iPhone, The Next Generation06 Jun 2010
All of the rumours are that the latest iPhone from Apple is imminent. It’ll be running the new Apple iPhone OS 4 for sure, but what will the fourth generation iPhone have in store in terms of hardware features? Well I’ve put together a list of ten things - five near certainties and five “wouldn’t it be cool if…” things.
First of all let’s take a look at the five highly likely updates:
1. Greater Processing Power
Moore’s Law would suggest that a new iPhone would take advantage of the latest developments in processors. Additional memory, cache and storage will allow the device to remain responsive with any increased overheads from the new OS version and additional hardware.
2. Better Screen
The iPhone’s capacitative touch screen is not only the display but also the key input device for the phone. A greater pixel density for quality of image is going to be required to keep up with other hand sets in the market. The iPad release earlier this year would suggest that the screen would be IPS rather than OLED, but it might also be expected that a new screen might be more sensitive to touch. The screen needs to not only be responsive to the touch, but perhaps there will also be more accuracy to touch - being able to detect finer touches with less pressure.
3. Better Camera
Previous iPhone cameras have been relatively low in terms of megapixels and so this is an easy area to make an improvement and I would expect this to be to at least 5 mega pixels. Hopefully the camera might also benefit from improved optics (for greater clarity and range of focus) and the introduction of an LED flash.
There have also of course been strong suggestions of a front facing camera. I’ve had several phones with such a camera built in and never used them. I guess the introduction of apps such as Skype might change the core requirement for these sorts of cameras and so this may be a good contender for inclusion.
4. Faster Data Connectivity
The new iPhone has often been touted as 4G - may this be representative not only of it being a fourth generation iPhone but also being capable of connecting to 4G networks? Hopefully this will be a step towards future proofing the device for another few years. At the very least I would hope that the WiFi chipset is able to connect to wireless-N networks to enable the fastest data transfer speeds when connected to a hot spot.
5. Better Battery
Of course in order to support the improved hardware there will no doubt need to be an improved battery. The amazing iPad battery life does suggest that a good battery life in the new iPhone is possible, but hopefully the weight will be comparable to that of the previous iPhones and the charging time will be suitably brief.
So that’s the obvious things out of the way. Here are five more things that would be great to have, but are probably not going to be flagged by any bookmakers as favourites:
6. Longer Lasting Home Button
The home button on my iPod touch gets used more than any other hardware button on the device. It has worked fine for many months, but is now starting to miss click recognitions occasionally and it seems to be gradually worsening. A home button on the new iPhone that is built to resist a greater amount of day to day punishment would be a very nice.
7. Add an Altimeter
Currently the GPS and digital compass give you a location on a 2D surface, but our world is not 2D. If you use any sort of augmented reality app, they assume that you are stood at ground level. Adding an altimeter would allow you to get a better overlay when using the app from say the top floor of an office building looking out over a city.
8. Add an FM Radio
Many hand sets are capable of receiving FM radio transmissions and whilst many broadcasters these days also stream over the Internet, the simplicity of being able to simply dial a frequency and use it in areas where data connectivity is not available or permitted is appealing.
9. Support for iPad Accessories
The iPad had some accessories launched for it that would be quite nice for an iPhone. The keyboard dock and the camera connector would be nice but possibly a little over the top or perhaps impractical. The VGA adapter however could be very useful in a pinch for delivering a demo or just watching a video.
10. Standard Headset Support
The iPhone supports the special 4-ring jack for a combined microphone and headset. It would be great if you could get an option for a standard twin jack arrangement. Most likely an adapter accessory this would allow me to use my favourite standard headset with the phone for any sort of call be it cellular, Skype or anything else.
So if the WWDC 2010 rumours about a new iPhone release hold true there should only be a matter of hours to go and I’ll get to find out if there are actually any surprises about the new hardware.