple to get back on the innovative train and “revolutionize” the smartphone market. Find a way to produce and sell a moderately priced device, without cellular contracts, to force competition. Consumers are paying outrageous fees for data, yet what percentage of this fee is being reinvested into new network development? If network servers are the issue, how is it that DSL and Cable Data providers do not encounter similar issues? Here’s to hoping that Apple can innovate the cryptonite to the price gouging cellular providers!
If you are correct then there will be nothing new in Apple iPhone 4s except some hardware tweaks.
Great article ,
I personally don’t feel the need to increase either screen size , or design . especially design !!
Im a 45 yr old guy , and really don’t have any problems with screen size ..
I thought I would after coming from a droid x .. But I don’t ..
Besides : with a larger screen size , comes battery life issues , the retina display really does
Compensate for the extra screen size , something I didn’t believe when I was with the droid x ..
In regards to design changes , leave it alone , you don’t change a winning game plan ,
Even in this ever changing market , the design just plain works , every time , which is what most
People want , Apple has sold 100 million iPhones since it’s debut , that tells you something ….
And the addition of designated files , only improved this OS …
Remember – nothing sells like the truth ……
Great article, Parth!
So basically all the delays were about sticking an outdated a5 processor, a better camera and making it thinner. Unlikely..
Also why would apple release ios 5 if they were only releasing a 4S? I dare say they would have kept us on ios 4.
Another point is that no one will be very much interested in what would basically be another iPhone 4. There are vastly better options out there.
They need to release another revolutionary phone if they are to compete at all.
In my opinion the delay is likely due to an A6 processor and or a larger screen.
Come on.. They are hardly going to be delayed by hardware they’ve already developed.
I completely agree with you, raw. Why would it be delayed if all that was changing was some hardware. I believe Apple has realized they made a mistake with the 3GS, and would not make the same mistake with the new iPhone.
I’m guessing there wont be an A6 processor in it but probably a larger screen or something else big.
I don’t remember who said this exactly, but one of the Apple websites said something along the lines of “Every new iPhone has had something revolutionary about it that makes it better than the last. This will be no different for the iPhone 5”
This man is correct. Your predictions for the iPhone might be more believable 6 months ago, but as raw said, why would there be a delay for hardware that’s already been developed? And indeed, why release ios 5 and then release an 4s? Your predictions make no sense, sir and appear to be based upon no valid evidence.
It will not be called the iPhone 4S, it will be the 5. The 3Gs was called such since they called their second gen the 3G, and calling the new one the iPhone 3 would cause confusion… 5 is much more likely as to keep the iPhone number in line with the iOS version number.
As for ram… it is unlikely this will get a boost… there would be minimal advantage compared to what the faster processor will offer.
The screen is very likely to become larger as the rumours seem to have reasonable basis in fact. Also, since they will simply be extending the screen to the edges and not increasing the size of the phone there is no compromise… which is something Apple likes. And no, it would not be a nightmare for developers… the resolution will remain the same. Everything will simply display slightly bigger for the time being.
Overall it will be a incremental upgrade, but a reasonable one. The bigger advances will come in the release of iOS5.
I don’t think it’s a good time for apple to release just an iPhone “4S”, not now with so many good competition out there… And if you’re correct, why are they taking so long?
retina is the best on the market?? seriously?????? oh i see.. it’s the best because Apple say so.. hmmm.. don’t you have brain??
Probably it will include the HD FaceTime camera, like the new MacBook Pros do.
the retina display is the best on the market. Look up a comparison of the iphone 4 and the evo……. The evo is dull and unattractive where the iphone is vibrant
I think it’s funny when people talk about the next iPhone like they know everything about it. Clearly, you don’t. Apple technically hasn’t even said anything about a new iPhone, so no one can know there will even be one. It is logical to assume there will be one due to iOS 5 coming out soon. But seriously, you’re listing off all these nonsense little details like you know exactly what’s gonna happen.
Wow. You were dead on… What a rude awakening. Never assume
Haha. Thanks Chris!