In the Let's talk iPhone event, Apple Inc. unveiled iPhone 4S just to satisfy the feature-hungry fans with basic smartphone specifications. iPhone 5 remained a mystery after all, but analysts are expecting the Cupertino tech giant to release a 4G LTE iPhone 5 in 2012.
Apple is saving the iPhone 5 brand for the LTE version, and the new model won't arrive until the 4G LTE technology is ready to be used in smartphones, which won't be out until next spring, Will Strauss, president of market research firm Forward Concepts told CNET.
Strauss, who tracks companies such as Qualcomm that deliver the chips for 3G and 4G technology for smartphones, said Apple come out with LTE now. According to him, for Apple's taste, the current implementations of LTE technology in phones like the HTC Thunderbolt are too kludgy, CNET reported.
There are two chip solutions in LTE-capable HTC Thunderbolt, an LTE baseband (modem) chip, and a second one from Qualcomm for 3G voice connections, Strauss said.
There were reports that Apple was unhappy with the first generation LTE chipsets from Qualcomm that would make phones bulkier.
In April, Apple's then stand-in Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tim Cook, said 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.
According to a chip expert Anand Shimpi of Anandtech, iPhone 4's printed circuit board is not big enough to carry an extra chip to enable LTE without shrinking the size of the battery. He said a Qualcomm chip called the MDM9615, which will be capable of LTE voice and data that would fit Apple's phone specifications, is likely to come out in the second quarter of 2012.
Additionally, Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland expects the 4G iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 to arrive next year. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also expects an iPad 3 launch in calendar first quarter and an LTE iPhone in the first half of calendar 2012.
Analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets said in June that the all-new iPhone 5 would arrive only in 2012. We believe the iPhone 5 will launch in mid-2012, Bachman had written in a note.
So with these basic details from analysts fans could expect that Apple is preparing a phone branded as the iPhone 5, which will sport 4G LTE technology.
But what specifications could go into iPhone 5 as whatever was rumored before the Let's talk iPhone event came into the iPhone 4S.
The features of Apple's iPhone 4S include the latest iOS 5 operating system, iCloud, an A5 dual-core processor found in the iPad 2, a much-improved 8-megapixel LED flash camera with 1080p HD video recording, secondary VGA camera for video chat, alternating antennae for better call reception, world phone with CDMA and GSM support, retina display, a smart personal assistant called Siri, and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.
Just take a look at the fresh rumored specifications of iPhone 5.
Operating System: Apple's iPhone 4S, which is heading for an Oct. 14 launch, has iOS 5 that was announced at the WWDC 2011 keynote address on June 6. The iOS 5 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.
It is to be seen whether Apple is bringing out its next OS, presumably called iOS 6, at the WWDC in June 2012 along with iPhone 5. The next OS is likely to come with more than 200 new features apart from the current ones.
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: The iPhone 4S will come with iPad 2's A5 chipset. The phone will be powered by 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPUwith NEON SIMD accelerator and a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. Apple lists the A5 to be clocked at 1 GHz on iPad 2's technical specifications page, though it can dynamically adjust its frequency to save battery life.
The Apple A5 is a package on package system-on-a-chip designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung to replace the Apple A4. Apple stated that the CPU is twice as powerful and the GPU up to seven times as powerful as its predecessor - the Apple A4. The A5 package contains 512 MB of low-power DDR2 RAM clocked at 533 MHz.
Recently, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC) is believed to have quietly secured Apple's contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6's successor, according to a DigiTimes report.
We caution that this is an unconfirmed story and that Digitimes has in the past been inaccurate. Even if true, we estimate an Apple A6 order win would drive a modest 0.6 percent upside to earnings estimates in 2012 and 2.6 percent in 2013. Hence we do not see a confirmed Apple win as a re-rating catalyst, said Robert Lea, an analyst at Jefferies.
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, said Gwennap.
It is expected 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.
Design: Best known for their beautiful design, Apple is expected to adopt a teardrop design for iPhone 5 that is supposed to be slimmer and lighter than previous iPhone models. The new smartphone will come with an aluminum plate casing rather than the current glass backing.
Rumors suggest a more uniform design across all of Apple's mobile devices than ever before, as aluminum may be the consistent material used in the upcoming iPad 3 and iPod lineups as well.
Display: Apple's iPhone 4S is just an upgrade of its previous versions with 3.5-inch multi-touch retina display. It is expected that iPhone 5 will have a larger edge-to-edge display possibly with 3.7-inch to 4.0-inch screen. With major smartphone manufacturers opting for 4.3 inches as the ideal screen for their phones, it will be interesting to see what comes out on the new iPhone 5.
According to rumors, Apple and Samsung were collaborating to introduce the AMOLED screen technology onto the device. But recent legal battle between the companies has dimmed that hopeful speculation.
The Quantum Dot LED technology could be a possible delivery for the iPhone 5. The new technology needs less power consumption while delivering the same quality of an OLED screen. 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.
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 the same or 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, iPhone 5 is also expected to have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting.
Another speculation indicated that iPhone 5 will have a 3D camera. Apple has filed a patent application related to 3D picture taking to the US 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.
Home Button: One rumor that gets repeatedly mentioned is that Steve Jobs didn't want any physical buttons on the iPhone from the start. It is expected that iPhone 5 will have no physical buttons. However, a speculation suggest that the iPhone 5 may have a rectangular button compared to the circular one found in iPhone 4S.
iCloud: The 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 storag 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.
4G: Apple's iPhone 4S does not feature 4G LTE technology, but analysts believe Apple has saved LTE for the iPhone 5. LTE, which stands for Long-Term Evolution, provides significantly higher download and upload speeds compared to 3G technologies.
From very early on, industry experts were skeptical about Apple's chances of rolling out an LTE version this year. One reason was chipset supply issues and another was a worldwide lacunae in the implementation of the LTE network, which is seen as the standard for mobile communications in future.
Also, there were reports that Apple was unhappy with the first generation LTE chipsets from Qualcomm that would make phones bulkier. Analysts have said an iPhone-friendly LTE chipset would probably only come in 2012.
Apple's then stand-in Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, had 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 for Cook, 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.
Phones based on the MDM9615 will likely increase LTE battery life to reasonable levels rather than what we've seen from the first generation of devices, said Anand Shimpi, a chip expert and CEO of Anandtech.
Misek stated that Apple will likely launch the LTE iPhone in Summer 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.
Near Field Communication (NFC): NFC allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and connections with a touch. 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.
Apple is testing an iPhone that incorporates Near Field Communication technology. Users can simply pay for goods by waving their iPhone in front of a contactless payment scanner.
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.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was experimenting with a new way of charging the 2012 iPhone. 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 negate 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 rumor 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, mice, 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.
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 expected that iPhone 5 will come with a better battery matching Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch's Li-Ion 1800 mAh. Galaxy S2's battery life is not the best on the face of the planet, but it easily lasts a day with good use and can stretch out to two days with mostly calls and texting.
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