Is Everyone Jumping the Gun with the iPhone 5?

There are a lot of rumors and speculation about the upcoming iPhone 5 – many people are in agreement about its key features, even though Apple itself has not even acknowledged the phone.


A number of leaked images of what is supposedly the iPhone 5 have made an appearance online and, while all of them appear to depict the same device, it seems quite unlikely that it is actually the finished product. Apple famously went to great lengths to prevent leaks for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S – by hiring private detectives and getting police to raid the homes of tech journalists – yet they don’t seem to be batting an eyelid over the large volume of “iPhone 5 leaks” floating around.


Larger Screen

The leaks all come from various sources but seem to converge on the same information. The next iPhone is thought to have a larger 4 inch screen, which will make this the first Apple phone to deviate from the original 3.5 inches. The size increase is thought to be implemented by increasing the height of the display, while maintaining the same width, resulting in a new aspect ratio of 16:9 (widescreen). This will result in a slightly taller iPhone, but one that has a similar width to earlier models.


Dock Connector

Another piece of information that frequently crops up is the new dock connector. Apple has used the same 30 pin dock connector on all of its iOS devices since the third generation iPod, but leaked images suggest that this will be replaced with a new, smaller, 19 pin dock connector. While this means that existing iPhone owners making an upgrade to the iPhone 5 will need to replace any accessories that they already own, it may also suggest some other changes in the pipeline.


Wireless Charging

The dock connector is used for connecting with accessories, computers and also for charging. While the new dock connector may simply be used for more efficient and speedy charging, it could also suggest that another iPhone 5 rumour may have a grain of truth to it. Apple has reportedly been working on an iPhone charging dock which would allow iPhone owners to charge their handsets without cables. Apple has recently been granted a patent for such a system, and a similar charging dock already exists for Samsung’s Galaxy S3.


NFC and Mobile Payments

Although there has been talk of NFC support and some form of mobile payments app, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that mobile payments will not make an appearance with the iPhone 5. Apple had considered producing such a system last year when Google first launched Google Wallet, but dropped the idea due to its sheer complexity and low profitability. There are a number of mobile payment schemes vying to become the industry standard and it is too early to tell if it will end up being widely adopted by consumers. Apple has decided instead to sit on the fence, wait to see how the market evolves and then introduce its own mobile payments system if the technology manages to gain enough consumer confidence.


Instead, Apple is choosing to go with the much simpler Passbook app for iOS 6. Unlike its patented “iTravel” app, which would allow users to store airline tickets, train tickets and bus tickets on their phone for easier commuting by simply tapping an NFC terminal on their chosen vehicle, Passbook will allow users to store a variety of tickets and coupons for easy access when making purchases.


Other Upgrades

While all of this information comes from “leaked” images, schematics and patent applications, some features of the iPhone seem almost certain to see an upgrade. We already know that Apple will add 3G support for FaceTime, and introduce its own Maps app to replace Google Maps, but the company will also add significant upgrades to Siri, the camera, processor and may possibly throw in LTE support for good measure. LTE is now well established in the United States and many other markets, so Apple has little reason to hold out any longer.


While all of this information is unconfirmed, and may turn out to be widely off the mark, demand for the iPhone 5 is expected to be as high as any previous iPhone launch. Even without knowing the full details of the phone or what it has to offer, a large number of consumers are almost guaranteed to buy it on its release day in October simply due to brand loyalty, with as many as 21% of iPhone users stating that they would never switch to another phone brand under any circumstances. Some retailers in China have even started taking cash deposits for pre-orders for the iPhone 5, even though almost nothing concrete is known about the handset. With this level of fanaticism, the iPhone 5 could very easily overtake the Galaxy S3 as the most pre-ordered gadget of all time.

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