Saturday, April 13, 2013

You want iphone 5s

The build up to the launch of a new iOS device is always paved with rumors, speculation, and mostly unfulfilled promises. Every year the tech world and the regular world collectively obsess over Apple’s newest device as images leak and insiders report.

If Apple’s typical naming scheme is to be trusted, we can basically guarantee we’ll be seeing the latest iPhone carry the title of 5S. Though some say this will only be one of three models set to launch in 2013. All signs point to a nearly identical design on the outside with all the changes taking place under the hood. From there, the rumors range from absurd to virtually certain and we try to tell you which is which along the way.

iPhone Mini

A smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone has been talked about for the past few years, and this one is no exception. The latest has it priced at $330 and aimed to increase Apple’s current 10 percent market share in China. The price is crazy low, especially because this is reportedly what it will cost to nab an iPhone Mini unlocked.

4.8-inch screen

Original rumors teased the larger 4.8-inch iPhone as the Math. If hearsay can be believed, the Math would be one of three iPhone versions with the regular one we know and (some of us) love and the smaller, cheaper iPhone. It gets confusing when rumors start pointing to a $330 price tag, which is the same as the proposed iPhone Mini. Reports also tease the large iPhone will come in a variety of colors and be made from a polycarbonate body, much like the discontinued non-Pro MacBook.

There are a couple problems with this proposed iPhone version. Apple chooses screen sizes very, very carefully and only recently upped the iPhone 5 to a 4-inch screen, which forced developers to modify existing apps to work with the new size. Apple wouldn’t want to force another redesign so soon. The polycarbonate body seems like a move in the opposite direction too, considering Apple’s fascination with aluminum these days. Also that name does not mesh with Apple’s notoriously crystal clear branding. It relates to numbers, but make it sound more like a calculator than a high-end device.

Flatter, more modern iOS 7

Ever since it was announced that Jony Ive would be taking over iOS development from Scott Forstall, all eyes have been on iOS 7 and its possible metamorphosis. Changes are expected to be major, especially since the report that resources from the OS X team have been reallocated to work on iOS instead, which is in danger of missing its deadline at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

Ive is expected to flatten and modernize the criticized skeumorphism that is littered throughout iOS. We saw the beginnings of this in the revamped podcast app, but a wider range of changes would certainly take a lot of time and effort to implement. Apple’s mobile OS is in need of a shake up to compete so this is a welcome transformation. However, it is still unclear whether the seventh iteration will be ready in time for the iPhone 5S.

Leaked pics show similar look

Way back in December 2012, photos of the next iPhone showed up online. Confirming suspicions that the newest Apple hardware would be a bump up for the 5, rather than a radical design change. Think 4S, not 4. Though the outside will stay the same, the internals looked a little bit different. The images also prompted speculation of a dual-SIM iPhone, which would definitely be a game-changer.

New A7 chip not by Samsung

It’s no secret that Apple is looking elsewhere for its internal parts. Traditionally, Samsung has been the manufacturer behind Apple’s A series of chips that power Apple’s mobile products. Apple’s now rumored to have tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as the manufacturer for the upcoming A7 chip. The next-gen chip isn’t expected to begin production until 2014 though, so it seems unlikely we’ll see it in the iPhone 5S.

Revamped display tech

This one is pretty minor and won’t make much of a difference to the user, but Apple is reportedly looking for an alternate display technology. The old tech, which combined display and touch sensor for a thinner screen, is thought to be causing interference problems and also may be behind the shortage a few months back. The new technology – called “touch-on display” – is similar to the old, but will offer better touch sensing with less issues, said to be provided by Chimei Innolux.

13-megapixel rear camera

This one originated with iLounge, which published information pointing to an upscale camera being included in the iPhone 5S. The update would hit the rear camera and bump it up to 13-megapixels while tossing in a heftier flash.

The new camera certainly follows the trend of more megapixels equaling better photos, but it would seem more likely that Apple would continue refining the software side of its camera, rather than throwing megapixels at it.

Wireless charging, NFC, and fingerprint scanner

Apple recently filed a patent application for Wireless Power Utilization. In basic terms, this means there is a good chance Apple is joining the growing line up of devices that can handle charging sans cable.

According to the oft-mistaken China Times, Apple may finally give in to the pressure of NFC with the latest iPhone. The rumor states a fingerprint scanner will join the added feature, but that seems incredibly unlikely. A fingerprint scanner is gimmicky and unreliable at best, unless Apple’s found some way to perfect it 

That’s what we know so far, but the rumors are constantly rolling in and nothing is certain until the iPhone is officially announced. Most exciting is what Jony Ive will be able to do now that he has more control over the user experience. We’re certain iOS will have a fresh look before the year’s end. Are there any items on your wish list you’d like to see in the next iPhone or is this all becoming a drag?

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