Apple iPhone 4
Apple's iPhone 4. Apple

The most-anticipated device of the year, Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5, is already facing stiff competition from Android smartphones amidst all rumors. The release date of the iPhone 5 is growing closer as the latest rumor has revealed that retailer Best Buy is set for an October launch.

A Best Buy source released a document to, which shows that the store is anticipating the pre-sales and also that Sprint will be carrying the iPhone 5 at the launch of the new device.

Meanwhile, the next iteration of the iPhone is expected to boast of significant hardware and software upgrades, along with an 8-megapixel dual-LED flash camera and A5 dual-core processor found in the iPad 2 to give stiff competition to other dual-core smartphones found in the market today.

Apple is rumored to increase the screen size of iPhone 5 to compete with Android smartphones, probably going for a bigger edge-to-edge 4-inch curved glass screen, compared to the current iPhone 4 screen of 3.5-inch with multi-touch display.

Apple may boost the speed of its A5 chip in the range of 1.2 or 1.5 GHz with 1GB RAM. The iPhone 5 would feature iCloud that will store photos, apps, calendars and documents instead of the phone's memory storage.

Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5 as a World Phone - both GSM and CDMA compatible. Another rumor suggested that the iPhone 5 will feature a SIM card slot for other countries except the U.S, allowing users to insert any SIM card when traveling abroad.

Meanwhile, here's a look at the top Android smartphones features that will be missed in iPhone 5.

Near Field Communication (NFC) Facility: Previously, a rumor that Apple will prepare its next iPhone with NFC had gained impetus when Google released Google Wallet, its NFC-based mobile payment feature, in May.

NFC technology can transform the device into a convenient way for payment and device communication. NFC has potential for more than just money transaction. The technology could offer features that allow multiple mobile devices to sync for speedier information exchange and gaming.

It was also said that Apple had disclosed in some of the meetings that it won't feature NFC on the next iPhone. The Independent said that Apple will sacrifice NFC in its next iPhone due to lack of industry standards about the technology.

Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi cited that Apple will not adopt the NFC-based mobile payment feature in the upcoming iPhone 5 until Apple is convinced that the technology's chicken-and-egg-problem is solved, as the NFC requires widespread consumer adoption and critical mass with merchants.

4G LTE: Any phone coming with 4G technology has to bear higher component costs than any other smartphone coming without it. The iPhone 5 has very little chance of being 4G LTE compatible. In fact, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless chips required for the faster speeds in Thunderbolt cost an extra $39.75, according to industry researcher IHS.

Also, given the size of the LTE chip, Apple iPhone's minuscule printed circuit board (PCB) will have to grow in size in order to support the first-generation LTE base-band processor as well as all the supporting chipset, which is in clear contrast against Apple’s plans to deliver a lighter and thinner smartphone.

So most likely, iPhone 5 will not be featuring 4G LTE support. Never a day passes without consumers using their smartphones for online searches, banking, bill payment and for booking tickets online. 3G doesn't offer the cutting edge and the demand for more speed has become a necessity now.

Peter Misek, analyst at Jefferies & Co. had stated that Apple will not release a 4G LTE in iPhone 5 this year as Qualcomm’s LTE chipset, which Apple would have used, were not reaching the yields that Apple expects for its iPhone 5.

Keith Bachman, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, also stated that Apple won’t release a fourth generation phone data transfer on 4G network that will severely impact iPhone's battery life.

Operating System: As Apple unveiled iOS 5 at the WWDC 2011, rumors about changes and improvements in iOS 5 are constantly surfacing.

The iOS 5 will now be arriving with iPhone 5, and analysts are saying that the Android operating system features are copied by iOS 5. They added that Apple has borrowed a few features from Android, most notably: cloud synchronization, notification center, over-the-air updates, photo sharing and Twitter.

Android OS is an open-source system. The open-source movement has inspired increased transparency and liberty. It also constitutes an example of user innovation. Being made publicly available enables anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees.

This is also a double-edged sword, in the sense, it allows those with less-than-ideal intentions to discover any weakness of the phone. But that can be seen as an indirect plus, because when weaknesses are found in the open source community, they are quickly fixed. There is hardly any cap on how much you can tweak your Android experience. The same thing cannot be expected in the iPhone 5.

Display Size: With a 4-inch display screen considered ideal for a smartphone, the possibility of Apple featuring a bigger screen seems remote. Apple previously moved its base of operations from Japan to Taiwan in the hope of finding “more cost-effective sources,” and Apple is unlikely to spend so much just to increase the screen size. But on the other hand, most of the smartphones that have Android OS will come with a 4.3-inch screen.

3D Display: There are couple of 3D display smartphones in the market. However, it doesn't seem to be featured in Apple's next iPhone. For the most part, 3D functionality works best on larger screen sizes. Therefore, 3D would make sense on the iPad, but not for iPhone 5.

Flash Integration: Apple’s unwillingness to include Flash has taken away the experience of accessing full Flash Web sites, watching Flash videos, or playing Flash games. Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to Web pages. A previous estimation suggested that 95 percent of PCs have it. Adobe, however, claims that 98 percent of U.S. Web users and 99.3 percent of all the Internet desktop users have installed the Flash Player. Flash, recently, has been positioned as a tool for Rich Internet Applications.

Battery: Although the iPhone 4 has an amazing battery life, it is still limited. The batteries are also not replaceable. Like every battery ever made, it’s going to lose the ability to hold a charge over time. The fact that previous versions of iPhone did not feature a removable battery means even the iPhone 5 will likely not have it.

App Integration: Application integration allows users to send messages and files back and forth between systems, transforming the messages and automating the process. The process also provides end-to-end and real-time connectivity between internal applications, existing Web-based applications and other software products. The true benefit of internal application integration is that it allows businesses to computerize and manage end-to-end business processes that involve both human and electronic operations. Apple is yet to showcase anything like this.

Google Voice is available on the iPhone as well as Android phones, but it’s altogether a different experience in both. Other iPhone apps always direct you to the default dialer and visual voicemail apps, so even if you want to use Google Voice, you have to manually navigate to it yourself, but that’s not the case with Android. In Android, Google Voice integrates directly with the operating system. That means, when you try to make calls with Google Voice, as you click on a phone number in your browser or in Google Maps, it goes through Google Voice instead of sending you to the wrong dialer.

Computer-Smartphone Adaptability: One of the major features of Android smartphones is that there are a few apps that can be controlled from the computer. The iPhone 4, however, has to be Jailbroken to allow the same. But it is not the same as using a separate app that accesses its base functions, similar to the ones used in Android.

Over-The-Air (OTA) Updates: OTA has become an increasingly important feature for new updates and services as mobile phones accumulate new applications and become more advanced every day. The updates are sent out by the carrier and the Internet is needed to receive them. Apple, however, may not introduce such a feature now. Currently, Android devices are updated via OTA method.

Expandable Memory: Over the years the iPhone has offered impressive internal storage (from 8GB to 32GB), however, some iPhone users are unhappy over the lack of a memory card slot, which can expand the handset’s storage capabilities and provide a quick and easy way to back up data. On the other hand, almost all the Android smartphones have an external memory card slot.

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