iPhone 5 Release Date: What to Expect At Apple's Sept. 12 Event
With Apple's widely-rumored debut of the iPhone 5 scheduled for Sept. 12 in San Francisco, you'd think there might be more than just speculation to go on. But, considering the company's infamous tight-lipped security around its product launches, really, we're lucky we have as much information as we do. Here's what most experts agree we'll see at tomorrow's event.
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Apple's enigmatic event will begin at 10 am, with various websites offering live-streaming.
A new iPhone, most likely called the iPhone 5
While there's no doubt that Apple will show off the next generation of its popular smartphone on Wednesday, confusion reigns when it comes to the device's official name.
Reason at this point would suggest that the folks at Apple would be itching to drop any numbers or letters from the iPhone naming scheme and just dub it "the new iPhone," just as they dubbed the third-generation iPad "the new iPad."
Of course, the clear shadow on the illustration for the event invite suggests otherwise. "It's almost here" can only refer to an iPhone, and though it will in fact be the sixth-generation one, that numeral 5 is too clear to be ignored. We're betting on the name "iPhone 5."
All name confusion aside, the latest rumors suggest that the next-generation iPhone will look very similar to the iPhone 4S, but with a slightly thinner and larger screen, and a two-tone body with a metal backside.
The device's display is expected to measure 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches in diagonal, and it will be elongated, so that the screen assumes a video-friendly 16x9 aspect ratio, and instead of 960 x 640, it is rumored to be 1136 x 640 pixels.
As far as the iPhone 5's hardware goes, 9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman says that prototype version of the next-generation iPhone is rocking 1GB of RAM (which likely would double the amount). Many sites report that the device will be 4G LTE compatible, which is especially likely considering the iPhone 4S is the only major smartphone without a 4G LTE cellular data option, and the latest iPad already has the technology.
The iPhone itself isn't the only piece of hardware expected to undergo a redesign. Not only have pictures surfaced of newly designed earbuds, a patent filed in April 2012 and approved last month has surfaced for what Apple is calling "vented in-the-ear headphones," which aims to cut back on the echoes you might hear of your voice while making phone calls. "The invention aims to improve the sound quality by venting or leakage," Apple said in the patent.
"They have the appearance of a horse's head, not like earbuds," said a video from Vietnamese website Tinht.vn. "When they are worn, they have a much smaller profile. They have the appearance of a fully integrated, single unit - there's no part that looks like it would come apart - not like earbuds; the integrated design is characteristic of Apple products."
Five Rows of Apps:
A consequence of the larger screen - which is rumored to have 640 x 1,136 resolution - it's expected that we will see five full rows of apps.
9-Pin Dock Connector:
Rumors indicate that Apple will be switching its 30-pin dock connector for one with only nine pins. This would make existing speakers and chargers useless when used with the new device. However, it's likely that Apple will introduce an adapter that will convert it back to its original 30 pins.
There's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether or not Apple will include near field communications (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5, which would enable users to swipe devices at checkout to pay for items. Although this would surely help accelerate mobile payments as a phenomenon over the next few years, the new iPhone may not have room for NFC, according to Anandtech.
Smaller Sim Card:
According to 9 to 5 Mac, the SIM card slot may be a lot smaller. This could mean Apple is switching to newer, nano-SIM card, which is even smaller than the current micro-SIM in the iPhone 4S.iMore's Rene Ritchie - who nailed the date for the upcoming press event - suggests that the new smartphone will ship nine days after it is announced, on Sept. 21. This date lines up with what we've been hearing for a while.
iPad Mini? iPod Nano, Shuffle, and Touch? iPad Air?
One of the other big rumors of the season has been the launch of a smaller iPad, widely being called the "iPad mini." Of course, there's no confirmation from Apple, just reports from anonymous sources and leaked parts which are allegedly intended for this tablet. But most seem to agree whatever the device is exactly, it won't be available until October.
Apple blogger John Gruber has previously dubbed the device the "iPad Air" in passing, while suggesting that it will be announced in October, instead of sharing the spotlight with the next-generation iPhone in September.
"I don't think Apple would want reviews of both a new iPhone and new-size iPad appearing at the same time," Gruber writes. "The iPhone is too big, too cool, and garners too much attention - and it's in Apple's interest to keep that attention undiluted."
AllThingsD's John Paczkowski went with the label "so-called 'iPad Mini'" while explaining that he has "several sources" who confirm that Apple will indeed show off the device in October.
The most credible reports suggest this tablet should be close to eight inches diagonally (rather than the current model's 9.7 inches), offer a plain (non-Retina) display, and be priced in the $250 range (to compete with Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD tablets).
Both 9to5 Mac's Seth Weintraub and Apple watcher John Gruber agree that chances are high that this smaller tablet will look a lot like a large iPod Touch, with a smaller bezel, but Gruber also says it will probably run the full-fledged iPad version of iOS.
A new iPod shuffle will be announced next week at or around the current $49 price point, according to 9 to 5 Mac. The capacity of the device is currently unclear. Rumors indicate that the changes to this new iPod Shuffle will not be major changes. The new iPod shuffle will also come in eight colors. That is up from the current line of five iPod shuffle colors.
A new iPod Nano is also said to be announced, but the technical specs are still elusive. The new iPod Nano is said to have a completely new codename from last year's model, which could point to some design and internal changes. Last year's iPod Nano update had the same design as the 2010 model, and its codename was the same as the 2010 iPod Nano codename plus an "A."
A taller iPod Nano with Wi-Fi has been rumored. This new iPod Nano, like the Shuffle, will come in eight colors. It appears that Apple may only have the higher-priced, higher configuration iPod Nano this year. The current high-end of the iPod Nano line is a 16GB player for $169. The price and capacity for this year's model is still unconfirmed, but the price will likely not differ by much, if at all.
The new iPod touch line situation appears much more intriguing than the new iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle lines. The current iPod touch line features three prices and capacities all with the 2010, fourth-generation design. For this year, though, Apple will reportedly retain the fourth generation design for the entry-level iPod touch configuration, and totally redesign the two higher priced models.
This new entry level configuration is said to be tweaked. Of course, what this tweak refers to is anyone's guess, but speculation seems to say that it has to do with either a smaller dock connector, new packaging/iOS 6 pre-installed, or a bump in the base storage capacity configuration, or some combination of all of those features.
New iPods will be priced at $299 and $399 price points, redesigned versions of the two top iPod touch models, according to 9 to 5 Mac. Though, it isn't clear if the 32GB and 64GB capacities will actually be the same in the late-2012 models.
These new $299 and $399 iPod models, presumably all iPod Touches, will come in multiple variations, according to 9 to 5 Mac. Could the new iPod Touches come in various colors for the first time? Keep your fingers crossed on that one.
The new versions of the iPod Nano, Shuffle, and Touch are all set for launch in a week, according to 9 to 5 Mac. All of which makes perfect sense, as Apple is also widely rumored to be working on a streaming music service it will possibly debut at the same time.
Tech rumors -- especially Apple rumors -- are temperamental animals. Remember: as much as we want many of the rumors to be true, much of the information is gleaned from "anonymous sources." And we all know Apple never comments on technology before its released to confirm or deny anything, so don't bother going down that road.
So pick your favorites and place your bets.