With the New iPad ’3′ out of the way, all eyes are now on Apple to announce the iPhone 5. While in the past it was safe to assume that the next-generation iPhone models would launch during the summer at WWDC, last year’s delayed release of the iPhone 4S has complicated things.
iPhone 5 release date sometime in October only?
Now a recent quarterly earnings call by Qualcomm has hinted what we’ve all feared, a delayed iPhone 5 release date. According to the report, particular LTE chipsets are seeing a strain in supply at the moment which Qualcomm’s Chief Executive Paul Jacobs suggests is because “demand went so far ahead of availability that we’ve decided to start spending more money to get more supply as soon as possible.”
Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster’s has “collectively strewn” the reports into a date and it looks like we maybe seeing an October release date once again. As Munster reports, “QCOM will likely support an Apple iPhone launch in October. Based on our checks, we believe the design win momentum of QCOM’s 28nm products has been exceptionally strong and a 28nm LTE baseband is likely designed into the next iPhone. … Based on the increased capital spending this year from TSMC and QCOM’s efforts over the last quarter to port its 28nm designs to UMC and probably Global Foundries, we think QCOM will have the capacity to support a Q4 LTE iPhone 5 launch.”
Now this should not come as a big surprise given that the iPhone 4S launched in October as well. However we were hoping that it was a once-off delay that would not be repeated again. Nevertheless, like all reports from analysts, we suggest taking it with a grain of salt. There’s still hope for a summer release for the iPhone 5, the odds just aren’t that great.
InRumor offers you a recap of this week’s iPhone 5 rumors. Recent reports claiming that the iPhone 5 will sport a 4-inch screen have raised the question of whether Apple will keep the form of the smartphone unchanged or they will redesign the entire case according to the new display. Designer Will Hains at Good Will Blogging believes that Apple could keep the same sized device and still use a 4-inch display for its next smartphone. These images present a concept of a possible iPhone case maintaining the same dimensions with a larger screen. DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh states that Apple is likely to use the technology from Japanese manufacturers such as Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba, which are leaders in the industry at the moment. “Compared with on-cell technology, touch panels that use in-cell technology can be made thinner because the touch sensors are actually placed inside the color filters rather than on top of them,” Hsieh explained, as cited by Taiwan’s Central News Agency,. In addition, Digitimes cites “sources in Apple’s supply chain” who claim that Apple could use the technology in future devices thanks to improvements in yield rates for the in-cell panels. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Qualcomm is likely to release the next-gen iPhone in the fall due to supply issues with its 28-nanometer LTE chip. However, he believes that the company will still be able to offer 4G LTE support for a fourth-quarter launch of an iPhone 5. “It is more likely the phone launches in October given Qualcomm commentary around 28nm chip supply,” Munster said, as cited by Apple Insider. “We believe Apple will include LTE in the iPhone 5 as an important feature in the product update.” Korean site ETNews.com reported this week that the next iPhone could be made from a material called liquidmetal. The site claims that the iPhone 5 will be made of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper “and so forth” and it will have a “surface smooth like liquid.” The material is very durable, light, it’s scratch resistant and it is said to be as smooth as liquid or glass to the touch. This also means that a handset using the technology is less likely to be broken when dropped. Liquidmetal was discovered in 1992 at the California Institute of Technology and it’s a mix of zirconium, titanium, nickel and copper, as well as other metals. Its most important features include high strength, high resistance to scratching and denting, as well as an efficient strength-to-weight ratio, and it is said to be as smooth as liquid or glass to the touch. This also means that a handset using the technology is less likely to be broken when dropped. So far Apple has used Liquidmetal’s material for the iPhone 4 SIM card ejector tool and some North American first-generation iPads. In addition, a liquidmetal case would allow for a slimmer profile and a distinction from other smartphones which are currently made of various types of plastic.
InRumor offers you a recap of this week’s iPhone 5 rumors.
Recent reports claiming that the iPhone 5 will sport a 4-inch screen have raised the question of whether Apple will keep the form of the smartphone unchanged or they will redesign the entire case according to the new display.
Designer Will Hains at Good Will Blogging believes that Apple could keep the same sized device and still use a 4-inch display for its next smartphone.
These images present a concept of a possible iPhone case maintaining the same dimensions with a larger screen.
DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh states that Apple is likely to use the technology from Japanese manufacturers such as Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba, which are leaders in the industry at the moment.
“Compared with on-cell technology, touch panels that use in-cell technology can be made thinner because the touch sensors are actually placed inside the color filters rather than on top of them,” Hsieh explained, as cited by Taiwan’s Central News Agency,.
In addition, Digitimes cites “sources in Apple’s supply chain” who claim that Apple could use the technology in future devices thanks to improvements in yield rates for the in-cell panels.
According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Qualcomm is likely to release the next-gen iPhone in the fall due to supply issues with its 28-nanometer LTE chip.
However, he believes that the company will still be able to offer 4G LTE support for a fourth-quarter launch of an iPhone 5.
“It is more likely the phone launches in October given Qualcomm commentary around 28nm chip supply,” Munster said, as cited by Apple Insider. “We believe Apple will include LTE in the iPhone 5 as an important feature in the product update.”
Korean site ETNews.com reported this week that the next iPhone could be made from a material called liquidmetal.
The site claims that the iPhone 5 will be made of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper “and so forth” and it will have a “surface smooth like liquid.”
The material is very durable, light, it’s scratch resistant and it is said to be as smooth as liquid or glass to the touch.
This also means that a handset using the technology is less likely to be broken when dropped.
Liquidmetal was discovered in 1992 at the California Institute of Technology and it’s a mix of zirconium, titanium, nickel and copper, as well as other metals.
Its most important features include high strength, high resistance to scratching and denting, as well as an efficient strength-to-weight ratio, and it is said to be as smooth as liquid or glass to the touch.
This also means that a handset using the technology is less likely to be broken when dropped.
So far Apple has used Liquidmetal’s material for the iPhone 4 SIM card ejector tool and some North American first-generation iPads.
In addition, a liquidmetal case would allow for a slimmer profile and a distinction from other smartphones which are currently made of various types of plastic.
The iPhone 5 release date currently looks likely in the Fall due to this weeks news and rumors, which include trouble with production of components that could push the iPhone 5 release date back later in 2012. Theories about iPhone 5 features and specs currently include in-cell touch panels and “amorphous metal alloys” for a slimmer iPhone 5, plus the previously mentioned 4G LTE and iOS6 from last week. An iTunes 11 redesign that focuses on iCloud received fresh rumors this week, which would affect how the iPhone 5 interacts for music, movies and TV shows.
iPhone 5 Release Date
As we move closer to an iPhone 5 release date, the crunch for production gets tighter. Reuters reports that Qualcomm is having trouble meeting demand for iPhone 5 components. This pushed towards a theory of an October iPhone5 release date, as the squeeze is on for production. This was echoed by analyst Gene Munster who this week moved his expectations to an October release date based on current conditions. Some still see a June release date that will coincide with an announcement at the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference). What’s your guess?
iPhone 5 Features
The current iPhone has moved into more coverage with the addition of Alaska Communications, Appalachian Wireless, GCL, Cellcom, and nTelos as iPhone-ready carriers, according to 9to5Mac; saying this pushes it into more rural areas. Each new imprint in coverage should be applied with a new iPhone 5 release as well. A newly redesigned iTunes 11 is said to to have substantial changes “under the hood” and is not just a graphical change, according to 9to5Mac, who said “Apple is working on iTunes 11 as a version of iTunes that supports their upcoming iOS 6 release and future devices. Apple typically releases new versions of iTunes alongside major new OS’s and mobile devices.” The Verge adds that the App Store will get an upgrade too, with the newly added Chomp app team that Apple bought earlier this year helping to update the App Store for better iCloud integration. The iCloud overhaul will affect iTunes as well, which in turn will make any iPhone 5 release a major upgrade in how the iPhone uses iTunes, iCloud and the App Store.
iPhone 5 Specs
iPhone 5 specs rumored for release right now are in-cell touch panels from Sharp and Toshiba, as reported by DigiTimes: “An improvement in yield rates of the in-cell touch panels at Sharp and TMD has persuaded Apple to choose to cooperate with Japan-based panel makers, the sources noted.” The benefit of the iPhone 5 having in-cell touch panels is that it makes the touch-screen panel thinner, shaving off a bit of size to contribute to a slimmed-down iPhone 5. There’s also talk of a liquid metal, or “amorphous metal alloys” being used, according to ETNews.com; who said “the next flagship phones of the companies are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts.”
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It appears Apple wants to make its next smartphone, presumably called the iPhone 5, significantly thinner and lighter than its older models. Sources from within Apple’s foreign supply chains reportedly told Digitimes that the iPhone 5, expected to launch in the second or third quarter of 2012, will adopt in-cell touch panels manufactured by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display.
“An improvement in yield rates of the in-cell touch panels at Sharp and TMD has persuaded Apple to choose to cooperate with Japan-based panel makers,” the sources said.
By effectively removing a layer between the multi-touch screen and the LCD display, these in-cell panels far outperform current “on-cell” touch screens. AUO Optronics, based in Taiwan, explains the difference:
“Compared to In-Cell technology, the conventional technologies have an additional sensing glass, which not only increases the overall thickness of the LCD, but also adds an extra lamination process step, translating to increased cost and relatively lower yield and reduced transmittance,” the company said. “Compared to the traditional resistive touch control, in-cell voltage sensing not only has the above advantages, but also is superior in that its sensitivity less subjective to environment changes, no calibration mechanism required, and capability of supporting multiple-point touch control.”
AUO Optronics adds that the touch sensors are vastly improved in in-cell technologies, but they’re still powerful enough to resist scratches on the touch panel, resulting in “a longer product lifetime.”
“In contrast to the traditional resistive and digitizer touch controls, since a mere light touch can be picked up, the operation interface of In-cell charging sensing is more humanized,” AUO said. “In addition, charging sensing not only can support multiple point touch control, but further support pen writing at present to meet different requirements by the clients.”
Digitimes said Sharp will build the in-cell panels at its 5.5G lines, while Toshiba Mobile Display would use its 6G lines for production. They also said Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display will “ramp up” in-cell production during Q2 2012.
So in-cell technology helps create more “precise” glass, but Reed Sanders from Technorati points out another powerful benefit:
“The current displays in the iPhone 4 and 4S involves a layer of sensing glass on the outside of an inner LCD screen. This capacitive touchscreen makes it thicker as it has two layers and an extra step in the assembly line. Moving to the single layer in-cell touch panel would remove a step in production as well, speeding up the manufacturing process. When you manufacture 30 million iPhone devices, saving two seconds becomes a large amount.”
Apple currently relies on TPK Holdings and Wintek to build its glass-on-glass touchscreen panels for its current iPhone models, but the move toward Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display has resulted in TPK Holdings saying it is working on “touch on lens” solutions that similarly use a single piece of glass. TPK alleges that its TOL technology is more suitable for high-end customized devices, and that the market is big enough for more than one kind of technology that makes thinner displays.
This move to make a thinner iPhone is bolstered by another recent report from Korean publication ETNews, which reported, citing “industry sources,” that Apple may make its next iPhone considerably thinner and lighter thanks to some recently licensed patents for “liquid metal,” which the company acquired in 2010 from Delaware-based Liquidmetal Technologies.
“The next flagship phones of [Apple and Samsung] are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone 5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts,” said ETNews’ Kim In-Soon. “The new phase of the rivalry is because neither one of them can get a decisive edge over the other solely with its OS and AP specifications, features or design.”
Apple acquired the licensing rights to various patented amorphous metal alloys from Liquidmetal Technologies in August 2010, but ETNews claims Apple will create a liquid metal alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel and copper to create “an outer surface smooth like liquid.”
If these rumors prove to be true, the iPhone 5 could be dramatically thinner than its predecessors. The iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 both measure .37 inches (9.3 mm) deep and weighs 4.9 ounces (140 grams), and while that isn’t very thick or heavy for a smartphone, making these elements lighter makes room for more features, processors, and battery life.
Based on patent filings and reports, it looks like Apple plans to pack plenty of new features in to the iPhone 5. If Apple hopes to include NFC technology, LTE chipsets, advanced haptics, or even a 3D camera system, it needs much more room within the device without making it any bigger than it already is. The solution? Make the other elements smaller and lighter.
Apple had reportedly hoped to include some of these technologies in the iPhone 4S, but without liquid metal technologies or in-cell touch displays, the phone would have needed to be significantly thicker to accommodate a larger circuit board and a bigger battery. Now it looks like Apple has a few answers for how to pack more innovation into a smaller device.
Possible Features, Specs in the iPhone 5
Bigger screen. On March 21, Apple reportedly ordered 4.6-inch screens, to be featured in the company’s next iPhone. The report came from a South Korean publication, the Maeli Business Newspaper, which quoted an unnamed “industry source,” according to Reuters. But just two days later, iMore’s Ritchie said the iPhone 5 would keep the same 3.5-inch screen – the same size as all previous generation iPhones — but said it “could get a little bigger” than its predecessors, although not nearly as big as the 4.5-inch-plus Android smartphones..
So whom to believe, the Maeli Business Newspaper, or our old pal Ritchie? The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. In early January, as Apple was reportedly gearing up to begin production on the iPhone 5. A source from within China’s Foxconn manufacturing plant told 9 to 5 Mac that various sample iPhone 5 prototypes were floating around the factory floor, but there were a number of common features among the phones, including a display that measured at least 4 inches, and a longer and wider form factor that did not match that of the iPhone 4 or 4S. The Foxconn sources believed the iPhone 5 would retain the rectangular shape of its predecessors, which, if true, would put to bed any rumors of a slimmer teardrop design.
OLED Display. Apple is reportedly testing iPhone 5 prototypes with an A5X chip, which is the quad-core graphics processor used to power the Retina Display in the new iPad. But why would Apple need such a powerful chip for an iPhone? Given that the A5X chip is a graphics powerhouse, if Apple doesn’t drastically change the physical size of the screen to 4.6 inches, it may be changing the display’s overall quality.
On April 4, the Korea Times reported that Apple is interested in switching from LCD to OLED displays for its next round of iPhones and iPads. The reason behind the potential move would be Samsung, which recently launched its spinoff company called “Samsung Display” that aims to pivot away from LCD to focus more on OLED technology. Apple is by far Samsung’s biggest customer: The Cupertino, Calif.-based company bought $7.8 billion worth of components from Samsung in 2011, ranging from memory chips to LCD panels, but the company will reportedly buy $11 billion worth of parts this year, which could mean Apple is buying more expensive display material.
Apple has plenty of money to afford OLED screens in an iPhone-sized display, and it would make sense for Apple to ask Samsung to help build its iPhone 5 displays. Samsung knows how to build big, beautiful screens for any size device: Just imagine what Samsung could do with Apple’s Retina technology implemented into an OLED. Apple would effectively put distance between the iPhone and all other smartphone competitors for another five years, at the very least.
LTE Connectivity. It’s already a foregone conclusion that Apple will implement radio bands for 4G LTE in the iPhone 5, given that Apple introduced the high-speed network on its new iPad, released on March 16, which was likely done as a “practice run.”
LTE features significantly higher download and upload speeds compared to 3G technologies, but previous implementations of LTE in smartphones tended to ravage battery life, which was a major complaint from users. If Apple wanted LTE in the iPhone 4S at the time, it would have been forced to increase the phone’s thickness to accommodate a larger circuit board and a bigger battery. Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a company earnings conference call in April 2011, said ”first-generation LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises.”
“The iPhone 4 PCB [printed circuit board] is already incredibly small, not leaving any room for an extra chip to enable LTE without shrinking the size of the battery,” said Anand Shimpi, a chip expert and CEO of Anandtech.
Fortunately, Qualcomm recently unveiled the fifth iteration of its new chip, which supports TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, HSPA+, EV-DO, embedded GPS, and LTE on TDD and FDD networks worldwide. The chip works with Android and Windows 8 devices, but there’s a great chance this will be the chip inside the iPhone 5.
The iWallet. Apple won a major patent on March 6 for a piece of technology called the “iWallet,” which is a digital system that gives users complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts on their iPhones, and also leverages Near-Field Communication technology to complete credit card transactions directly on the phone as well. The iWallet has many different features, including giving users the ability to see their entire credit card profiles, view statements and messages from their banks, and even set parental controls for their children, should they also want to use their iPhones as digital wallets. Outside of the iPhone, users can keep track of their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which keeps credit card information and records safe and secure. There’s a possibility that iWallet could also work with other Apple utilities, which could allow users to buy things like movie tickets directly within the apps, but only time will tell with that one.
3D Photography. Some may say 3D technology is nothing new, or possibly even overdone; Apple would argue that’s because nobody has done it right. Yet.
Apple says that while existing 3D cameras and video records can get three-dimensional information from objects, they’re generally incapable of getting detailed enough information in relation to the shapes, surfaces and depth of the objects. Apple’s solution involves a series of systems, tools and methods to capture a 3D image by using multiple sensors and cameras. One sensor would capture a polarizing image, while two other sensors would capture two different non-polarizing images, and Apple’s system would combine the images into a composite.
Apple has another solution involving different specialized sensors for capturing the image’s surface information, color imaging and luminance, and combining the data into another composite that has information about the depth and plurality of surfaces. Together, these systems and methods of capturing light and image information would create an incredible 3D image that can be seen without glasses.
Advanced Haptics. In the days before Apple unveiled its new iPad in March, a rumor from left field said Apple would implement an advanced haptics system into the iPad, which would give users the sensation of texture when they touched an object on the screen. Android devices currently have a type of feedback when you press a button on a smartphone, so it’s possible Apple will one-up its most fierce rival with unrivaled touch technology.
A touchscreen that created the sensation of textures would be an incredible piece of technology, but we’re hoping Apple completes the puzzle with one important piece of technology from Microsoft. In mid-March, Microsoft engineers unveiled a lag-free touch screen that responds to your finger’s touch in less than one millisecond. Current Apple devices only have a minor lag with their touchscreens, but this minor adjustment would make users feel like they’re really touching their work, drawing a picture, or handwriting a note. Apple has proven to us time and again that simplity is the key to an enjoyable experience, but speeding up the touchscreen would make the already-popular iPhone into the best touchscreen experience ever.
Multi-player gaming. The iPhone 5 might also be the first phone to feature a new piece of software for multi-player gaming. On March 15, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that describes a system for multi-player gaming, which allows groups of people to play the same game together and even see it from different perspectives according to the devices’ physical relation to one another. The system actually mimics that of the “Find My Friends” app, in which a user’s device detects other nearby devices that it recognizes as “friends,” and invites them to all join a common application. The technology also determines the relative position of those devices, so some games — like turn-based role-playing games or card games — can be played in a specific order.
Crack-proof glass. Apple’s patent for crack-resistant glass, granted on Nov. 15, uses the same alumino silicate glass solution used in the iPhone 4 and 4S, but chemically treats it with potassium and sodium ions to achieve greater compression thresholds on the surface and edges of the glass, making it less susceptible to cracks.
Apple also included a handy feature that will appeal to everyone who’s ever dropped their iPhone: The patent calls for a shock mount to be placed between the glass and the body of the device, which will instantly inflate if the device senses it’s falling. If the iPhone’s internal accelerometer senses it’s falling, an actuator within the device sucks in the cover glass as it accelerates to the ground, protecting it from damage.
What else would you like to see in the iPhone 5? Would you rather see the iPhone 5 released earlier, or later for the holidays? Let us know in the comments section below.
As anticipation mounts for the next generation of Apple’s iPhone, the rumor mill is in full tilt, with speculation growing that the smartphone will be hitting store shelves in October. Also fueling speculation is a report from the Korean IT news site that suggests the iPhone 5 will be fabricated using liquid metal components.
“[The] iPhone5 is likely to take liquid metal, an alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and so forth having an outer surface smooth like liquid,” the report said, citing unnamed industry sources.
Apple blog AppleInsider pointed out that while the Korean report refers to a “liquid metal” design, the company in fact bought the rights to Liquidmetal, an amorphose metal manufactured by Liquidmetal Technologies, which received a $20 million payment from Apple in March. Liquidmetal Technologies announced in March that its manufacturing operations are currently in the midst of shipping commercial parts to several of its customers worldwide, noting parts delivery began this past December with continuing shipments scheduled for the months ahead.
“Additional Liquidmetal Technologies customer parts are scheduled to be part of the manufacturing pipeline in the coming months as the company continues to ramp its production capabilities,” a company release stated.
The Korean report also questionably makes the claim that the phone will debut at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, though many analysts are expecting the iPhone 5 to touch down in October. However, earlier this month, comments from a recruiter with an electronics manufacturing company also indicated Apple may be moving the release of the iPhone 5 back to a summer schedule. According to the Japanese technology blog Macotakara, which picked up on the comments when the recruiter was speaking to reporters on TV Tokyo’s “World Business Satellite” program, Foxcomm is planning to hire 18,000 people to make the iPhone 5. “It will come out in June,” the recruiter is reported to have said.
In a Wednesday report, Reuters quoted Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs as saying the company was having trouble meeting demand for its smartphone chips due to manufacturing constraints, which analysts suggest could push back to October the release date of the iPhone, which is expected to use the company’s MDM9615 LTE chipset.
“Demand went so far ahead of availability that we’ve decided to start spending more money to get more supply as soon as possible,” Jacobs told Reuters. “Any time we can’t make a customer totally happy I’m going to worry. You don’t want to give a customer a reason to go elsewhere.”
You can now beat the race and be the first to get the new Samsung S3 the latest android device that is fast emerging as the best alternate to the new iPhone5.
While Samsung is officially set to release the new S3 ahead of Apple’s new iPhone, on May 3, Amazon in Germany has already listed the product for pre-order.
Amazon.de has listed the product for €599 (Dh2,906) with features a 12Megapixel camera a 4.7-inch Super Amoled screen, 16GB of internal storage apart from a micro SD card slot.
Although the website has not displayed any images for the new product, Gizmodo Brazil has listed (not so great) images on its website.
According to online tech blog site Boy Genius Reports (BGR) the phone could well be the official device of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Samsung has planned a launch event in London on May 3 and it is widely believed that the company will launch its new phone on the occasion.
The website also quotes sources and says that there could be simultaneous launches in Dubai, Ney York City and Seoul.
An invitation for the London event simply reads: “Come and meet the next Galaxy.”
There are quite a few rumours on the specifications of the new SIII, with some predicting that it will come in two colours – one in blue and black and the second in white.
The other predicted features are a 16GB and 32GB handsets aprt from full HD display a quad-core Exynos processor and integrated 4G LTE.
There were reports earlier that the new S3 might include a new human interaction feature that will use the front camera to keep track of the user’s eye movement and lock the screen accordingly.
Reports also indicate that the new smartphone will feature a 4.7-inch display and have features that could almost match the Apple’s Retina Display.