iphonelife.comIt’s that time of the year, and we couldn’t be more excited! Tomorrow at 10 a.m. Pacific time, Apple will host a special eventat its Cupertino campus, where it is widely expected the tech giant will announce a new version of the iPhone. In addition to complete coverage through iPhonelife.com and iPhone Life magazine, we’ll be live Tweeting the event and commenting live as all the new products are announced.
Because Apple has a history of being very secretive about its products prior to release, we usually start to see a stream of rumors and leaks the weeks and months leading up to the main event. We’ve seen everything from questionable blurry photos of supposed new iPhones to videos showing parts of the new iPad 5.
The bottom line is that although no one is ever completely sure what Apple will end up unveiling, we can usually make a pretty strong prediction—especially after seeing the patterns of the last few years. We’ve been right most of the time before, so here’s a roundup of all the recent rumors and leaks that we’ve seen, and what to expect from this year’s announcement.
What to Expect:
Following the naming pattern of previous iPhone versions (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5), we expect Apple to name the new iPhone, the "iPhone 5S." Generally speaking, at least for the last couple of versions, the number in the name only goes up when the outer design and form factor of the iPhone changes, which we don’t expect with the 5S. We saw it with the iPhone 4, which had a different shape and design from the 3G and 3GS, and we saw it with the iPhone 5, which sports a larger screen and is thinner than the 4 and 4S.
As far as rumors go, here are the main features we expect on the iPhone 5S:
- Faster processor: As is common with every new iPhone, the new version usually has a little more power and speed under the hood;
- Better Camera: Rumors say the new camera may have a higher megapixel count (up to 13MP), and a dual LED flash, which would improve low-light camera shots;
- Fingerprint Sensor on the Home Button: This rumor started to make the rounds since Apple acquired a Fingerprint Sensor Patent from AuthenTec last year. To make sure the fingerprint sensor doesn’t get damaged, Apple may possibly use Sapphire Crystal for the Home Button, which is an extra durable material that doesn’t get scratched easily;
- Gold: The iPhone 5S may feature a new choice of color: gold! At first I thought this was a joke, because the idea of a gold iPhone just seems tacky and not very sleek and techy. But after seeing some supposedly leaked videos, the gold iPhone could actually work.
We also expect the iPhone 5S to use the same 4G/LTE network speeds as the iPhone 5, and feature the same (or slightly better) amount of battery life, which is currently around 8 hours of talk time and 10 hours of video playback.
The most exciting possible announcement would be the rumored iWatch. With Google Glass coming next year (I have a pair!), and the recent release of Samsung’s own smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, the wearable gear space is starting to heat up.
An iWatch would likely pair with your iPhone, but not replace it. It could theoretically keep track of vital signs in a similar way as the Nike FuelBand, and offer a whole new level of insight into your daily activity. With a whole new world of possibilities, the wearable tech space is an exciting space to, um, watch.
Mac Line Refresh
We might see a refresh of the entire Mac line, with the exception of the Macbook Air, which recently got upgraded about 3 months ago. I expect to see improved specs for the Macbook Pro, Macbook Pro with Retina Display, and iMacs. If it doesn’t happen now, it’ll likely happen at another Apple event, later in the fall.
What Not To Expect
New iPad 5
Sorry folks. I don’t think we’ll see a new iPad announcement, at least not yet. Apple announced the 4th-generation iPad and the iPad mini at a fall event last year, and even though we’ve seen a few leaked videos showing what the new iPad will probably look like (it’ll be similar in shape to the iPad mini), I’m betting that Apple will wait until the fall to stay consistent with a once-a-year schedule.
The battle for the online payments space has shown no clear winner, and so far, Apple has not wanted to jump into the ring. For those of you unfamiliar with NFC technology, it’s basically what would allow you to make payments from your mobile device by simply waving your phone in front of a register or tapping it on some sort of point-of-sale terminal. Apple introduced the Passbook app last year, which is sort of like a payments solution, but not really. One of the many challenges around wide implementation of NFC, is getting enough retailers to provide NFC-capable terminals to receive payments from mobile shoppers. Until that happens, having NFC technology on your iPhone can't really solve a major problem.
This is by far my favorite Apple rumor, although I have to admit I’m the one that has been actively trying to make it catch on, in the hopes that Apple will be forced to do it (that's how it works, isn't it?). Apple holds a patent for the ability to create a shell out of solar cells that can act as the casing for an iPod-like device. Unfortunately, Apple holds many patents for products that may never get created, but this one has the potential to turn the world upside down. Can you imagine a solar-powered iPhone that doesn’t get drained during the day because it’s constantly being charged by daylight? Mind=blown.
There you have it folks, pretty much everything we’ve heard from our side. What about you? What have you heard? What product would you like to see Apple create in the future?