|The iPhone 5 release date hit fresh speculation and rumors this week with news from various outlets the new iPhone 5 release will include a larger 4” screen, and that production of the existing iPhone had been slowed down in order to prepare for the iPhone 5 release date. The date of the release is still hotly debated, but as with the iPad 3 release we get better clues as we get closer to the date. Also on tap this were stories of a new dock connector, 3D maps (sans Google Maps) and a new Verizon plan. The iPhone 5 release date debate (as you probably already know) centers around June at the WWDC on in the Fall. Check out more on that here. Apple also wants to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S3, so the timing of the iPhone 5 release date is likely to be somewhat close to that.
A big iPhone 5 rumor right now is the screen size. What's fueling this is new phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Motorola Droid Razor Maxx, with larger screens. More screen real estate is needed for videos, social media, viewing web sites and iPhone apps, so mobile phone makers are trying to increase the screen size without making it into a mini tablet. Bloomberg reports that "Apple is preparing to overhaul the look of its iPhone, three people with knowledge of the plans said, refreshing the company’s top-selling product amid competition from rivals such as Samsung." They went on to say that Apple had "placed orders from suppliers in Asia for screens that are bigger than the 3.5- inch size now on the smartphone, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public."
Reuters tells us that the larger iPhone 5 screens have been ordered from suppliers in Japan and South Korea: "Apple plans to use a larger screen on the next-generation iPhone and has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan, people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday. The new iPhone screens will measure 4 inches from corner to corner, one source said." They cite LG Display Co in South Korea and Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc out of Japan as the manufacturers working on this, all due for the next iPhone 5 release date.
WSJ first reported the iPhone 5 news, and also quoted Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi: "The smartphone market has become diverse, but the iPhone still sets the agenda. The iPhone's strength lies in the overall experience, including its user interface and applications, and the screen's size wouldn't be its defining feature, he said. If Apple ever released a lower-priced iPhone, that would be more of a sign that the changing market environment is beginning to affect the company."
This all happens with analyst Shawn Wu dropping news in a research note that Apple has has slowed down iPhone 4S production so Apple can begin production in preparation of the iPhone 5 release date. CultOfMac talked about how Apple is building new plants in China to support iPhone 5 production, as well as the iPad and the hotly-contested iPad Mini. Given how slow the iPad 3 orders arrived this time around, Apple is due for some extra production capacity.
Sprint just announced news that iPhone users will get a $100 credit if they switch over to Sprint and trade in their existing iPhone with service plans from other carriers like Verizon and AT&T in exchange for a new phone and service plan from Sprint. 9To5Mac dropped iPhone 5 rumors this week with news that Apple will drop Google Maps in favor of their own 3D map service for the new iPhone. Apple recently bought Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly9 as back-end service providers, and as 9To5Mac says: “Apple has always had full control of the actual iOS Maps application design, the backend has belonged to Google.” If the iPhone 5 rumors prove true, Google could lose a lot of users on their map service. Think of how Siri could be tied in to a new Apple 3D map service for the iPhone 5 release date (also talked about for any iOS6 device, so existing iPhones on iOS6 plus the iPad and iPod Touch) and you’ve got a hot new product. It’s too hard to drive and type in queues for directions, but you can definitely ask Siri while you’re driving.
Apple had a dispute with the owner of the iPhone5.com domain name, that was filed through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Next Web says that case has been ended with resolution, which usually means that the two parties reached an agreement on their own. Total rumour and speculation here, but a favorite strategy of big companies is to file a big claim with WIPO in order to get their opponent to take the claim seriously, then they come back to negotiate with their opponent. The opponent usually does not have the means or desire for legal costs, so they take a settlement instead. Completely unconfirmed, but think about it.
Other iPhone 5 rumors have included the iPhone 5 concept design from Federico Ciccarese, how has created a concept rendering that’s both sleek and futuristic-looking. This follows on a recent iPhone 5 concept pictures created by Antonio de Rosa in Italy. He created a concept he’s calling the iPhone Plus, and it includes the liquidmetal body casing, pico-projector, A6 Quad Core processor and and a new dock connector. 9to5Mac also talked of the new dock connector being part of an iPhone 5 release date as well this week, quoting Rene Ritchie from iMore, who nixed ideas like the metal back and a screen size of more than 4 inches but claims to confirm the new dock connector.
To recap where we’ve come from with a current consensus of iPhone 5 features and iPhone 5 specs: Siri is an obvious target for an overhaul. It was introduced with the last iPhone release, and if the new 3D map feature rumor proves to be true, Siri would work well with that. 4G LTE connectivity is not verified among new iPhone 5 features but is a dead ringer (*groan*) and is all but assumed as part of the next release. The iPhone processor debate is split between a new iPhone 5 release with a new A6 processor, while others are more inclined to believe that the A5X processor in the new iPad 3 will be used.
iCloud and iTunes are due for an upgrade, as a new iOS6 as well. There’s been a lot of rumors around the licensing of movies, TV shows and and a streaming music service, all upgrades Apple needs to compete as their iTunes model is severely behind the times at this point, no matter how many song sales it’s responsible for. Recent talk of an iTunes redesign would nicely with this. The hinging point here might be beyond Apple’s control as they try to require the rights to content that’s highly valuable right now; with Netflix, Hulu, Google TV et al all trying to get in on what’s the next big thing: the connected TV. The much rumored Apple TV / iTV is part of this, but it’s also the existing Apple TV service that could get new content and user experience as well. Not mentioned here are all of the next rumors that will arrive in the coming week’s as we ramp up to the iPhone 5 release date. Check back at Spacelab every week for an ongoing pulse on the events as we get closer to the date.
Are you buying the new iPhone 5 or are you going with the Samsung Galaxy S3 (or something else)?