Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S rumor timeline: worthy for the MythBusters

Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S rumor timeline: worthy for the MythBusters
All right, the Apple iPhone 4 came with a boutique design crafted out of steel and glass and the highest resolution mobile display out there, still waiting to be beat. It was not an incremental upgrade to the 3GS, but can Apple pull off the same trick this year with the alleged iPhone 5, and the eventual iPhone 4S mid-ranger?

To make things more interesting, we have some awesome contenders now with the high-end Android phones, and Tim Cook might not be flexing the same aura as Steve Jobs in keynotes. So let's recap what we've heard so far, and then compare with the actual announcement tomorrow - the rumor timeline could have made for a fun episode of MythBusters.

Our own first mention of what would go into the next iPhone goes way back to last year, when news broke that Qualcomm has been selected to supply the connectivity chips for the next iPhone and iPad. Of course, at the time the big myth was still Verizon's version of the iPhone 4, which actually materialized, breaking the mould of an iPhone-a-year-exclusively-on-AT&T for the first time, and warming us up for announcements without Steve Jobs.

Afterwards the floodgates opened, and we had hundreds of news pieces related to the iPhone (s) about to be unveiled tomorrow - from wishful thinking, through analyst comments, to straight-out mockups. We have a pretty thorough infographic courtesy of AllAreaCodes on the right, displaying the timeline of most major iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S rumors, and there has been reporting on all of them here, so we won't repeat ourselves. The biggest myth to go seems to be the iPhone nano, when for a short while everyone assumed a cheaper version should be smaller.

Rather, we'd wager a guess about the eventual two iPhones about to be released tomorrow, and you can add to the speculation in the comments, then we'll compare the actual device (s) released to gauge if Apple managed to keep the veil of secrecy tight enough over something extraordinary, or the iPhone (s) this year will be largely a stopgap on the way to the iPhone 6th edition.

Apple iPhone 5

Such a name makes sense, since it would mark a fifth generation, and differentiate it from the iPhone 4S title, which already leaked like that in the inventory system. This one is supposed to be the "real" next iPhone, and the one to represent Apple until probably the next summer, unless it has decided on six month refresh cycles, which is unlikely.

Since the main differentiating factor is likely to be the design rather than internals, we are expecting that Apple has tried to regain "the thinnest smartphone" title here. The UK advertising supervisory body already said that claiming the Samsung Galaxy S II to be the thinnest is misleading, since it has this "hump" at the bottom, but Apple might not give this another chance. An argument in favor of the claim that the new iPhone will be thinner than even the current anorexic edition, is Foxconn's whining how hard is it now to place all these the components in such a compact body. Also, the persistent rumors that the shell or back is made of a metal alloy, instead of glass, and has a teardrop shape, add further to the possibility that we will have the next iPhone thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4. The iPod touch is, after all, 0.28" (7.2mm) thin, and we don't see why Apple wouldn't repeat that effort, if the shell is not glass anymore, with the eventual teardrop shape coming because of the thicker camera module at the top.

The screen size is widely believed to have grown to 3.7"-4" with still Retina Display ppi, making the phone slightly wider and taller, as attested by various leaked cases, but with thinner bezel, judging from leaked schematics and alleged faceplates. Those frontal plates also hinted at an elliptical home button, which is to eventually double as a gesture area. Dual-core A5 chip allowing 1080p Full HD video recording with 30fps from a Sony or OmniVision 8MP camera sensor round up the alleged internals, and a combined GSM/CDMA radio is expected to turn the next iPhone into a truly worldwide phenomenon, with the antenna neatly tucked inside this time.

So far so good, but the biggest wow factor is expected to come on the software side this time. Besides the new features in iOS 5, the iPhone 5 is rumored to feature a fully-integrated voice recognition solution called Assistant, on account of which Cupertino has supposedly graced the next iPhone with 1GB of RAM to allow for smooth native talk interface navigation. We can think of many situations where this might come handy, and, as usual, the make-it-or-break-it moment is execution, which Apple has usually excelled at. How will the next iPhone be named is anyone's guess still, despite that Apple iPhone 5 has been the household rumor title. Regardless of what Apple calls it, if it is pretty enough, this thing will sell millions on new and old carriers alike.

Apple iPhone 4S

The naming of this one is more certain, not only because Apple already had the 3GS title scheme, which indicated an incremental update, but also it leaked like that recently. This is widely expected to be an upgraded iPhone 4, at least internally. A dual-core A5 is likely, since it will allow the phone to stay relevant at least a year from now, and, besides, after Apple has splurged the big bucks on chip design and development for the iPad 2, the difference in production costs between an A4 or A5 is negligible for the overall BOM. The 8MP camera will probably land here as well, leaving the big differentiators between an iPhone 4S and an iPhone 5 to be design, chassis materials, screen size and the volume of memory.

Rumor had it that the affordable iPhone 4S would sport 8GB of internal memory and heavy reliance on iCloud, but leaked Apple inventory label last week hinted at a 16GB version as well. Another way for Apple to have cut costs is the rumor that this one resembles the iPhone 4, but the chassis is made of plastic instead of glass. We'd root for this scenario, since on paper it kills many birds with one stone - it will allow the costs to produce to come way down from the current iPhone 4 BOM, at the same time keeping its iconic design, and saving the "you get what you pay for" argument for later. In this way the insane iPhone gross margins will be kept, but some of Apple's exclusive design luster might be lost in the process.

Competition has been boiling in the mobile space this year, though, so from a business standpoint a more affordable iPhone with the same crazy margins for Apple will sell in droves in less-affluent target markets, making huge strides in China, for instance. This will let Apple's stock shoot to the moon after the first sales numbers are out, and the market share of the iOS empire to expand, which might have been the goal all along.

Both eventual devices - the Slim Jim iPhone 5 with larger screen and powerful voice recognition Assistant, as well as the affordable, but capable warrior iPhone 4S - are still shrouded in mystery until 10am Pacific tomorrow, but Apple's mojo again made a good job of keeping the hype alive throughout the year without lifting a finger about it. Now the only thing left is for Tim Cook to live up to it.



1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

meh. i cant wait for the announcement tomorrow, then all this rumor crap will end.. at least for a month or so until the i6 rumors start up.. lol

2. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Let´s see how this animal benchmark against my GS2

3. Cyd07

Posts: 83; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

benchmark...magic word. Strange reaction. What do you want to do with a benchmark ? Have a tattoo on your arm with the score of your phone ? All is user experience. Not benchmark. And saying this I'm not defending Apple (never had and will probably never have an Iphone - want an Android now, why not Nexus Prime...).

4. DoctorD0S

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Agree, benchmarks are pointless if the user experience is subpar. Apple has a great user experience for most users, and for that they win. And like Cyd07, I don't have and probably never will have an iPhone. I love my Android phones.

7. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Samsung Fanboys like you are starting to to get annoying kinda like iPhone Fanboys just because they finally have a good smartphone from Samsung, and benchmarking is stupid, you could get 9000 but that wouldn't help you because smartphones aren't all just about benchmarking.

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

finally? the best phone of last year was also a samsung galaxy S. the nexus S was a samsung, the galaxy2 is samsung, the beast called nexus prime is samsung. Samsung not only stepped up their game from a sub par manufacturer, they stole the game and rewrote it on many levels with quality and custom built parts. They are the only manufacturer not just going head to head without android manufacturers but stepping up toe to toe and slapping around the iphone as well.

13. Orbiter unregistered

*raucous applause* that was moving, remixfa. Samsung kicks a**!!!

6. Scott H unregistered

Mark my words:there will be no iPhone 5 tomorrow. There will be a cheaper iPhone 4 (an 8gb version with the same chipset as the current phone) and an iPhone 4s with the dual core A5 and more ram. The highlight of tomorrow's announcements will be the new software features and usability, especially the new voice control and dictation features. That's why the event is called "Let's _talk_ iPhone".

8. Scott H unregistered

P.S. The iPhone 4s A5 chip will probably be under-clocked compared to the iPad2, because Apple tends to place battery life > pure gaming performance on their handsets (and gaming performance will improve a lot over the iPhone 4 anyways).

11. iKingTrust

Posts: 716; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

WOW leaving all my bias out of this.... Making a Billion dollars off a phone is bonkers!

12. WhiteMexican

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 28, 2011

I began to lean on the rumor that there would be no iPhone 5 but then someone made a good point, why would apple release a new iOS without a new iphone to accompany it. With every iOS they're released, a new iphone followed, so it's well withing reason to believe there will be a iphone 5. Of course all will be put to rest tomorrow morning. If apple doesn't release an iphone 5, people (me included) will be pissed but I'll get over it instantly because I'll be going straight to AT&T and get the SG2. Funny thing though is apple never said they're releasing an iphone 5 or said it even existed but I still say it's their own fault for being so freaking secretive. I mean would releasing a launch date or at least confirming the existence of the product (in this case iphone 5) be so much to ask?

14. fatakboy619

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

nice iphone 5 concept should be like this

16. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I think if it does not come out with an LTE iPhone five than that looks really bad on how far apple will be next year on the next iPhone. Considering all I want is for it to have the same hardware as atliest the droid bionic. The way apple has been in the past I wouldn't be surprised that they are further along in tech on this model than anybody gives them credit for

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