While Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4S is marching towards a huge success from around the world, analysts are expecting a 4G LTE iPhone 5 to come in 2012.
Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes believes that Apple is more likely to focus first on iPad 3, iPhone 5 and a new line of Macs (some with new processors or new technology) in 2012.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said Apple had been targeting a calendar second quarter iPhone 5 launch with March as a stretch goal. But because of the iPhone 4S strength, he believes a March iPhone 5 launch is now off the table as Apple does not feel the need to rush the new device. He said his checks pointed to a calendar second quarter iPhone 5 launch.
Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland also expects the 4G iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 to arrive next year. On the other hand, analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets said in June that the all-new iPhone 5 would arrive only in 2012.
Most of the features that were rumored to arrive in iPhone 5 before the Let's talk iPhone event was packed inside iPhone 4S except some prominent specs like edge-to-edge design, a larger display, 4G LTE and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
The specs of iPhone 4S includes the 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, an Apple A5 chipset and an 8-megapixel camera. It also has a 3.5-inch TFT Retina multi-touch display and is loaded with the latest Apple operating system iOS 5. The smartphone also comes with alternating antennae for better call reception, CDMA and GSM support, a personal assistant called Siri, iCloud and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.
But what specifications could go into iPhone 5 as whatever was rumored came into iPhone 4S. Just take a look at the new rumored specifications of iPhone 5.
Design: Apple, which is best known for their beautiful design, is expected to adopt a teardrop design for iPhone 5 that is supposed to be slimmer and lighter than previous iPhone models. Rather than the current glass backing, iPhone 5 is speculated to come with an aluminum plate casing.
Apple is expected to adopt a more uniform design across all of its mobile devices than ever before. For this, aluminum would be a consistent material that will also be used in the upcoming iPad 3 and iPod lineups as well.
Display: iPhone 4S comes as an upgrade to its previous versions with 3.5-inch multi-touch retina display. While major manufacturers opting for 4.3 inches as the ideal screen for their smartphones, it is speculated that iPhone 5 will have a larger edge-to-edge display, possibly with 3.7-inch to 4.0-inch screen or more.
The Quantum Dot LED technology, which needs less power consumption and delivering the same quality of an OLED screen, could be a possible delivery for iPhone 5. It does not degrade the quality like OLED thanks to how its nanoparticles emit light.
Rumors of a curved glass display on iPhone 5 have been doing the rounds ever since DigiTimes reported in May that Apple had placed an order for glass cutting machines which are capable of making curved glass covers. It would be interesting to see what comes out on the new iPhone 5.
Operating System: iPhone 4S has iOS 5, which is Apple's latest operating system. iOS 5 was announced at the WWDC 2011 keynote address on June 6. It comes with 200 new features that will include Improved Notifications System, Newsstand and iMessage. It will also feature new applications, such as the Reminders app and Newsstand, an application resembling Folders and iBooks.
There has been speculation that Apple would bring out its next OS, presumably called iOS 6, at the WWDC in June 2012 along with iPhone 5.
But Misek expects that Apple is looking to merge iOS (iPhone/iPad) and OS X (Macintosh) into a single platform for apps and cloud services starting in 2012-13 and complete in 2016. Users will be willing to pick up any iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or turn on their iTV) and have content move seamlessly between them and be optimized for the user and the device currently being used. Misek believes this will be difficult to implement if iOS and OS X are kept separate.
Hardware: iPhone 4S comes with iPad 2's A5 chipset. The phone is powered by 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with NEON SIMD accelerator and a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. The A5 package contains 512 MB of low-power DDR2 RAM clocked at 533 MHz.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC) is expected to quietly secure Apple's contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6's successor, according to a DigiTimes report. But Jefferies analyst Robert Lea cautioned that this is an unconfirmed story and that DigiTimes has in the past been inaccurate.
Apple's next iPad will be faster and more power-efficient thanks to its new, quad-core A6 processor, but the new tablet may not be ready to ship until next June, Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst at The Linley Group told PCWorld.
The A6 should bring more performance to Apple devices while preserving battery life. Many of the improvements will come from TSMC's 28-nanometer manufacturing process, said Gwennap. The process will shrink the circuitry compared to the A5, which is manufactured on a 40-nanometer process, making the A6 smaller and faster.
The A6 will likely be based on ARM's Cortex-A9 processor, which is the same design used in the A5. ARM has announced an upcoming Cortex-A15 processor, but the first devices based on that design won't ship until late next year or early 2013, says Gwennap.
It is speculated that the iPhone 5 will integrate a fast 1.2-to-1.5 GHz quad-core A6 chip, with probably 1GB or more of RAM.
Camera: iPhone 4S comes with an 8-megapixel LED flash camera and a secondary VGA one for video chat. It is rumored that iPhone 5 will come with 12-megapixel or more. Added to that, iPhone 5 is expected to have a dual-LED flash and the flash unit will be separated from the camera sensor. Along with the rear-facing, rumors suggest that iPhone 5 will have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting.
Another rumor indicated that iPhone 5 will have a 3D camera. Apple has filed a patent application related to 3D picture taking to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office later in March, according to an AppleInsider report. The filing described a system that would be capable of capturing, processing and rendering 3D images with the additional dual-camera hardware.
iCloud: iPhone 4S is featuring the new iCloud service for operating iTunes, providing wireless remote access of music from all computers and mobile devices. The iCloud will also store photos, apps, calendars and documents without using the phone's memory storage capacity.
The cloud will form the center of Apple's strategy, allowing users to effectively keep their identity and content profiles in the cloud, Misek believes. Users will log on to a device where the profile, content and apps will be customized and optimized for the device.
A preview of a beta version of iCloud shows the merger of iOS and OS X is happening with syncing across platforms. Misek said his preliminary view was that Apple could use a 32-bit ARM architecture to address the vast majority of the OS X ecosystem's needs in 2012-13 except for high-end professional devices.
It is speculated that Apple will upgrade its iCloud service next year and iPhone 5 will also feature a better service.
4G: Apple's iPhone 4S does not feature 4G LTE technology, but analysts believe Apple has saved LTE for iPhone 5. LTE, which stands for Long-Term Evolution, provides significantly faster download and upload speeds compared to 3G technologies.
Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook said in April that the first generation LTE chipsets forced a lot of design compromises with the handset and that the company was not willing to make those compromises.
Luckily, Qualcomm is reportedly developing a new, thinner LTE chipset. The chip, dubbed the MDM9615, will likely be a 28-nanometer process, which is considerably smaller than current LTE chipsets' 45nm designs. The new LTE chip is expected to debut in the second or third quarter next year.
Misek stated that Apple will likely launch the LTE iPhone in the summer of 2012, though it could come earlier. This is because Qualcomm's LTE chipsets, which Apple would have used, were not reaching the yields that Apple expects for its iPhone 4S.
Scott Sutherland said consumers could expect an LTE iPhone in with a materially improved user interface in 2012, without explaining any further. If 4G is included, iPhone may be physically larger. 4G requires a large amount of battery power and Apple has always been careful about battery life.
Wireless Charging: A revolutionary way of charging mobile devices may see iPhone 5 gain mass appeal. The inductive wireless charging technology for the iPhone could juice up its battery without the use of cables or plugs. By utilizing a charging dock, the iPhone can charge its battery as well as share, sync or back up data at the same time.
Apple is experimenting with a new way of charging the 2012 iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reported in July. It is unclear exactly what charging mechanisms Apple is exploring, but it is possible that the company is considering using induction charging or some other similar wireless system that would obviate the need to plug in a cable. Combined with wireless syncing coming in iOS 5, wireless charging could truly make the iPhone a cable-free device.
Fire-proof iPhone: Another speculation is that iPhone 5 will be a fire-proof phone. Apple has filed a patent application for an advanced halogen-free flame retardant material which could be used in future Apple products.
Rumors suggested that the new material will be integrated into the manufacturing of Apple products like keyboards, mouse, iPods, the iPad, cabling and more. Apple's invention provides for a halogen free resin composition that includes at least one thermoplastic polymer, an inorganic filler and a flame retardant additive that is described as being self-fire extinguishable.
Near Field Communication: NFC allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and connections with a touch. It is a digital wallet system that allows users to swipe their phone instead of swiping their credit card.
A smartphone or tablet with an NFC chip could make a credit card payment or serve as keycard or ID card. Globally, 100 million people use mobile payment outside the U.S., but only 3.5 million use the technology in the U.S. It is expected that iPhone 5 will have NFC capabilities.
Battery: iPhone 4S, which has a Li-Po 1420 mAh battery, gets up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM). The latest iPhone also has a standby time of up to 200 hours, much lower than iPhone 4's 300 hours standby.
It is speculated that iPhone 5 will come with a better battery matching Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch's Li-Ion 1800 mAh, which is not the best on the face of the planet but at least it easily lasts a day or two with good use.