Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 5 at the Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) 2012, which will take place in San Francisco from June 6 to June 10. The newest report, which quotes analysts from Japan's second largest securities brokerage Daiwa Securities, also confirms last week's report leaked by a Chinese Foxconn employee, stating that Apple was gearing up to produce the iPhone 5 for a June 2012 launch date.
The iPhone 5 will continue to utilize glass-to-glass (G/G) touch panel technology, which will benefit current touch panel suppliers TPK Holding and Wintek, said the Daiwa analysts. Their statements were published in China's Commercial Times.
At WWDC 2011, Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new Mac OS X Lion operating system, the new iOS 5 mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, and the iCloud platform. In 2012, Apple could easily top last year's performance by introducing the long-awaited iPhone 5.
Apple customers who bought the iPhone 4 when it launched in June 2010 will have their two-year contracts up for renewal this summer, which would be a perfect time for Apple to debut a new iPhone model. The iPhone 4S, released in October, looked identical to the iPhone 4 but improved upon its predecessor with a faster A5 processor, a better antenna system, a much improved camera, and the beta AI virtual assistant Siri. Apple will look to improve upon its highly advanced smartphone in the iPhone 5.
Earlier reports of the iPhone 5 stated the next-gen smartphone will feature an improved version of Siri, which may come out of beta by June, as well as a bigger screen. In November, Hitachi and Sony reportedly began shipping 4-inch LCD panels for final production of new iOS devices believed to be the next-generation iPhone. Upgrading the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen to a 4-inch display would require a rebuilt Retina Display, but a bigger screen would help Apple compete against phone makers that make bigger screens, such as Samsung, while also providing a more immersive iPhone experience.
Most recently, the unnamed Foxconn employee said Apple was ready to begin production on the iPhone 5, although there were various sample devices floating around the floor. Nevertheless, the Foxconn source said there are a number of common features among the smartphones, including displays that measure at least 4 inches, and a longer and wider form factor that does not match the iPhone 4 or 4S. The source added that the phone's depth was not drastically changed, and the iPhone 5 will not have a thin teardrop shaped back.
Apple's next iPhone may also include a number of the company's recently granted patents, including NFC functionality to complete sales transactions and share work across multiple devices, as well as its crack-resistant glass solution. A shock mount between the glass and the body of the device will instantly inflate if the device senses it's falling, which is determined by the device's internal accelerometer. An actuator within the device sucks in the cover glass as it accelerates to the ground, protecting it from damage.
The next iPhone will also reportedly feature 4G LTE, according to Will Strauss, president of market research firm Forward Concepts. LTE, which stands for Long-Term Evolution, features significantly higher download and upload speeds compared to 3G technologies, but the current implementations of LTE in phones appear to cause very short battery life, which is a major complaint by users.
If Apple wanted LTE in its prior iPhones, it would have been forced to increase the phone's thickness to accommodate a larger circuit board and a bigger battery. Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an earnings conference call in April 2011, said that first-generation LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises.
LTE didn't make it in time for the iPhone 4S release, but in December, reports surfaced that Qualcomm was developing a new, thinner LTE chipset, Snapdragon, which is considerably smaller than current LTE chipsets. The new chip is expected to debut in the second or third quarter, but it looks like Apple may have the first smartphone to test drive the new chip.
LTE included the iPhone 5 is a very distinct possibility, given that Apple is reportedly also including LTE as an option for its next iPad. Code found within an iPad 3 prototype revealed that one iPad 3 design will feature only Wi-Fi, while another model will feature an option for Wi-Fi, embedded GSM and CDMA (like the iPhone 4S), and global LTE for all carriers.
Many believed Apple would introduce the iPhone 5 in October, when the Internet was flooded with photos of a thin, large-screen iPhone 4. The photos were thought to be doctored until a Chinese website discovered similar mold engineerings of an iPhone 4 with a noticeably larger screen that stretched from edge to edge. The mold looked to measure 3.7 inches. Even though these features were forgotten when the iPhone 4S was introduced, it's possible that Apple just held onto the design for a later release.
Apple wants its next generation of mobile devices to look beautiful, and the company is reportedly working on giving its devices greater pixel density. Apple's iPhone 4S features a 960 x 640 pixel resolution at 326 ppi, but if the iPhone 5 receives a bigger screen with more pixels the Retina Display, it would be a superior device for watching movies, reading news, playing games and viewing detailed images, from PDFs to X-rays to MRIs to 3D architectural renderings. Even text will appear rich and razor-sharp. Sources say Apple's next iPad will double the pixel density of the iPad 2, boasting a display resolution somewhere in the ballpark of 2048 x 1536 pixels.