After showcasing its software prowess at the WWDC event with the launch of iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion, Apple is gearing up to launch its next iteration of the iconic smartphone iPhone.
Delay in launching the iPhone 5 underscores the fact that Apple sensing threat from the new breed of Android phones which were launched during and post-CES Las Vegas event. Android phones like Samsung Galaxy S 2, HTC Sensation and Motorola Atrix, which have carved a new category called superphones, pose a substantial threat to iPhone's dominance.
Apple followed its tablet launch schedule when it released the next version of its game-changer tablet iPad, the iPad 2, in March. However, Apple has completely rejigged its iPhone launch schedule. Traditionally, Apple released its iPhone at the WWDC event in June, but this year Apple refrained from releasing the iPhone 5. Also Apple went against its vow of secrecy and announced that it would be showcasing iCloud, iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion at the WWDC event. A ploy to dampen any expectations that iPhone 5 will arrive in June.
Embedded in iOS 5 firmware was the information that Apple is working on releasing two iPhones possibly in September. A date derived by the omission of iPod touch in the iOS 5 beta config files. The failure to mention iPod Touch has raised expectations that Apple will use the customary September iPod Touch event to launch the iPhone 5.
If Apple follows the September launch, then it will meet a new breed of transformers - Android phones which convert into a tablet and PC with the use of a dock. And a key player in this domain is Motorola Atrix, although recently Asustek Computer launched a new phone called Padfone which can be docked to a tablet.
The most recent rumor circulating around the web sphere suggests that Apple is set to start selling unlocked iPhone 4 which will be appealing to international travelers. Most recent rumor about Motorola Atrix as reported by MobileFun suggests that Motorola will be launching a SIM-free or unlocked Atrix model from Aug. 2 in Europe.
Superphone Motorola Atrix is powered by Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core chip. It runs on Motorola's customized Android 2.2 or Froyo build called Motoblur. It sports 1 GB RAM and has 16 GB of internal memory. The smartphone has 4-inch display with 960x540 screen resolution. It weighs 4.8 oz which is similar to iPhone's 4.8 oz weight. However, Atrix packs a bigger screen and better specs under the hood than an iPhone 4.
Motorola Atrix also sports a 5MP rear-facing and a VGA front-facing camera. It offers 720p video capture capability. It is 0.43-inch thick while the iPhone 4 is about 0.37-inch thick.
Compared to these features the next rendition of iPhone, the iPhone 5, can match the Atrix if the Apple device is adorned with the rumored features. It is expected that the iPhone 5 will use the A5 dual-core chip which currently powers Apple's iPad 2. A recent report confirmed that Apple has placed an order with OmniVision to supply 90 percent of the 8MP camera sensors for the upcoming iPhone 5.
Another rumor suggested that iPad 2 users who ran iOS 5 were able to playback 1080p videos on the tablet. This has led Apple fans to believe that iPhone 5 which will certainly run on iOS 5 will be endowed with similar capability. It is also rumored that the iPhone 5 will sport a larger curved screen. All these features will hold iPhone 5 in good stead against Motorola Atrix.
However, Motorola Atrix is a different breed among the smartphones as its real power comes alive when it is used with its docking peripherals, primarily its laptop dock and HDMI dock.
The laptop dock has an 11.6-inch display with 1366x768 screen resolution and a full keypad. The laptop is powered by a software called Webtop which is a Linux-based OS. Once the smartphone Atrix is placed in the docking cradle, the laptop comes alive allowing users to access the content on the smartphone on the larger laptop screen. The phone can be used to make and receive calls in the laptop environment while running the apps in separate windows. The only app the laptop runs outside the phone is the Firefox browser.
Motorola Atrix also packs a HD Dock which comes with USB ports and an HDMI output jack. It also offers a remote for navigation.
Motorola's strategy to place all the intelligence on a smartphone which can be accessed by multiple devices bodes well for the company as it is primarily a hardware seller. Atrix with a laptop dock costs $499.99.
Apple also earns by selling hardware. However Apple's strategy is to create a platform around which it weaves an ecosystem of apps and content which can then be accessed through multiple devices. One wonders if Apple will come up with devices which have docking facilities since it goes well with Apple's strategy to make its devices compatible with peripherals it manufactures. Apple devices are compatible with only Apple peripherals.
Recently, Asustek also showcased a new docking concept with its Padfone. The Padfone docks into a tablet instead of a laptop. The tablet-phone combo comes with a 10.1-inch tablet dock and a 4.3-inch smartphone. It is expected that the smartphone will run on Google's latest version of Android for phones, the Ice Cream Sandwich.
Whether iPhone 5 will also have docking features is subject to assumption still. Other rumors suggest that iPhone 5 will come with voice recognition feature since Apple has been in negotiations with Nuance Communications Inc, NFC-enabled iWallet to counter Androids Google Wallet, a world phone with a SIM-less design which is both CDMA and GSM network compatible and, of course, a thinner phone.