iPhone 5: has Apple rung the changes?
Excitement is building ahead of next week's expected iPhone 5 announcement. But whether you rush out to buy the latest wondergadget or not, owners of earlier iPhones and iPods will also benefit from the upgraded operating system.
Apple doesn't typically disclose sales figures but in a recent patent court case with Samsung it revealed it has sold 85 million iPhones in the United States alone since the device was first launched in 2007. Each new iPhone model typically sells more units than all of the previous versions combined. Based on Apple's iPhones sales for the three months ending December 2011 (which totalled 37.04m), there were more iPhones sold per day (377,959) than people born in the world (estimates of the average birth rate vary between about 360,000 and 372,000 births per day). Analyst firm Piper Jaffray estimates Apple will sell between 26 million and 28 million iPhone 5s.
Gadget gossip also has it that Apple is working on an iPad Mini - with a 7.85-inch screen (the new iPad has a 9.7-inch display). Apple acolytes had suggested this could be unveiled at the same time as the iPhone 5, but a later launch - perhaps in October - for any such device now seems more likely.
Apple all but confirmed rumours of a September 12 US launch this week when it invited media to an event on Wednesday (early Thursday NZ time). The invitation teasingly has the date 12 casting a shadow in the shape of the number 5.
Apple's high-resolution "retina display" iPhone screens are a big drool-card for gadget lovers - but size also matters. the larger the screen the easier it is to read emails, view photos and watch video. Samsung's latest iphone rival, the Samsung Galaxy siii, sports a 4.8-inch high-definition display, leaving the iphone 4s - with a 3.5-inch screen - well behind in the size stakes.
* iPhone 4S: 3.5 inches
* Samsung Galaxy SIII: 4.8 inches
* iPhone 5: Likely to have a 4 inch screen
SO DOES SPEED
High-end smartphones with quad-core processors - theoretically more capable of handling multi-tasking and applications such as gaming than dual-core processors - have begun to emerge, which begs the question will Apple follow suit? whispers are suggesting both yes and no, alternatively citing Apple's desire to keep up with competitors and its previous strategy of not blindly following rivals to the highest specs.
* iPhone 4S: Apple A5 1GHz dual-core processor
* Samsung Galaxy S III: 1.4GHZ Exynos quad-core processor
* iPhone 5: Dual-core, dual core with extra graphics power, or quad-core?
The iPhone will be revamped, experts predict, with a new design and leaked pictures suggesting a two-tone brushed aluminium backing, a smaller dock, relocated headphone jack (from the top of the handset to the bottom) and bigger speaker grills.
ON THE SCALES
Rumours are the new iPhone has also slimmed down, with one report suggesting it will measure 7.6 millimetres in thickness - making it one of the thinnest smartphones around.
* iPhone 4S: 9.3mm
* Samsung Galaxy S III: 8.6mm
* iPhone 5: rumoured to be 7.6mm.
Don't expect dramatic change on the camera front - the rear-facing camera is expected to remain the same at 8 megapixels, which is plenty. The front-facing camera could get an upgrade to high-definition though, to give a better picture for video calling and is reportedly being moved to above the speaker.
iPhone 4S: 8MP rear camera, lower-resolution 0.3 MP front camera
Samsung Galaxy S III: 8MP rear camera, 1.9MP HD front camera
iPhone 5: 8MP rear camera, HD front camera
Technophiles have been poring over leaked photos of what is supposedly the new iPhone, looking for signs it will have an NFC chip. NFC stands for "near field communication", it's a technology that allows devices to communicate wirelessly with others - so smartphones could be used like contactless swipe cards, for example, to make payments.
iPhone 4S: no NFC
Samsung Galaxy S III: has NFC
iPhone 5: Remains to be seen.
It's not so relevant for New Zealand yet, but the next iPhone is rumoured to support 4G LTE - which means faster mobile broadband. This will be of little use until our telcos have 4G mobile networks up and running. Telecom is trialing a 4G service later this year but 4G networks are probably a few years away.
iPhone 4S: no 4G LTE support
Samsung Galaxy S III: supports 4G LTE in some countries
iPhone 5: likely to support 4G in some countries
The new iPhone will come pre-loaded with iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. Even if you're not planning to get to the iPhone 5, if you have an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S, a second or third generation iPad or a fourth generation iPod Touch you'll be able to upgrade your software.
IOS 6 KEY FEATURES INCLUDE:
Bye bye Google Maps. Apple is introducing its own mapping app and showing Google's the door as the two continue to fight for mobile device dominance.
Apple's voice recognition technology Siri - previously only available for the iPhone 4S - will debut on the iPad (the newest version only sorry folks) with the launch of iOS 6. You'll also be able to use Siri to fire up applications and movies.
Fob off unwanted phone calls with the new Do Not Disturb feature, which lets you automatically send text messages telling callers you'll phone them back, or set up a "call when you leave" reminder for when you leave your current location.
Apple says using Facebook on your mobile device will be even easier thanks to iOS 6. You'll be able to post to the social networking site straight from a variety of apps on your device.
The iOS 6 also marks the debut of Passbook - an app that aims to keep all your tickets, coupons and vouchers in the one place. Local businesses will need to get on board for this to be truly useful though.
The web browser Safari also gets an upgrade with iOS 6. While browsing you'll be able to save your tabs on one Apple device and pick up where you left off on another (through iCloud).
Sources: Cnet, Samsung, Apple, Computerworld, TechRadar, Pocket Lint, PC World, Associated Press, Washington Post, The Next Web.
- © Fairfax NZ News