I will be the first to come clean and admit that I wasn’t entirely right in my predictions for the next iPhone. However, consider that through most of August, there were two distinct opinions on the matter with one camp firmly convinced the next iPhone would be similar to the current iPhone 4, and the other camp just as convinced that the next iPhone would be a completely new design.
In a perfect example of truth being stranger than fiction, it hadn’t occurred to too many people that all the conflicting rumors and innuendo were actually true and that Apple actually planned to introduce TWO new iPhone models this year. After all, despite Apple being a company of firsts, it’s just something that had never been done before. Hindsight being 20/20, it’s now clear why there was evidence leaking onto the web in support of both cases.
The question of whether or not a low cost version of the iPhone 4 will come out has been effectively put to rest by a screencap presented earlier in the day by Engadget. The clandestine photo was taken off of AT&T’s internal system which shows a new “iPhone 4s White” entry, along with all the known iPhone models currently available.
In light of these revelations, it would seem that my assertions for the next iPhone 4S would need to be revisited and revised. The new plastic case checks out, as it would definitely be cheaper than front and back Gorilla Glass. The new plastic enclosure also allows the phones to be made thinner than the current iPhone 4. To keep costs low, Apple will maintain the current A4 processor, 3.5″ retina display, 5MP rear/1.3MP front cameras and probably limit the iPhone 4S to just 8GB of internal FLASH memory.
It makes perfect sense for Apple to create a new line of cheaper iPhones to drive sales of these devices into spaces that the top-of-the-line iPhones currently can’t address. The target markets would be younger users, such as students, or users in developing countries. Google and Android powered phones have been a serious thorn in Apple’s side for the past year and Apple needs something to combat this looming threat to their smartphone market dominance.
As far as the iPhone 5 is concerned, just last week a slip up by Case-Mate resulted in a vivid graphic of new iPhone 5 case designs showing up on their website. It was quickly pulled, but it had already been assimilated by the Borg, er, Apple fanboy collective.
True to form, the case clearly shows that rumors of an iPad-like curved back on the iPhone 5 were indeed correct. Furthermore, the cutout for the camera module seems to also confirm Apple’s move back to an aluminum or other metallic material for the iPhone 5′s back cover. Oddly enough, an image of a supposed new screen protector film for the iPhone 5 showed up the same day from Unwire.hk. The two shots suggest that the iPhone 5 does indeed have a new, elongated Home button, and that the new LCD screen is probably the rumored 3.7″ unit by virtue of the current iPhone 4 being smaller than the screen protector.
Some revision is required as well for the iPhone 5, with roughly half of my original predictions showing up here. We can expect the dual-core A5 processor that powers the iPad 2 to be the heart of the new iPhone 5. It appears to house a larger 3.7″ LCD retina display in a redesigned body with a curved, metallic back. The rear camera module is expected to be an 8MP unit, with the front camera still using the current 1.3MP unit from the iPhone 4.
I had also postulated that we may see a 64GB version as the top-end model for the new iPhone 5, but this is now looking less and less likely. Given that Apple is constrained to hit a specific price point for new, top-of-the-line iPhone’s, and that they intend to make as much profit off the hardware as possible – the only place Apple could save money would be by not increasing the amount of FLASH memory. Furthermore, considering the tense relationship between Apple and Samsung, putting too much FLASH into the new iPhone in a very tight FLASH memory market also increases risk.
So that’s my take on the whole iPhone saga in a nutshell. Hopefully, I won’t need to eat these words and come out with a version 3.0.