I had a vaguely interesting (maybe “interesting” is a bit of a stretch) conversation with a fellow geek recently, in which we discussed the iPhone 4S. Y’know, the usual stuff; “Why did it take so long to release when it’s not that different to the iPhone 4?” That kinda thing.
At one point we wondered if Apple could’ve gotten away with calling it the iPhone 5, but quickly shot that idea down in flames due to the identical form factor. However, it did get me thinking about what Apple might include in its radically different iPhone 5 when it does finally land.
Here are some random things we may or may not see. My guess is pretty much as good as anyone else’s right now, I suppose.
1. Overhauled design
Again, this is the main reason Apple fanboys are currently snapping up an “iPhone 4S” as opposed to an “iPhone 5”. The iPhone 5 will inevitably be super-slim, possibly with a thicker-at-the-top thinner-at-the-bottom teardrop design.
The sooner we see the back of 3D, the better. It’s cheap, gimmicky, and adds nothing to anything (er, other than literally adding a third dimension visually). Would you want to watch The Godfather in 3D? No sir, you would not.
To date, HTC and LG are the only major manufacturers to embrace autostereoscopic nonsense, though Samsung is rumoured to be working on a Galaxy 3D.
The difference is: those manufacturers have a huge array of devices. Apple, on the other hand, is surely unlikely to force the nascent technology on such a huge portion of its userbase. Surely.
Having said that, Apple does have a penchant for taking existing technology and suddenly making it must-have. A 3D iPhone. Christ, what a world that would be.
Depending which analysts you listen to, NFC is either about to explode onto the scene in a colossal life-changing way, or – at the other end of the speculation spectrum – it’ll be a few years yet before we’re ready to embrace contactless payments.
NFC was talked about a lot in the early days of iPhone 5 rumours (back when we thought we were getting an iPhone 5 this year), but the chiefs at ye olde rumour mill ultimately concluded that Apple wasn’t quite ready to adopt the technology.
Indeed, by the time Apple fired out its “Let’s talk iPhone” invitation, NFC had pretty much been dismissed entirely.
However, NFC is beginning to take off, slowly but surely, and of course there’s now Google Wallet to contend with.
There are whispers that Apple’s NFC system might link in with users’ iTunes details, using their existing debit/credit card info to make payments. Interesting.
4. A bigger display
I was pretty stunned that after a 15-month wait Apple stuck with the 3.5in display size it first introduced in 2007. We’re living in big-screened times, man. A 4.3in display is pretty much standard for flagship phones at the moment (though obviously Samsung is pushing the proverbial boat out even further with the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note, not to mention HTC's giants).
If the iPhone 5 comes along with a 3.5in display, I will literally eat my hat (fortunately I don’t have a hat).
So that’s my two cents. I reckon we’ll see a teardrop iPhone 5 with a bigger display and possible NFC action. I don’t reckon Apple will touch the camera much (since the iPhone 4S’ snapper is significantly better than the iPhone 4’s), and hope to Allah the Californians don’t popularise 3D.