With the iPhone 5 mere weeks away from announcement, I’ve decided to put on my prognostication cap and try my hand at predicting the features and omissions of the new iPhone. Some of the new features have already been predicted and perhaps seem inevitable, nevertheless, I’ll be including them in my predictions, and examining the possible rationals of why Apple will choose to go with these changes. Central to my predictions are three key elements that permeate the Apple experience. Those elements are 1) great battery life, 2) revamped industrial design and 3) a fluid user experience.
Great Battery Life (and the Curse of LTE)
>With all the 4G Android phones being put out by carriers these days, it may seem like a no-brainer that Apple would feel the need to put out a phone capable of similar data speeds. However, one obstacle stands between this heavenly union. LTE is speedy, but that speed comes at a cost to one of Apple’s greatest strengths: battery life. Apple’s portable devices, from the iPod to the MacBook Air have fantastic battery life. LTE has not yet been properly implemented in phones, and the battery life of early devices such as the ThunderBolt and Charge have been lacking. Apple wouldn’t make the same mistake of stumbling into the 4G arena until it had properly figured out how to implement those networks speeds while maintaining the device’s battery life. HTC and Samsung can release a dozen Android phones a year, Apple needs to get it right in one shot. Also, let’s not be so hasty to forget that the first generation iPhone was fashionably late to the 3G party.
A5 Processor (Dual Core)
The iPhone 4 runs smoothly enough, doesn’t it? Sure, but for the iPhone 5 to remain a viable contender for an entire cycle, the phone must have the A5. Software already exists that is pushing dual-core processors, and with quad-core phones set to debut in a matter of months, Apple must keep the ratio of cores as favorable as possible until the iPhone 6. Apple’s software focus is always fluidity and stability. It’s why the iPhone doesn’t run Flash, and it’s why Apple has taken such pains in their walled-garden approach to iOS. Apple realizes that why they don’t have to have the fastest phone, the industry is progressing at a blazing pace. Gaming on smartphones is becoming an industry focus, and if Apple is to remain a player in that industry, then it needs to have a robust phone capable of running the latest games.
A Completely Refreshed Design
The iPhone 4 was a complete refresh from the 3GS, and while it was a hit aesthetically, the new design notoriously incorporated technology that acted to its detriment (see Antennagate). I’ve detailed before that Apple feels frustrated by the perceived failures of the last design, and are going to do their best to prove their design mettle once again with the new iteration. The changes will be both aesthetic and functional.
Larger Screen, Less Bezel
Steve Jobs once criticized big phones calling them “hummers”, and remarked that no one would buy them. Unfortunately for him, the market has shifted toward larger phones. Whether they’ll acknowledge it or not, the iPhone needs to start taking its protein shakes. With the introduction of the Galaxy Note at 5.3-inches, and a bevy of Android phones floating in the 4-inch+ range, 3.5-inches seems remarkably small in the hand. With a shrunken bezel, the company would be able to save face by not increasing the overall footprint of the phone, and not losing enough ppi to have to rebrand their retina display.
Large Capacitive Gesture Area in place of home button
Apple understands value of direct-touch interaction, but they also understand the value of being able to see content. There’s a fine line between interacting directly with on-screen elements and obscuring them with chubby digits. Swiping through home screens and navigating web pages with a gesture area makes so much sense.
NFC is a sticky area, an arena that seemed poised to take off, but has now seemingly stalled. Google Wallet had buzz when it was first announced, but that buzz had faded along with the promise of NFC. However, Apple’s purchase of Square intimates an interest in commerce, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Apple make a stronger push in this industry if the iPhone 5 is an NFC capable device.
In White at Launch
It took Apple forever to get the white iPhone 4 onto production lines, supposedly due to difficulties with the camera and proximity sensor. Regardless of the reason, it made them look incompetent, and there’s nothing Apple hates more than wearing the dunce hat. Now that the quirks have been worked out, Apple will debut the iPhone 5 in white and black, just to prove that it can.
Several features have already been elucidated by recent news. EXIF data from a leaked photo seem to corroborate rumors of an 8 megapixel camera. Also, leaked photos of cases by Case-Mate hint at a slimmer design.
What do you think? Did I miss anything?