As the rumor mill gears up, it’s time to take inventory of what we should expect to see from Apple’s next smartphone. Apple is a rumor magnet among tech companies, but don’t believe everything you hear. Here’s what we think you should expect from the next iPhone and the logic behind it.
Will Apple’s next pocketable sensation be called the iPhone 5? When will it go on sale? And most importantly, why should you get excited now?
4G will leave 3G in the dust
In terms of design and elegance, the iPhone remains light years ahead of nearly all of the competition. But when it comes to its actual feature set, the iconic smartphone is missing some now-standard features that would be scandalous if left off of a new Android device. The big one? 4G.
As it stands, the new iPad is the only Apple device that’s 4G-friendly. The iPhone 4S might share a numeral in common with the next-generation network technology, but it only runs on on-their-way-to-outmoded 3G networks (and souped-up 3G “plus” networks like AT&T’s HSPA+). You can bet the farm that the next iPhone will include a 4G LTE antenna, letting next-gen iPhoners hop on the faster mobile networks in supported markets, including most major cities.
A larger screen
Apple’s Retina display technology is impressively pixel-rich, but it’s hard to appreciate all of those pixels on a display increasingly dwarfed by its peers. In a smartphone market where a 4.7-incher is the gargantuan new screen standard, the iPhone 4S remains a sane but too-small size. Sure, it’s easy to grasp and shoot off texts with one hand, but when it comes to streaming video and browsing the web, 3.5 inches is tiny.
Apple will undoubtedly opt for a larger Retina display next time around, but expect that number to hover around 4 to 4.3 inches. That may not sound like much, but half an inch will give iPhone apps some much-needed breathing room on that ultra high-resolution display.
New good looks
The iPhone 4S was a stepping stone upgrade over its forebear in many ways, but the next iPhone won’t be cut from the same cloth at all. In fact, given the extreme likelihood of a display size bump to 4 inches or larger, the phone will require a design overhaul. Expect to see Apple ditch the bezel above and below the screen in order to make better use of the front of the device, taking cues from other all-screen gadgets on the market.
Will a re-screened iPhone have the same industrial vibe as the iPhone 4S? We certainly don’t see why the company would veer away from the handsome glass and alumninum that’s defined its recent product line, though we suppose things could get a little curvier.
Taylor Hatmaker is a writer with a keen eye for mobile tech, social media, and all manner of emerging web flora. She's currently the Senior Associate Editor of Tecca,
Taylor graduated from New York University and hails from the South, but these days she can be found on the leftmost coast. You can read more of her writing on Autostraddle, or catch up with her micro-thoughts on Twitter.