Prior to Apple's WWDC event where Apple will showcase its cloud offering iCloud, iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion the media is abuzz with what Apple will not launch in the conference - the iPhone 5.
A plethora of reports about what the next iteration of Apple's smartphone will possess has inundated the web sphere. The reports primarily revolve around the following rubric: iPhone 5 launch date, an 8 MP camera, A5 chip, iOS 5, a 4-inch display, 1080p output, curved glass screen, a SIM-less design and 3-4 internal antenna's for both GSM and CDMA networks.
However the best way to predict the critical minimum that the iPhone 5 needs to have is to look at the current breed of Android phones primarily the Samsung Galaxy S2. Apple recently filed a lawsuit against Samsung charging it of replicating its iPad, iPhone and iPod designs in Galaxy series of Android devices. Here are the key areas where Apple is compelled to make changes in the upcoming iPhone:
The Samsung Galaxy S II is merely 8.5 mm (0.33-inch) thick while the iPhone 4 is 9.3 mm. Thus it is likely that Apple will follow its iPad 2 mantra and make the iPhone 5 slimmer. Apple has been consistently reducing the iPhone's thickness. The iPhone 3G was 12.33 mm and the iPhone 4 is about 9.3mm thus it seems likely that iPhone 5 will be slimmer than its predecessor.
Also the Samsung Galaxy II sports a 4.3-inch display which is in keeping with other high-profile Android phones display sizes. Motorola Atrix has a 4-inch display while HTC Thunderbolt has a 4.3-inch display. In keeping with this it is rumored that Apple will bump up the iPhone 5 screen size to 4-inches from the existing 3.5-inch display.
The Galaxy S II is the only phone among the Android stalwarts which features an AMOLED screen. However the chances of Apple placing an AMOLED screen on iPhone 5 are less, as recently DigiTimes reported that component makers have confirmed that the capacity to meet Apple's AMOLED screen demand is not there. Also a major chunk of the present AMOLED demand is met by Samsung, thus Apple would refrain from attempting to depend on Samsung for the supply of AMOLED screens. Component makers also confirmed that there has been a surge in demand for small-to-medium sized AMOLED screens which is primarily causing a shortage in capacity. Thus component makers will not be able to meet Apple iPhone's rumored launch date of August 2011.
The Samsung Galaxy S II sports an 8 MP camera, so do HTC Thunderbolt and Sensation. It was earlier reported by WSJ that Sony would be supplying an 8 MP camera for the upcoming iPhone. Apple's iPad 2 was derided for its poor quality rear-facing camera. Thus in the present scenario where the major Android phones have powerful cameras, Apple cannot fail to play lame.
In the Android world, most of the recent crop of phones like Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Atrix and HTC Thunderbolt and Sensation are powered by dual-core chips. Samsung Galaxy S II uses dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP GPU Orion chipset processor. Thus the competition necessitates that iPhone 5 possess a faster chip. Apple recently fitted the iPad 2 with a faster dual-core ARM-based A5 chip. It is likely that A5 will also power the iPhone 5.
Samsung Galaxy SII is powered by Android 2.3 or Gingerbread and recently Google revealed its plans to offer the next version of Android for phones the Ice Cream Sandwich combines the features of its tablet specific OS Honeycomb and smartphone OS Gingerbread. The new Android version will bring features like face-tracking, camera focus and voice recognition to the OS. It is expected to arrive by Q4 2011. In such a scenario Apple's iPhone 5 will surely bring iOS 5 with comparable features.
Recently Google released its NFC-enabled mobile payment platform, Google Wallet, which enables users to make payments at the point-of-sale (POS) by merely tapping the phone. It is currently available on Nexus S 4G phone but by doing so Google has just raised the bar for Apple and the iPhone 5. And thus there is a possibility that Apple plant a similar feature on iPhone 5.
The above stated features are the critical minimum that Apple has to do to stay in competition. However Apple certainly knows how to surprise and already has a few things in place like iCloud which can steal the thunder from Android devices. It's the first time that Apple is not leading the pack but has to play catch-up with Android.