With just under a week to go before Apple is widely anticipated to debut the latest iteration of its game-changing smartphone, the iPhone, one last batch of rumors is making the rounds before the press event Sept. 12 in San Francisco, including a report from U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, which said the iPhone 3GS will be retired as the entry-level iPhone in that country, to be replaced by the iPhone 4. A report in Reuters said Apple is cutting orders from archrival Samsung, which provides several core components of Apple products.
In the report, an unnamed industry source said Apple had dropped Samsung as a supplier of memory chips for the new iPhone, commonly referred to as the iPhone 5, in favor of Japan's Toshiba, Elpida Memory and South Korean manufacturer SK Hynix. These three companies will provide the dynamic RAM and NAND flash memory components of the handset, according to the report.
"Samsung is still on the list of initial memory chip suppliers (for new iPhones). But Apple orders have been trending down and Samsung is making up for the reduced orders from others, notably Samsung's handset business," the source told Reuters.
The report comes in the wake of a bruising court battle over patents between Apple and Samsung. The two companies have been battling it out for smartphone market share, with Samsung pulling away in recent months, thanks to the popularity of its Galaxy S III smartphone, which recently passed the 20 million sales mark after only 100 days on the market. Following Apple's success in the courtroom, the iPhone maker is now attempting to block sales of the Galaxy S III.
The expected enhancements for Apple's latest smartphone include a larger 4-inch screen (the Galaxy S III has a massive 4.8-inch display), 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, near-field communication (NFC) capabilities, a reconfigured charging dock with fewer pins and a more powerful battery. The latest purported photos of the iPhone 5's battery showcase a longer design with a thickness almost identical to the iPhone 4's battery, albeit with a relocated connector.
The rumors regarding a larger screen and thinner design were two leading reasons for consumers' plans to upgrade to the new iPhone, with nearly 60 percent and 50 percent of respondents, respectfully, citing these reasons, according to a recent survey by consumer electronics trade-in site Gazelle. The survey also suggested pure excitement was an additional factor, with nearly 90 percent of respondents stating they "felt an adrenaline rush" when they were looking at newer, better technology. According to the survey, more than 83 percent of respondents are planning to upgrade to the new iPhone.
In anticipation of the iPhone 5's purported 4G LTE capabilities, AT&T, the original carrier of the iPhone, announced it was expanding its 4G coverage in Alaska, California, Florida and New York. The carrier's competitors, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint, have also been busy this year expanding their 4G coverage as mobile data traffic continues to grow and consumers demand faster data download speeds and more reliable coverage.