News out of Taiwan in the past day or so seems to indicate that Apple’s next iPhone may be due around the middle of September – of course, MegaTech News readers already knew about this weeks ago. The China Times is indicating that Hon Hai is preparing to ship the first 4 million units in September which started production during the month of July. The September launch date also seems to line up with information coming out of Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom, which recently has dropped hints at a new promotion around the first week of September.
Keep in mind also that Apple has traditionally held media events during September for their iPod line of products. All indications also point to iOS5 appearing in September which adds valuable features including cloud based access for both iPods and iPhones. Add one and one together, and we seem to come up with three – meaning there are a lot of things converging in the same time period, further strengthening the case for the next iPhone’s appearance.
Clearing Up the iPhone 5 Rumors
MegaTech News has been reporting on iPhone related events for the past few weeks. We had previously speculated on what we believed the next iPhone to include in terms of specifications. Reports from other media outlets over this same period have variously indicated that the next iPhone will feature a tapered design like the iPad, while others have indicated that the next iPhone will be near identical to the current iPhone 4. Screen size has also been reported to be the same 3.5″ retina display or a larger 3.7″ panel. Therefore, we thought we’d just add our own $0.02 worth on these conflicting views.
This is significant for a few reasons. The relocation of the LED addresses the “light interference” issues Apple admitted they had with the white iPhone 4, which was the real reason for its launch delays. There has been speculation and evidence that Apple is changing the LED supplier from Philips to a dual-LED module from a Taiwanese vendor. A dual-LED would probably afford better lighting performance, and with the changeover to an 8MP module, low level lighting shots at low ISO speeds become more critical. The redesigned cover also allows Apple to move away from the glass back panel on the current iPhone 4 which has been problematic.
Also it was revealed that some people in Hon Hai lost their jobs a few months back when photos for new iPhone case designs from Chinese vendors appeared on the web, also with the hole for the LED moved to the opposite corner from where it is currently situated on the iPhone 4. At the time, it was a mystery why the LED had been moved. We now have a solid explanation for this change, and we also know for certain that this information must have been leaked from someone within Hon Hai with access to actual iPhone protoypes and design information.
The final bit of anecdotal evidence is actually non-evidence. To our knowledge, only fan-made renderings of a redesigned iPhone 5 with a tapered back resembling the iPads have been found on the web. So far as we know, there has been no direct photographic proof anywhere to confirm this speculation. Given the leaky nature of the web in regards to the iPhone, don’t you think we would have seen some proof of this by now?
And What Of the Retina Display?
There are also a few bits of evidence to support Apple’s continued use of the current 3.5″ retina display. First of all, we should consider that the original 3.5″ display existed on three generations of iPhones from the initial 2G through to the 3G and 3GS. The iPhone 4 was the first product to move to the higher resolution retina display, and the change was so dramatic that it caused no small amount of consumers to upgrade from prior generation iPhones just for that reason alone.
Certainly, this implies that generational changes in the iPhone design do not necessarily hinge on the LCD used, and that any LCD changes should probably have a very dramatic “wow” factor. We’ve seen this tendency repeated in the 9.7″ LCD used in both the iPad and iPad 2 as well. So the current weight of history doesn’t support Apple changing from a 3.5″ to a 3.7″ LCD right after the debut of the 3.5″ retina display on the iPhone 4.
Second, we also know what a stickler Steve Jobs is about the industrial design for Apple’s products. For months now, we’ve seen renderings and even prototypes of what a 3.7″ LCD would look like in the current iPhone 4 package, and the result is a bit “meh.” You come away with the distinct impression that the larger LCD was somehow shoehorned into the existing design due to the loss of the left and right side bezels.
This is most definitely not how Steve Jobs normally operates. If and when Apple moves to a larger LCD, Steve Jobs would make sure that the design accentuates the larger screen and that the result must be beautiful – which also leads us to believe that a change to a larger LCD would most probably necessitate a completely new design. We know from previous reports of Apple’s purchase of 200-300 glass cutting machines that curved glass is in the works, but this will probably not show up until the next iPhone 6 iteration.
So, No Bump in Screen Size?
We can’t completely discount that Apple may go to a larger 3.7″ LCD for the iPhone 5 due to the fact that many high-end Android OS smartphones competing with the iPhone are already using larger 4″ displays. However, we also know that more screen real-estate does not necessarily equate to a better viewing experience. Many of these 4″ screens sport a resolution of 960 x 480 which is still considerably lower in quality than the 960 x 640 resolution on the iPhone 4.
Despite the smaller 3.5″ display on the iPhone 4, images are still of higher quality and sharper on Apple’s retina display than on any other 4″ display currently on the market. Jobs Mob has never been about following others, and it’s doubtful Apple will change to a larger LCD just because everyone else has done so. They’ll take their time and do it right. When they change to the larger 3.7″ display, it will also provide the same type of “wow” factor as when the retina display was first introduced.
Thinner, Faster, Better?
Again, we expect the new iPhone 5 to sport the new A5 processor, have an updated 8MP camera on the back and in general have a very iPhone 4-like design. It should continue to use the same 3.5″ retina display, and come in 32GB/64GB models. We also expect the design to be a bit thinner than the iPhone 4 and have the same or better battery life.