Article: What Will Apple Be Releasing Tomorrow?

by on October 3, 2011

Sitting here, the day before Apple’s Let’s Talk iPhone event, I thought I’d offer my expectations of what Apple will release tomorrow. We used to do something like this for the Macworld Expo keynotes, and then revisit the post and see how correct the original predictions were. That being said, I suspect we’ll see a couple of iPhones, iOS 5, and iCloud.

Software/Services: iOS 5, iCloud, & iTunes

I suspect we’ll see iOS 5 again, with a release date of about two weeks. I’d like to see the Assistant feature enabled for all devices, since the current 4 seems to have enough horsepower to handle it. Other than that, it should be exactly as we expect.

As for iCloud, some items have already been enabled, but I suspect Apple will let people get in on the iCloud fun either after the event or when iOS 5 is available for download. This would coincide with iTunes 10.5.

New iPhone 4 (8GB)

The iPhone 4 is a fantastic product—even though it’s somewhat old by mobile phone standards, it still holds up. Why not milk it for a bit longer as the low-end device, replacing the 3GS? If anything, Apple will knock the storage down to 8GB and maybe redesign the antenna (but be silent about that). I would even venture to guess we’d see this “basic” 4, on Verizon and AT&T. I think this will ship in two weeks to coincide with iOS 5.

iPhone 4S (16GB/32GB/64GB)

Although it was leaked in the latest iTunes beta, the iPhone 4S name seems to be as much or even more commonly thrown around as the number 5. If Apple uses 4S, it will be most likely an update, but keeping the current form factor (since it’s basically a 4, but better). Why mess with something that people clearly like? I am still betting against a larger screen, especially with the current one being oh-so-crisp. It’s even showing up on some carriers (no, the “schwarz” one isn’t a special edition named after yours truly).

The phone will feature an A5 chip, like the iPad 2 (probably underclocked), the same amount of RAM (512MB), and an 8MP shooter. As far as radios go, I’m still not sure we’ll see true 4G LTE, since it is a battery hog and not in all the markets. A combo GSM/CDMA chip may make more sense. Again, I think this will ship in two weeks to coincide with iOS 5.

iPhone 5

I don’t think we’ll see an iPhone 5 introduced if there is a 4S. That will be saved for the next revision where there is a big redesign. The rumors of a teardrop iPhone make no sense, so I suspect we’ll see Apple continue to make a device that is comfortable to be used in portrait or landscape.

If this is the case, it almost seems like Apple is going on a revision schedule much like Honda or Toyota, where you have a major redesign, followed by a minor revision (new lights, grill, bumpers, maybe engines), and then followed by a major redesign. Other automakers have followed this with some models, but it seems to be more regular with Honda and Toyota. If Apple does this, it would give the accessory makers a bit of a breather (not that Apple really cares), but it also saves on R&D and the timing works well with most 2-year mobile phone contracts.

Overwhelming / Underwhelming

Some may complain if Apple releases a new iPhone that looks much like the current one, but it worked for the 3GS. Furthermore, I know of a number of instances where people are still buying the iPhone 4 even though a new iPhone seems to have gone from rumors in the tech world to rumors in the regular media. I’m a little more excited about things on the software front, since I’m still very happy with my 4.

Either way, it’s going to be an interesting day…

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