Turning long-running speculations into fact, Apple sent out invitations Tuesday, confirming a special media event related to the next iPhone, aka the "iPhone 5," in San Francisco on Sept. 12. The event is scheduled to take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10 a.m. PT.
Over the last several months, the tech world has been flooded with multiple reports, speculating on the next iPhone's expected features. Thanks to numerous leaked photos and videos of the alleged components and casings of the iPhone 5, in addition to detailed information about the device's specifications like the enlarged screen size, new display technology and other internal modifications, people now have a pretty clear idea about what the sixth gen iPhone will offer.
However, the one thing that still remains a mystery is the name of the handset. While "iPhone 5" is the heavily rumored name, there are some people who think that the Cupertino tech giant will drop the numbering system this time and simply call its new smartphone, "The New iPhone," as was the case with the third generation iPad that was named "The New iPad," instead of "iPad 3."
But now, as per the official Apple invite itself, it seems that the new iPhone could well be called the "iPhone 5."
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The invite, which seems to have the most minimalistic graphics by Apple so far, carries an image of a big "12" with its shadow showing a big "5." As one can easily guess, the "12" obviously suggests the date, Sept. 12, while "5" very likely points to "iPhone 5." The text of the invitation is also quite simple and reads, "It's almost here."
According to AllThingsD, the next week's event is one of two special showcases that Apple is expected to hold this fall. The company is likely to hold the second event in October for the unveiling of a smaller version of the iPad, highly rumored as the "iPad mini."
As far as the release date of the iPhone 5 is concerned, the already rumored Sept. 21 (Friday) availability still looks the most possible one.
Will Apple iPhone 5 Excel Samsung Galaxy S3?
With the official confirmation of Apple's iPhone 5 media event in hand, the most obvious question in terms of the device's success is - Will the new iPhone outclass its toughest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S3?
Samsung's Galaxy S3 has already proved what it is capable of. The handset recently played a key role in making the South Korean giant the leading smartphone manufacturer in the world.
The smartphone also reportedly outsold Apple's iPhone 4S in the United States in August. Interestingly, it was the first time since it was launched that the iPhone 4S's position as the bestselling phone in the U.S was challenged and surpassed by another phone.
According to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, writing in a note to clients Tuesday, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the best-selling device at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile USA, whereas the iPhone 4S remained at the top only with AT&T.
Citing Walkley's note, Jay Yarow of BusinessInsider said that "if Samsung is beating Apple in October, then Apple has a big problem on its hands."
"We believe this is the first month since the iPhone 4S launched in October 2011 that it was not the top selling smartphone in the U.S. market," Walkley wrote.
"However, our checks indicated strong consumer interest and likely demand for the iPhone 5, and we believe Apple will return to strong number one smartphone share in the U.S. post the iPhone 5 launch."
As noted by iDownloadBlog, market research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has made similar claims. It says that smartphones with screens measuring four inches and above have been enjoying increasing market share. Almost one-third of all devices sold in the last three months had a screen size of more than 4.5 inches.
If rumors are to be believed, Apple does have the screen size issue in mind this time around as the new iPhone is expected to have a larger 4-inch display, incorporating the in-cell touch display technology. Given that, it will be interesting to see how consumers respond to a taller iPhone should it feature a bigger screen.
While Walkley talked about the Samsung Galaxy S3 outselling the iPhone in the U.S., Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster's estimates indicated that Samsung's presumed lead would be transitory.
Apple Insider reported, citing Munster, that Apple could sell a total of between six million and 10 million new iPhone units in the last week of September, if the company's suppliers keep up with the pent up demand.
If Apple reaches this mark, it "would result in an 8 percent upside to Wall Street's current projection of $35 billion in revenue, and 12 percent upside to earnings per share of $8.46," said the report.
Although analysts expect Apple to report sales of between 22 million and 23 million iPhones in the September quarter, Munster believed that the launch of the new iPhone this month could drive the total sales to touch the 28 million mark.
How Popular Will The New iPhone Be?
According to a survey by TechBargains in August, more than 74 percent of the iPhone 4 and 71 percent of the iPhone 3GS owners were willing to go for the upgrade while 64 percent of iPhone 4S owners were planning to switch.
On the other hand, 22 percent of Android phone users and 38 percent of BlackBerry users expressed interest in dumping their current handsets for the new Apple iPhone.
The survey of over 1,300 people also revealed that most smartphone users prefer a device that comes with longer battery life, a faster processor and 4G LTE connectivity. A bigger screen and microSD were the fourth and fifth popular features respectively that users want in their devices.
From what is rumored, the iPhone 5 is expected to come with a larger 4-inch screen with in-cell touch technology, a uni-body design and a smaller 9-pin dock connector. The device is likely to run on iOS 6, which would be completely scalable to a larger 640 x 1136 display.
The device is expected to be powered by a much-improved processor. Other talked-about features include 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC), 1GB RAM, improved Siri, liquidmetal casing, an 8 megapixel (or even higher) rear camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and a much-improved battery life.