Well the leaks have started for real - or at least the rumors have started in earnest - about the next iPhone release.
In part, the noise has a bit of credibility behind it as long-time Apple analyst Peter Misek of Jeffries - who has put out some of the "possibilities" behind the next latest and greatest iPhone - is usually more right than wrong about these things. Odds are now definitely leaning toward Apple delivering the iPhone 5S at its June 2013 World Wide Developer's Conference - well ahead of its usual mid-September iPhone launch dates of the last few years.
Blame the rapid pace at which the competition is putting mobile devices out there. Not only will Apple need to respond to this rapid pace, but it is also a key consideration underlying the belief of some analysts that there is also a cheaper iPhone in the works (by which we mean cheaper in terms of actual cost to Apple so that the carriers can get them out the door for very few dollars when they are introduced).
There are also financials-based thoughts on this - the current release cycles Apple has established demonstrably shows that users will hold off on purchases, which now translates into either lean or fat quarters for iPhone sales, rather than a more balanced yearly sales output quarter over quarter.
How Pretty will it Be?
First, let's get the visuals out of the way: Misek believes Apple will take an iPod color scheme approach (like the one shown below) to the next iPhone, and deliver it in a range of six to eight colors. It's possibly a cue taken from Nokia's Lumia 920 approach. The Lumia has been doing exceedingly well in the European market, and Apple may very well have taken notice of this. Nokia's bright colors (even the "black" polycarbonate body is bright in our opinion) are attractive and for a lot of people may in fact make a real difference.
We ourselves hope to see bold and vibrant colors in addition to the usual Apple set of pastel colors.
Image via gizmag.com
Another thing Apple has no doubt noticed is that Nokia's Lumia 920 camera - along with its "stability" capabilities" is indeed a superior smartphone camera design. HTC's new large DNA smartphone has also introduced super high-quality camera, HD video capability and enhanced screen. Apple has a huge stake in the photo and video side of the business on a far larger scale that merely smartphones; no doubt it understands that it must keep up with the competition that matters here - and both Nokia and HTC are setting the bar higher than Apple's iPhone 5 delivers on.
Apple must raise the bar from its end.
Toward this goal, Misek believes Apple will deliver a new high end camera capability, "super HD" or whatever marketing comes up with, but fully backing marketing terminology hype with real high-end technology.
Along with the super HD we may very well see an even higher resolution screen show up - or at least one that is "faster" at rendering visuals.
As far as the iPhone 5S screen/display is concerned, it’s very possible that we'll see a first application of IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide) screen technology, a next-generation, super-thin display capability that Apple's new display screen partner Sharp has been working on and announced back in April 2012.
This will be very interesting to see happen.
We will also no doubt see upgrades to the usual suspects - a faster processor - possibly the A7 next generation chip, and perhaps along with heftier video capabilities more internal memory at the base price level.
Now that would be a great gift from Apple.
Lastly, there are two last things we might see. First, we noted this the day the iPhone 5 launched - that it was notably missing NFC but that our belief is Apple needed something new to offer in the next iPhone and that NFC would be it. Even though we aren't completely convinced that Apple will go the NFC route (it has much yet to do with Passbook, some of which may greatly mitigate the need for NFC - we'll see) or it may very well look to offer the user choices - an iPhone with or without it.
Competition is such that it needs to probably add NFC capability in order to be "feature complete" with its competitors.
Second, perhaps Apple will deliver on true "over the air" wireless charging! We know they have patents in the works on this and wireless charging that doesn't require a charging pad would be a game changer for us. It's those little things that make Apple different and this would move them back into a position of truly raising the bar yet again
We've noted many times over that Apple needs to deliver innovation in order to remain on top. Clearly there is some room to innovate in an iPhone 5S release (a panoply of colors isn't it - but think IGZO and wireless charging). The good news for us is that all of our contracts for our family plan expire in August 2013 - great timing for us if the June announcement date holds up! We believe it will.
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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