As the season wears on, the next-gen iPhone rumors continue to spew left and right. But do any of them really give an accurate idea of what we’re about to see in Apple’s next handset? A lot of people were hoping there’d be some announcement (or even a strong hint) at Apple’s media event on Wednesday, but there was no word. Outside of Apple itself, no one can predict the future – but a lot of people have been trying! So as a public service, I created a short list of some of the gossip and predictions so far and offered a few notes on what I think their likelihood might be. (If I’ve overlooked any, go ahead and add them into the comments below.)
So if you’re saving every last penny to pick up a new iPhone, and are wondering whether it’s worth it to wait or not, take a look at the following and see if there’s a feature or spec that appeals to you. If so, you just might want to hold off a little while.
Camera: Word on the street is that the iPhone will carry a 5 MP camera. Keeping in mind that the first iPhone had 2 MP, the iPhone 3G had 2 MP, and the 3GS has 3.2 MP, it does seem reasonable to expect a 5 MP camera.
Processor: The processor is one of the most important aspects of a device. When you tell the handset what to do, it has to process the command (like a tap on an application). If your device has a slow processor, you end up with delayed and laggy performance. The iPhone 3GS had a 600Mhz processor, which by no means is shabby. The rumors floating around suggest that the next-gen iPhone will have a faster processor, and we can all but put our money on that. Another rumor, however, suggests multiple cores (two or more processors) are going to be implemented.
(EDITOR’S UPDATE: Since Apple’s own branded chips are going into the iPad, some speculate that the same chipsets are heading to the next iPhone as well. The iPad processor, which hits at 1 GHz speed, might indicate a boost in speed, as well as battery life, if it were implemented in the next iPhone. Though some pundits believe this processor is dual core, Apple has not actually come out to confirm or announce that yet.)
Memory: When the first iPhone debuted in 2007, it came in 4GB and 8GB flavors. Now, 2 and a half years later, we’re looking at devices with up to 8 times the storage. The 3GS has a 16GB and 32GB model, and people still want more. Recently, it was announced that Toshiba has created a 64GB chip. Since Toshiba is the manufacturer of the current iPhone 3GS chips, it is a possibility that they will continue being Apple’s supplier, and put their new 64GB memory chips in the next iPhone.
4.0 Firmware: In the past, Apple has released new software with its hardware update of the iPhone. The iPhone 3G debuted with the 2.0 Firmware, and the 3GS debuted with the 3.0 Firmware. To me, it only seems logical that the next version will be accompanied with the 4.0 Firmware. Some sources say that the OS 4.0 will feature multitasking, something (un-jailbroken) iPhones lack and, I think, they are in serious need of. (And the new OS would have far-reaching ramifications on the just-announced iPad as well. The tablet’s lack of multitasking has been one of its biggest criticisms.)
Verizon iPhone: I know many people who switched to AT&T just for the iPhone. This current phone works on a certain type of cellular network called GSM (which AT&T supports). But for a long time, there have been rumors of a different version that will grace Verizon’s CDMA network. When reports surfaced of Qualcomm working with Apple to create a CDMA iPhone, which would work on Verizon, some people believed this was validation of the gossip – that, in addition to the stories that the carrier was investing in its network, so it could sustain iPhone users’ data usage. While this may look promising to many iPhone-hungry Verizon customers, the rumored CDMA iPhone is far from clinched. (Personally, I’m not convinced.) Another rumor, however, points to a dual-mode GSM/CDMA device, which would be capable of working on all the major carriers – both AT&T and T-Mobile (GSM networks), and Verizon and Sprint (CDMA networks). Talk about the best of both worlds.
Which one of these rumors appeals to you most? Does a whopping processor whet your appetite, or does a Verizon iPhone? Not many of these rumors will pan out, but if even a few do, we are surely set for a great summer iPhone release.
By the way, if you’re curious about what a multitasking iPhone could look like, check out this concept video created by Ocean Observations. The company imagines a cover flow—like interface on it.
Special shout-out to Dave and Hollis for the edits!