Monday, June 11, 2012

What hardware do we expect from the iPhone 5

What will the next iPhone bring. Guesstimating what the next iPhone 5 (lets just call it that for now) is always a difficult thing, Apple tending to go its own way, and convincing the market that its 

A larger 4-inch (640 x 960) display. Rumors abound the next iPhone having a 4.08-inch, 640 x 1136 resolution display. This one does not make much sense to me. While I would love an iPhone with a larger display, a a 4.08 inch 640 x 1136 will essential just make it a longer one. It will add one more layer of icons and the portrait keyboard, will remain the same. At the same time it will require app developers to modify the 500,000 apps already released to come up with a longer iPhone 5 version of their app, as well as a shorter iPhone 4S and 4 version. 

It won't make the information displayed by the iPhone bigger. It won't make buttons and other control elements easier to manipulate. 

I would really much prefer a 640 x 960 inch iPhone with a larger 4-inch display. This will retain a sharp 275 ppi density, will be compatible with all existing apps and will make reading information from the phone. Anyone who says a 275 ppi pixel density will look more pixelated is simply too drunk on retina display marketing. The iPad "3" only has a 264 ppi density. People have examined the iPad 3's display with a magnifying glass and do not see the pixels even under those conditions.

Does the 640 x 1136 have any credibility? Yes. This will give the iPhone 5 a 16:9 display which is what is need to optimally play HD content, ad opposed to the 3:2 ratio of the current one. But there seem to be more reason to keep the current resolution.

If Apple move the iPhone to a higher 16:9 aspect display, resolution, Apple might as well go with a 720 x 1280 resolution.

Dual Core ARM Cortex A9 1 GHz processor (32 nm or 28 nm process). We do not expect the iPhone 5 to come with a faster processor. Apple has not increased processor speed since March 2011 with the iPad 2. The iPad 3 uses the same processor as the iPad 2 but with more RAM and faster graphics. This really is just to support the iPad 3's higher resolution display. But overall, the iPad 2 is the move powerful device, having more excess resources than than iPad 3. Game developers have to disable some features on the iPad 3 version of their games that are available in the iPad 2 versions.

We do expect the iPad 3 to be supported to run all apps for the next 2 years, at least. Because of this a faster iPhone will be a waste. There wont be any apps developed in its lifetime that will need faster processing.

Better battery life. What Apple can do is migrate the A5 chipset to from the 45 nm architecture to 28 nm (like the Qualcomm S4) or 32 nm (like the Samsung Exynos Quad), and improve power management. This could bring 20-40% better battery life. 

This is a given. While Apple users still believe that the iPhone has excellent battery life, it actually is pretty much on par with the best 2011 Android and Windows Phones, and falls behind the latest Android's.

1GB of RAM. With 1 GB of RAM, a iPhone 5 could have better multitasking. Even if we do not expect iOS apps in the next 2 years which need more processing power than a dual core 1 GHz processor, more RAM it never a bad thing. Apps running in the background is more important to a smartphone than a tablet.

LTE. While not much relevance to readers in the Philippines, the next iPhone will have LTE. Most likely, this will not be compatible with the LTE networks Globe and Smart are rolling out. But, to be competitive in the US, the iPhone 5 needs LTE.  

HSDPA 21.1. When the iPhone 4S was released in 2011, it came with an HSPA 14.4 Mbps radio. The reason is that no major US network uses the faster 21.1 Mbps standard. In countries like the Philippines this is disappointing, with phones from late 2010 already coming with HSDPA 21.1 connectivity, and the local networks supporting this standard. The iPad 3 has HSDPA 21.1 Mbps support, so we do expect the iPhone 5 to have the same.

Improved faster camera. Android 4.x phones have zero or near zero shutter lag, and can take pictures in burst mode without degrading image quality. This feature is now six months old. I do not expect that Apple will bring a faster camera to the iPhone as well.

1.3 or 2 MP front camera. Despite the fact that Apple only allows Facetime on WiFi, it limited the front camera to a low resolution VGA one, to maintain streaming quality. The new is faster, and Apple will likely boosts improve the iPhone 5 front camera. Those VGA Facetime stream don't look all that good on a iPad 3. 

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