Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Super 12 - Tim Cook's big day arrives

So the big day has arrived. Early evening UK time Tim Cook will take the stage and - doubtless after significant preamble - will reveal the 6th iteration of the iPhone. Here's my predictions for what we'll see in the iPhone 5... or maybe not...

Core features:
  1. A bigger screen (100% certain). But how big, that is the question? My guess is a 16:9 aspect ratio 4" display with Retina. Covered in Gorilla Glass, obviously.
  2. Faster processor (100%). I expect an "A" series quad core, 1,200MHz CPU with a seperate high performance multicore graphics processor. This will almost certainly be the debut of the A6 CPU, probably paired with 1GB of RAM (up from 512MB in the '4S). Expect the new iPhone to mirror the new iPad and exceed the processing capabilities of its competition.
  3. No change in internal memory (99%). I expect 16, 32 and 64Gb to remain the capacity options for the new device. With iCloud now firmly established it would seem strange to increase capacity, particularly since Apple have fallen out with Samsung and are trying to move their memory supply elsewhere.
  4. LTE (100%). The big question on LTE is whether the new device will support non-US frequency bands. My view is that Apple will offer a US and a "world" version of the device. I don't believe that it's possible to support all possible varients of the next generation mobile standard in one slim device.
  5. Upgraded Siri (100%). Whether its truly upgraded or not is a moot point. Cook will spend some time talking up his voice assistant technology, which - in fairness - continues to improve
  6. A better camera (25%). The iPhone 4S has an 8mp camera that can shoot HD video. In reality this is more than enough for the kind of use most people put the iPhone to. We might see a clever new lens technology, but I doubt it. Being cynical, an improved camera is an easy win for the inevitable iPhone 5S.
New things:
  1. A new name (50%). We all assume that this will be the iPhone 5. I wonder whether it might be the iPhone HD or just the iPhone. If I were a betting man I'd go for the former. iPhone 5 is clunky and Apple aren't clunky.
  2. A unibody case (75%). My gut feeling is that the new iPhone will have a new industrial design, featuring a single piece case as opposed to the existing one, which has glass front and rear with an aluminium centre section. I expect the new one to ape the Nokia Lumia and go all metal.
  3. NFC (50%). Although its usefulness is very debatable, near field communications technology is mature enough and micro enough to be a no-brainer add on to the iPhone's hardware suite.
  4. A new power connector (75%). Exciting stuff now - Apple are apparently keen on changing to a smaller connector port for the new iPhone, a change that will enable the head phone jack to move to the base of the device. Revolutionary :).
  5. Wireless charging (10%). I'd be pretty surprised if wireless charging was part of the feature set this time around. I'm not sure its mainstream enough for Apple to go for during such a big upgrade to the feature set.
  6. "Nano" Sim (75%). Another tidying up of the iPhone's internals will probably take place with the replacement of the current microSIM with an even smaller nanoSIM. Cue more fiddling about with tiny SIM removal tools. Sigh.
There's also the possibility of other products being launched at this juncture. Personally I don't expect to see a 7" iPad Mini at this time, although I could see the benefit of a pre-Christmas launch. Perhaps an October event alongside a refresh of the iMac range?

Other things like a new Apple TV seem unlikely as that device has recently been refreshed. So I think we'll just have to be satisfied with a new iPhone. Poor us.

Unless Cook pulls a Jobsian "just one more thing" and changes the market again. You never know.

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