Is Apple iPhone 5 delay hinting at robust contender for HTC Sensation?

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A new HTC Android-based smartphone "Sensation" is displayed during a news conference for the launch of the product in Taipei
A new HTC Android-based smartphone "Sensation" is displayed during a news conference for the launch of the product in Taipei May 27, 2011.

Buried in Apple's iOS 5 beta are hints of upcoming Apple devices which include two iPads and two iPhones.

What Apple failed to vocally confirm at WWDC has been revealed by uncovering the iOS 5 beta USB config files by TUAW.  However, the list of rumors regarding iPhone 5 features keeps growing and now the possibility of 1080p video playback coming to iPhone, courtesy iOS 5 is creating a buzz.

While Apple has delayed its iPhone 5 release, with the expected arrival possibly destined for September, it's the Android breed of 'superphones' which are having heyday, primarily Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy S 2 and HTC Sensation.

The iOS 5 firmware did not mention the iPod touch which has raised expectations that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in September - the event which has been traditionally slated for iPod refresh. Thus, the deliberate omission of iPod touch from the iOS beta confirms that Apple would use the occasion to exclusively launch the iPhone.

The iPhone 5 will have to contend with another smartphone which has received rave reviews, the HTC Sensation. And while Apple keeps sharpening its iPhone 5, HTC Sensation 4G is due to be arrive in the US in this month. In fact, before iPhone 5's arrival, HTC Sensation's only formidable competitor in the market would be Samsung Galaxy S2. Users stuck with an older iPhone 4, meanwhile, have another 'superphone to consider.

The phone which has already been released in Europe boasts a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. Earlier the only phone flaunting the 1.2 GHz dual-core chip was the Samsung Galaxy S II but HTC has changed the game with the launch of HTC Sensation. In the face of such competition, the rumor that Apple will plant its A5 dual-core chip which powers its iPad 2 on iPhone 5 looks plausible.

The HTC Sensation has 4.3-inch display with 960x540 screen resolution. It uses an S-LCD capacitive screen. The phone is 11.3 mm (0.44-inch) thick and weighs about 148 gm (5.22 ounces). The iPhone 4 weighs about 137 grams (4.8 ounces) and is 9.3 mm (0.37-inch) thick.

Thus, if Apple makes the iPhone 5 thinner it can certainly give HTC Sensation run for the money. However, its size reviews suggest that the HTC Sensation is small when held in hand. Also, as most of the superphones including Samsung Galaxy S II sport a larger 4.3-inch screen, it is to be seen if Apple will beef-up the iPhone 5's screen size.

HTC Sensation offers 768 MB RAM and 1GB internal memory with support for microSD up to 32GB and 8GB included.

The HTC Sensation also sports an 8MP rear-facing and a front facing VGA cameras. The phone also offers 1080p video recording. In the light of these super specifications, a report that OmniVision has received an order to supply 90 percent of the 8MP camera sensors to be fitted in iPhone 5 seems possible. Apple can't afford to offer an inferior camera. Also HTC Sensation offers 1080p video capture capability. Currently, iPhone 4 offers 720p video recording capability. Thus, to be in the game, Apple will have to bump up this capacity.

The 'superphone' from the HTC camp runs on Android 2.3 or Gingerbread, with its own customized skin HTC Sense, which sits atop the Android OS.

The phone is also touted to offer super quality native video playback as it optimizes the full screen of the phone, a feature which may compel Apple to rethink the iPhone screen size. An earlier rumor had suggested that iPhone 5 will sport a larger edge to edge screen which will allow better video playback.

The most recent rumor suggests that iPhone 5 will allow 1080p video playback on the handset. iPad users with iOs 5 were able to play 1080p videos on the tablet. Thus, it is surmised that if Apple uses the same A5 iPad 2 chip on iPhone, then with iOS 5, the phone will be able to playback videos in 1080p format on the handset.

The HTC Sensation uses a curved screen. Another Android phone with a curved screen is the Samsung Nexus S. It is also rumored that iPhone 5 will possibly flaunt a curved glass screen.

HTC Sensation offers a battery life of 8 h 20 min talktime using a Li-lon 1520 mAh battery. Currently, the iPhone 4 offers up to 7 hrs talktime on 3G.

With iCloud in place, Apple's iPhone 5 can offer a new way to access content by offering a digital locker which allows users to store their content in the cloud.

HTC Sensation offers its own video-on-demand service and the HTC Watch. It leverages progressive download technology so that users can watch videos without waiting for the content to finish downloading. HTC Watch also allows users to instantly access a complete library of the latest as well as classic movies and TV shows. There is a Video Trimmer tool which allows users to crop their clips to desired size, allowing users to upload videos to different social networking websites for sharing them with family and friends.

Apple sees HTC as a major threat a point underscored by patent lawsuit which Apple filed against HTC in March 2010. Apple charged HTC of infringing on 20 of its patents related to iPhone's UI, underlying architecture and hardware design. HTC retorted back by counter suing Apple for infringement of five patents in May 2010.

Apple's nervousness over the Android brigade is also highlighted by the recent lawsuit it filed against Samsung. Apple is also embroiled in a patent lawsuit with Motorola.

Rumors suggest that Apple has a few more cards up its sleeve in the form of a world phone which has a SIM-less design with 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks. Apple could also add iWallet feature to iPhone 5 to counter Google's recently released NFC-enabled mobile payment platform, Google Wallet, which allows users to merely tap the phone at the POS to make a payment.

Apple's delay in launching iPhone 5 could be a deliberate attempt to buy time to spruce up its next phone offering in order to meet the new benchmark set by Android phones like HTC Sensation.

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