Android devices have stretched their displays to 4.7, 4.8 and even 5.3 inches, while Apple has held firm around the 3.5-inch mark. With its next iPhone, however, analysts say Apple will offer a display that's at least 4 inches (on the diagonal).
A Slimmed-Down Profile
The next iPhone will use a technology that integrates touch sensors into the LCD, eliminating the need for a separate touch-screen layer, the Wall Street Journal reported July 17. This would not only slim down the phone but improve the display quality—and save Apple a few bucks.
Look Like the iPad
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a May research note that the firm believes the iPhone 5 "will have a completely redesigned body style, which may more closely resemble the metallic rear panel of the current iPad." This could be a very good thing—while the glass housing on the iPhone 4S is arguably attractive, it's heavy and more likely to crack. Korean publications have similarly reported that the next iPhone will feature a "liquid metal" design.
An Improved, If Not Swappable, Camera
Last month AppleInsider dug up a patent Apple had filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Titled "Back Panel for a Portable Electronic Device with Different Camera Lens Options," it showed a device with a sort of double backing, one of which could be removed, seemingly to grant a user better access to the camera lens. This could also help explain the change to a metal back cover, from the current glass.
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Connectivity
This one's a no-brainer. Not only are there far too many LTE-enabled devices on the market for Apple to not get up to speed (as it were), but the carriers have been aggressively building out their networks. T-Mobile, which has yet to offer an iPhone due to incompatibilities between current iPhones and its network, has said that LTE will enable it to support more devices, "such as the iPhone." You don't have to tell us twice.
October Sales Date
Analysts have for some time now pegged the likely sales date of the new iPhone for October. On July 16, the tech blog Know Your Mobile, citing a "reliable industry source," said the iPhone will be introduced Aug. 7 and go on sale sometime in September or October, offering some hope of a shorter wait.
A Quad-Core Processor
The Samsung Galaxy S III has one, and the Taiwan-based DigiTimes has said the next iPhone will, too. The result of this, the report added, will "heat up" the competition in the fourth quarter. Whether Apple will use its A5X or get crazy and upgrade to an A6 is anyone's guess.Â
Near-Field Communication (NFC)
Pundits expected NFC to be included in the iPhone 4S—which everyone, of course, referred to as the iPhone 5 at the time. It would be shocking were Apple to forgo it again, especially since both Samsung and Sony have introduced programmable NFC tags that significantly expand the usefulness of the technology beyond mobile payments.
Apple showed off the latest version of its mobile OS, iOS 6, at its Worldwide Developers Conference June 11. The OS includes more than 200 new features, a drastically improved Siri and a mapping app from Apple, instead of Google. There's zero chance it won't be running on the next iPhone.
Steve Jobs Blessing
This is no small thing. When Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs died in October 2011, there was a twitter of fear that Apple's magic would disappear with him. In May, citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that Jobs, before his death, had work closely with the Apple team to develop the upcoming iPhone.