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What Apple might announce at next week's iPhone event

Lex Friedman | Sept. 28, 2011
Now that Apple has announced an October 4 iPhone event--which, of course, Macworld will cover live at 10 a.m. PT next Tuesday--the time to speculate on when exactly the company would hold its fall event is over. But the time to speculate on what the company will announce at that event has just begun.

Universal access: The iPhone 4 comes in GSM and CDMA flavors. If Apple can cram all the necessary hardware into a single phone, I see no reason that the company wouldn't favor a single model of smartphone that would function no matter which carrier you agree to use.

More, more, more: Don't be shocked if the iPhone 5 offers more storage or more battery life. The former becomes less necessary with the advent of iTunes in the Cloud. The latter becomes less likely if the iPhone 5's boosted processors require more juice to function--in which case, expect Apple to squeeze out just about the same battery life from a better or bigger battery. But bumping either or both would make sense if it can be done.

Not bloody likely

I'd love to see (or hear) a louder built-in speaker, but there's only so much room for Apple to work with. Along the same lines, I'd love if the iPhone's microphone could capture audio a bit more cleanly--and maybe it will, if the system-wide voice navigation bears out.

There's no chance that the iPhone 5 will sport a dedicated camera button--especially since iOS 5 is going to let you use the Volume Up button for that purpose--but it's nice to dream. And while we're on the camera, don't hold your breath for a fancier, brighter, non-LED flash.

You also have zero chance of seeing any output port on the iPhone 5 that you can't already see on the iPhone 4--no HDMI, no mini- or micro-USB. But I suspect we'll see Apple-branded dock connector-to-USB adapters soon.

Some have suggested that the iPhone's iconic Home button may get some capacitive functionality of its own. I may get some virtual egg on my non-virtual face, but I just do not see that happening.

Anything else?

Apple may well make another hardware announcement (or more), too--perhaps an updated iPod touch that matches many of the iPhone 5's new features could appear. And I expect a firm release date for iOS 5 to be announced as well--and perhaps Apple will dive deeper into iCloud's feature set, and announce a release date for the Lion-side of that feature, too. Anything else would be a bigger surprise than I can fathom at the moment.

So what?

Should you be excited about the iPhone 5? If you're eligible for an upgrade on your older iPhone--or you've been waiting to switch from something else to the iPhone--sure. Apple's not capable of introducing an iPhone that won't sell in the millions. And if history is a guide, the iPhone 4 will suddenly cost a lot less come October, and that'll mean you can get a very fine phone at a nice discount.


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