The newest offering from the cult of Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) is coming. The iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S as it is sometimes referred to) is rumored to be announced on Oct. 4, 2011. Analysts are predicting "unprecedented" demand for the iPhone 5 and a corresponding continued rise in Apple's stock price. As of Sept. 19, the stock was trading in the low $400s, but it looks like the trend will continue upwards as Apple releases products that people are excited about.
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So what features are on the wish list for iPhone users?
Higher Quality Camera and Video Capabilities
The iPhone 4 boasts a 5MP camera with LED flash, as well as HD video recording and editing. Expect this trend to continue with at least a boost in megapixels. The iPhone line carries the best cameras of all of Apple's products, so that will likely continue in the new iPhone versions. (For related reading, see 6 iPhone Apps To Help You Budget Better.)
Faster Processor and Upgraded Operating System
The iPad 2 sports the A5 dual-core chip, so it's possible the same processor (or something similar) will appear in the iPhone 5. We always want our tech to be faster, so this is an essential on the wish list. In fact, gadget website T3 reported leaked photos of the iPhone 5 which include the A5 processor. Each generation of the iPhone has been accompanied by an updated operating system, so we can expect to see a new incarnation of the iOS to iOS 5.
You probably remember the issue with iPhone 4 where the antenna was blocked by the position of the phone when it was held to the user's ear. The iPhone 5 has no similar reported issues to date, and it likely won't after the media attention "antennagate" garnered. As with any phone, the data-based features are only as good as your connection and network.
The motto with new tech is bigger is always better. New features, the continually growing app store and the increased potential on more powerful networks all mean we need more space. Multiple sources are reporting that Apple is pretty much required to offer a 64GB model, which makes sense since the company's previous generation iPhones are available in 16GB and 32GB capacities.
Continuing the "bigger is better" trend, adding a bit more screen space will mean a few more millimeters of the retina display, which offers four times the pixel density of previous versions for the iPhone 4. Even if no major advances are made in this area, a larger screen will give users more space to see the details. Don't expect the screen to balloon up to iPad size, but the touch magnifying feature will no doubt remain, allowing you to see clearly.
Better Battery Life
All that play doesn't do you any good without power. The iPad 2 boasts up to a 10-hour battery life while the iPhone 4 lasts up to seven hours on a 3G network. Standby times are much longer, of course, but with all the games and activities available, it's unlikely you're just going to let your new phone sit on your desk.
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The Bottom Line
Apple lovers will flock to the iPhone 5 regardless of features, but if the new model is missing any key characteristics that are expected, the same fans won't hesitate to complain. As with any tech product, any issues or missing qualities are likely to show up in a later model a year or so down the road. Overall, this is another shiny step on Apple's journey, and it will have almost as many naysayers and fervent believers. (For related reading, see 6 Security Apps You Should Know About.)