Next-gen iPhone Rumors in-depth

Fri, Jun 5, 2009

News, Rumors

At next weeks WWDC, Apple will most likely announce the next iteration of the iPhone. Below is a rundown of every plausible rumor relating to what features the next iPhone model might have.

3.2 Megapixel Camera with auto-focus

Since the iPhone first launched, critics and users have often lamented what they deem to be the relatively poor picture quality of the iPhone. The current iPhone camera delivers 2 megapixel quality, and lacks the ability to either zoom or autofocus.

In early April, DigiTimes reported that Apple secured an order with OmniVision for 3.2 megapixel image sensors to be used in the next version of the iPhone. This rumor has been corroborated by a number of other sources, and is welcome news for anyone who isn’t a fan of the iPhone’s current 2 megapixel camera.

Last week, a Chinese language website displayed photos of what it claimed was the iPhone’s auto-focus feature in action. According to the website, putting your finger on a specific part of the screen moves the blue box seen below, and subsequently moves the camera’s focus accordingly. The photos on the site have since been removed, if that tells you anything.

Better Battery Life

In mid-March, a Greek iPhone site reported that the next iteration of the iPhone will “feature new and innovative battery technology.” While specific details about this new battery technology remain murky, subsequent reports suggest that the next iPhone model will sport 1.5x better battery life.

As the software that people run on the iPhone becomes more CPU intensive, efficient battery life will become more of a necessity, and more importantly, a significant way to differentiate the iPhone from competitors who continue to try and deliver products that can give the iPhone a run for its money.

Video Recording Capabilities

And speaking of battery life, one reason why it’s so necessary is because it’s almost a sure thing that the next iPhone model will support video recording. Not only that, but images found in the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware also suggest that the next-gen iPhone will include video-editing capabilities. I suppose this isn’t too surprising, really. What’s the point of being able to record video without being able to use some basic editing features such as being able to trim a video clip?

There is even a report which suggests that the next iPhone model will be called the “iPhone Video”. Yesterday, TUAW posted a screenshot of an AT&T support page that lists an “iPhone Video” device alongside listings for the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G. If you think about it, Apple has to call the next-gen iPhone something, and seeing as the addition of a video camera to the iPhone is one of the more significant and hype-worthy upgrades, “iPhone Video” makes a whole lot of sense. Not only does it differentiate the model in name, but it lets consumers know what exactly the substantive differences are as well.

Faster Internet Speeds

The next-gen iPhone is also rumored to support much faster Internet browsing speeds. The current iPhone supports browsing speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, but a new 3G chipset from Infineon will support speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.

In early April we reported that AT&T was already hard at work upgrading its network to handle what it expects will be a huge increase in bandwidth on account of the next iPhone model.

Faster processor and more RAM

If any of you have experienced sluggish iPhone responsiveness and performance, then this should brighten your day. A few sources have reported that the next iPhone model will included an upgraded 600 Mhz processor and 256 MB of RAM. The current iPhone has a 400 Mhz processor and 128 MB of RAM.

Digital Compass

In early May, BoyGeniusReport unearthed some screenshots which seemed to confirm that the next iPhone model will include a Magnetometer, otherwise known as a digital compass. Last week, a Chinese language website displayed what purports to be the iPhone’s digital compass in action. A digital compass enabled iPhone opens the door up to a number of interesting uses, such as being able to identify a building simply by pointing the iPhone’s camera in its direction. Turn by turn directions might also be here before you know it.

External Design

While the differences between the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G were noticeable (changing the aluminum back of the phone to plastic), the next iPhone model might incorporate some of the more significant design changes of the device to date.

Back in February, MacRumors obtained photos which purport to show a black matte finish on the next-gen iPhone. As an aside, a matte finish would be a great way for Apple to physically differentiate the iPhone from the iPod Touch.

Another rumor suggests that Apple will do away with the metal band that currently surrounds the edge of the iPhone. One of the more intriguing rumors, and originally reported by AppleiPhoneApps, is that the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone will “glow”, much like it does on Apple’s laptops. The same source also suggested that the upcoming iPhone will sport an OLED screen.

As for the actual size of the device, a few sources have reported that the screen size and dimensions of the upcoming iPhone will remain exactly the same.

More Storage

A few sources have reported that Apple is poised to release both 16GB and 32GB versions of the iPhone. Nothing to shocking, really.

Cheaper models, cheaper data plans?

Both Apple and AT&T are reportedly looking for ways to make the iPhone a more affordable device for consumers. On AT&T’s end, analyst Michael Cote said that there’s a “strong possibility” that AT&T will implement a $10 price cut in its monthly iPhone rate plan. This price cut, says Cote, will coincide with Apple’s upcoming WWDC. Notably, BusinessWeek reported that this reduction in the rate plan would be accompanied by capped data access.

From Apple’s perspective, it makes sense to sell lower capacity iPhone models at lower prices now that a 32GB model will assuredly be announced next week, and recent reports suggest that this might be exactly what Apple has in store.

Recently, the always resourceful folks over at BoyGeniusReport posted an ad which purports to show a 4GB iPhone for the low low price of $99.

Some analysts have also predicted that Apple will sell an iPhone model for $149. Adding some credence to the idea that Apple might soon be releasing cheaper iPhone models with less storage is the fact that Apple recently received PCS Type Review Certification Board approval for iPhone models that range in capacity from 4GB to 32GB.

Earlier this morning, the Financial Times reported that we might see cheaper iPhones in stores as soon as Monday.

HD Support

Take this one with a grain of salt, but back in April, PhoneNews reported that the next-gen iPhone will have a higher resolution screen and will support HD out up to 1080i. An interesting extension of this would be to turn the iPhone or iPod Touch into makeshift Apple TV’s, allowing them to stream content from their computer onto their HDTV, all via WiFi. We’re not sure how much credence to give this rumor, but it sure is intriguing.

Release Date

Lastly, one unsubstantiated rumor has Apple releasing its next-gen iPhone on July 17.



1 Comments For This Post

  1. Richard Says:

    This version will not redefine the smart phone market again as some (myself included) had hoped. Hardware and software will be catching up to other smart phones with the exception of video.

    3.2MP camera? Not really a headline item. The use of the Apple logo as the flash would be ginchy, as it would provide a nice defused light.

    Cut and Paste, forwarding texts, pictures in text are all catching up with old technology.

    Looks like price may be the biggest news. Still, this will be something i am going to purchase as I have a first gen iPhone, so the GPS and faster speed (both in the 3G and processor) will be worth the upgrade.

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