As consumers brace for the next release of the iPhone this summer, analysts, insiders, and tech-geeks a-like are digging up the dirt and casting their predictions for what could become the next phone in the highly popular, award-winning series. After the jump we'll look at the popular rumors and predictions that are circling the tech world right now, some backed by anonymous, upper-management Apple employees.
- The first prediction is a fairly safe bet: the next iPhone won't be a radical redesign of the iPhone 4. Instead, it is anticipated to have similar physical features but perhaps tweaked and improved innards like the iPhone 3GS.
- one radical prediction, however, does involve drastically truncating the iPhone 4 into what some were calling an iPhone Nano. The Wall Street Journal reported that someone who saw the iPhone first-hand said it was about half the size of the iPhone 4 and contained a screen that went to the edge of the phone, with no bezel. Interestingly enough, the New York Times recently published a story with official backing from employees that a smaller iPhone is not in the works. Apparently a reduced size iPhone would not dramatically lower part costs and many app developers would need to re-design their apps to be compatible. Apple says one of its biggest advantages against the Google Android market is their consistency of software which contrasts with Google's larger variety in their phones.
- What does seem to be in the works is a much cheaper, value iPhone. Overseas, iPhone buyers don't have the benefit of heavily subsidized rates from their service providers. If Apple created a phone that is cheaper from the outset by cutting back on some technology (such as lower MP camera) they might be able to drastically increase their international market. Those who are still in the US, however, and have been waiting for a good deal should check out AT&T who are now offering 3GS's for $49 with a 2 year agreement
- Another physical feature that might change could be the screen size to a full 4" display. This could be a way to help the iPhone compete against the Android market and their larger screen sizes.
- Apple might be saying sayonara to the "home" button as they further continue their push to remove physical interactive elements from their devices.. With a recent iPad software development release, four and five finger gestures are now possible, allowing navigation back to the homescreen with a hand gesture. Could Apple be looking to integrate this functionality with the iPhone and remove the single button that is consuming valuable real estate?
- Perhaps the most likely upgrades will be internal: speed and capacity related advances. Some suggest the iPhone could see an A5 processor upgrade as well as more RAM and maybe a cloud-based storage system? (Apple is also apparently heavily revamping MobileMe to allow users the ability to host their iTunes content on the cloud so to sync with a phone no longer needs a cable at all.)