Apple and Verizon Wireless offered another sweet piece of the Apple mobile pie when they announced the iPhone 4 would be coming to the Verizon network Feb. 10. But iPhone fans are already counting down the days to the usual June unveiling of the next-generation iPhone. No official details are available yet, though media reports are beginning to zero in on some of the features the new device and platform are expected to have. One item we believe you can count on as sure as the night is dark is that the next iPhone will include Near-Field Communication capabilities. NFC is the short-range wireless communications technology that enables wireless phones to communicate with sensors in posters, signs and even point-of-sale contact terminals. In other words, such technology will make the iPhone an electronic wallet. Expect the iPhone 5 to include a chip and for iOS5 to include an NFC controller software stack homegrown and patented by Apple. But there will be more, lots more. In this slide show, eWEEK speculates on a bunch of other new features for the iPhone 5 this summer.
Apple hired Near-Field Communication expert Benjamin Vigier and filed several NFC patents. One of those is for mobile payments, which is one of the core functions Google CEO Eric Schmidt touted for the NFC-enabled Android 2.3 build on the Samsung Nexus Slast month. The combination of the iPhone with mobile payments is an Apple-lover's dream. That dream should come true in June. There are more details on iPhone NFC onBloomberg News.
Some Apple watchers believe Kinsus Interconnect Technology will provide silicon for the iPhone 5's new Qualcomm baseband chip, a CDMA/GSM chip geared to for European countries where Code Division Multiple Access is not supported.
This is a new generation of phone we're talking about, so we also expect the iPhone 5 will be powered by Apple's new A5 processor, built on ARM's Cortex A9 architecture.
Rumors also indicate that a 3G-enabled FaceTime will come with iPhone 5, ensuring smoother video transmission for the video-chat application.
The iPhone 5 may support Media Stream, a photo-gallery feature that's appeared in code for the iOS 4.3 beta 2. The perk appears to let users invite other users to view pictures as they are taken and uploaded to a service. The 9-to-5 Mac Apple intelligence site offersthis proof.
Engadget believes the iPhone 5 will be completely overhauled from a hardware standpoint, which is impressive considering the high bar Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his team have set with the iPhone 4 and previous versions.
Late in 2010, eWEEK's Nicholas Kolakowski nailed this one as a potential improvement. After the hilarious Antenna Gate fiasco saw the iPhone 4 drop calls everywhere, he believes Apple's iPhone 5 should offer a working antenna. Then Antenna Guy dissects theiPhone's antenna location.
One thing Google has been doing of late is boosting the intelligence of its voice commands. Last year Apple added voice actions to let users call up a business listing from their Android handset by speaking into the phone. Apple bought Siri last April. Siri’s AI capabilities never made it into the iPhone 4, so we expect Apple will add the capability in the iPhone 5 this summer.
A Rival to Google Goggles
Apple in September picked up Polar Rose, which makes facial-recognition software that Apple could leverage in its new iPhone. This application would go where Google's Goggles application, which searches 2-D images only for now, currently doesn't.
We want to see the cloud-based iTunes service! Apple bought Web-based music service LaLa in December 2009. But we still haven't seen the fruits of that deal. ReadWriteWebexpects to see a streaming service leveraging LaLa technology for the iPhone 5. We agree.