Irresponsible Speculation About Today’s iPhone Event

This time, Apple has done a good job of keeping the next-gen iPhone a secret. Aside from some hints purportedly provided by Asian case-makers, a slip in iTunes code that suggest an ‘iPhone 4S’, and some wishful thinking about a new iPhone 5 that predicts the same approximate form factor as the MacBook Airs, we really have no idea what’s going to happen later today (1 PM EDT/10 AM PDT).

There are a ton of websites out there that have cast their opinion on what Tim Cook will announce in a few hours (man, it’s hard not writing ‘Steve Jobs’); I find the most cogent among them this piece by John Gruber.

Still, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t throw out what I feel will come to the supplicating masses. So below are a few of my guesses, and let it be known that I have no idea whatsoever is actually coming.  Hence, guesses.  Here goes:

  • First, an iPhone 4S will be announced, which will basically be an iPhone 4 with the A5 CPU (same as what’s in the iPad 2) and some upgraded internals. Capacities might also rise to a 64 GB ceiling. On this model, I can see the camera staying at the current 5 MP rating.
  • An iPhone 5 will be announced, and I’m one of the few who still think it will have a different form factor than the iPhone 4S. I can’t see the iPhone 5 looking exactly the same as the 18-month old iPhone 4 and (if it’s announced) the mid-market iPhone 4S. Whether this new form factor is ‘teardrop’-shaped like the rumor suggests I have no idea, but if pinched I would say yes, it will have some resemblance.
  • If there is indeed a iPhone 5, I expect a larger screen (3.7″ or 4″) and new, 8 MP camera with a stronger flash in a different location on the back side of the case. I also expect an improved battery and even 4G support (even though 4G is the greatest battery hog ever).
  • The iPhone 3GS will be discontinued; I can’t see Apple selling it into 2012. The low-end model will be the iPhone 4, the mid-market product the 4S, the flagship the 5.
  • We’ll get a demo of the latest build of iOS 5, in which I expect to see a full demo of Assistant, the voice-operation technology that’s essentially a marriage of Siri (which Apple purchased a couple years ago) and Nuance (with whom Apple is rumored to be working). I expect Apple’s implementation to finally get voice right: it wil be easy and extremely accurate.
  • I see the iPhone 4S/5 being available just before the end of October. Ditto for iOS 5.
  • Finally, I expect Sprint to be added to Apple’s stable of iPhone carriers. In fact, this seems to have already happened.

So there you have it: complete speculation by a guy who has no affiliation whatsoever to anything Apple.

Oh, and let’s be clear about one thing: if there is only an iPhone 4S announced (better CPU and camera), people will whine and cry like you’ve never seen before. On one hand, they’d be silly to: the iPhone 4 is Apple’s most successful mobile device ever. On the other hand, it would be a bit disappointing to see what amounts to a CPU bump and camera upgrade after 18 months. Other handsets are advancing nicely, and I don’t think this is the time for Apple not to knock them all back on their heels a bit and give them something new to try and copy.

There you have it. Complete and utter groundless speculation.  Agree? Disagree? Think I should be working for Apple? Let me know in the comments.


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