With the release of iOS 5 to developers, Apple has signalled the arrival of the much awaited iPhone 5. But when can we expect to see it, and how will it be different to the iPhone? As usual, the Apple rumor mill has been churning out specs for many months now but some seem much more likely than others so DaniWeb has attempted to separate the wheat from the chaff to bring you what we think is the most probable list of iPhone 5 specs.
Apple has already informed the world, well the world of app developers to whom the release of iOS 5 has been targeted in order for them to get working on creating and updating apps to work with the new iPhone 5 when it launches, that iOS 5 will come complete with no less than 200 new user features. Oh, and let's not forget the updated SDK which accompanies it and features a rather impressive 1500 new APIs.
So what are some of the most interesting of those 200 new user features we can expect to see implemented when iOS 5 hits the streets with the launch of the iPhone 5, which is now expected on September 7th according to most sources we have contacted? Well how about a BlackBerry matching messaging function called, naturally, iMessage? You want delivery and read receipts like the BlackBerry? You got it. You want secure end-to-end encryption like the BlackBerry? You got that as well. From what we have heard this really will be very similar to BlackBerry Messenger, and offer users the opportunity to send messages, photos, contacts etc to other iOS 5 users irrespective of hardware by way of either Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity. Best of all though, if you start typing a SMS text message and your iPhone sees that the recipient is also an iOS 5 user then it automatically switches over to iMessage which could be a potential money saver for many. Cool.
Other cool iOS 5 stuff includes much improved notifications which drop down from the top of the screen and can be accessed directly from the lockscreen for good measure. The camera can be used directly from the lockscreen, and the camera function also gets some basic photo editing such as red-eye reduction at last. If you want automatic background updating of newspaper and magazine content that pushes subscription items directly to your iPhone so the latest editions are waiting whenever you switch it on, then you'll love the Newsstand feature.
Some basic to-do list functionality has been added to iOS 5, called Reminders these work as expected apart from the nifty ability to remind you not only based on time or date but also on location. So a to-do reminder could be triggered when you arrive at a given destination for example, how neat is that?
Then there's the iCloud which will seamlessly integrate with apps to automatically keep mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music etc synced across all devices. Or how about the built-in Twitter integration that allows a single sign in to enable Tweeting directly from compatible apps? There's even a PC Free feature to allow users to set up an iPhone right out of the box without having to get anywhere near a computer. This wire-free approach applies to updates as well, with system updates being downloaded on a 'what has changed' rather than all you can eat basis at last. It's about time that the iPhone can sever the computer tethers, shame it has taken so long for Apple to get there though. Talking of taking so long to get there, don't expect to see Flash support in iOS 5 or you will be disappointed.
So what about the iPhone 5? Well it seems likely that we are in for yet another hardware redesign, with the glass back being replaced by an all metal one in order to finally lay to rest the antenna problems which left something of a blot on the iPhone 4 copy book. Reports out of China suggest a larger 4" display and an all metal chassis with integrated touch-sensitive buttons on the bezel. Truth be told, we do not seriously expect to see either on the iPhone 5. A bigger screen, yes, but 3.7" is the kind of size to expect. As for the Star Trek bezel controls, dream on until iPhone 6 or even 7.
Under the hood things are likely to get something of a speed bump with the inclusion on the dual-core A5 ARM processor as seen in the iPad 2, true 1080p output is one of the predicted results of this. Talking of things graphical, the iPhone 5 camera now looks like getting a serious upgrade to become an 8MP device.
We're hoping for a slightly larger screen, however, as shown in the leaked mould photos. The iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch screen, which is starting to feel teeny compared to the Android competition, despite its spectacular resolution. If Apple can boost the screen size and keep that eye-wateringly beautiful clarity, we'll be thrilled, especially if the company does it by shrinking the bezel around the screen, keeping the phone small. If Apple keeps the phone at the same size, it'd be hard-pressed to fit in a 4-inch screen, so we're on the lookout for something closer to 3.7 inches.
There has been a lot of speculation about the iPhone sporting a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip which would allow wireless payments, turning the iPhone 5 into a true digital wallet, but again we feel these are simply rumors at this stage. To be honest, given the Apple track record, we would expect to have heard rumors leaking about an Apple proprietary contactless payment system by now if this was the case.
All of which suggests that the iPhone 5 could actually be more of an iPhone 4S than anything, a stepping stone to the truly innovative technological advances that everyone expects from Apple. We will just have to wait until September to find out…
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .