Apple Bytes #1: iPhone 5 – iPad 4

Considering splashing out on an iPhone 4S after the summer hols, or saving up for an iPad 3 in the sales after Christmas? Hold that thought!

If you, like me, love Apple products, then you know that half the anticipation is saving up the money to buy your desired object of desire. However, timing is everything, and there’s no worse feeling than buying something the week before it’s price is halved, or the next version is released.

So the iPhone 5 (will it be called the “new” iPhone or the iPhone 5?), was initially expected to have hit the shelves last year, so the next new iPhone should follow Apple’s handset schedule and arrive this September.

And, if half the rumours are to be believed, some of which is based on the plethora of newly filed patents from Apple, what can we expect on it?:

i) An HD front facing camera: seems unlikely, as having an HD camera just to run FaceTime (WiFi-based video-call) does seem a tad over-spec’d.

ii) Tactile touch-screen; haptic technology is still in its infancy, but the goal of manufacturers of this “touch-screen with vibration-based, tactile feedback” technology, is to replicate a kiss – the porn industry will make billions if they ever can!

iii) Made from or at least coated in revolutionary, lightweight liquid metal casing; no – not the phone of choice for Robert Patrick’s T-1000, but a new alloy with strong anti-corrosion & drop-proof properties: there will for sure be an updating of the materials used: only the capacity to make enough could rule out ‘liquid metal’

iv) It won’t be quad-core: Apple enhances user experience via software more than it does upgrading the hardware specs. It’s more probably that the iPhone 5 will just beef up the dual-core with improved graphics (just like the new iPad) – rather than going quad-core. This is also the trade-off that improvements in battery technology are always one step behind silicon performance (and that includes upping the onboard RAM). And other enhancements will be demonstrated by faster start-up, a burst mode and easier sharing to key apps e.g. FaceBook.

v) It probably won’t physically shrink: consider that the iPhone 4S is a market-acceptable size, and new iPad was actually thicker and heavier than the last one, Apple may well keep the existing size to a accommodate component or screen enhancements. Or even grow it if Apple opt for the much rumoured addition of a longer 4″ (16:9) widescreen display for HD video playback and an extra row of apps

vi) The standardised USB connector port could change; Apple uses a proprietary encrypted bridge chip which you have to license from then if you want to build an MFi (Made For iPod) product. This pretty much dismisses the requirement for Apple’s bespoke connector – especially as it’s more desirable to connect data via WiFi or BlueTooth. Phones are all meant to charge via micro USB as standard today, too, so maybe Apple will follow suit for a change.

viii) The main camera will probably remain at 8 mega pixels, with video at 1080i, in order to get the best of connectivity to the new Apple TV, say.

ix) Contrary to popular web-chatter there will be no NFC (near-field communication). Apple won’t risk trying to lead the market on a technology it doesn’t control or proliferate. Once you starting seeing NFC used on parking meters for payment, then they’ll add it!

x) Expect 4G/LTE telecomms as per the new iPad… expect it to be just as useful (right now!)

iPad 4 – March is quite established as “new iPad release” season, and 2013 is set to see the 4th iteration of Apple’s ground-breaking tablet arrive – much cloned, seldom bettered. Suggestions are that it will move to a quad-core design, and rumours still abound regarding a hi-tech polymer (i.e. non-metal) case, although this seems to fly in the face of the current design’s excellent heat dissipation properties.

From experience, I’ve learned that within weeks of the new devices being released, Apple will discount the existing range, for example, when iPad 3 was released, the iPad 2 16GB was available for £329. If you travel outside of the EU, you can probably pick that up for the equivalent of £250… a far cry from iPad 3′s starting price of £399! It’s also worth checking out the refurb section of the Apple store website as well.

Finally, expect within the next twevle months, more connectivity offerings from Apple, in-line with the likes of Apple TV. Apple biggest rival is Samsung, and if Samsung ever get all that domestic electrical hardware in your house to talk to each other, then Apple have got a real problem.

GS Reporter: Silverfox

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