A smooth new metal body, a 4-inch screen, and credit card-like capabilities are just a few of the goodies reportedly boasted by the tech giant’s next handset
The next iPhone will reportedly have a larger screen, a better battery, and the ability to use your handset as a credit card.
The iPhone 5 will boast a a whole new redesign, and may be on the market as soon as October. Here, six rumored technology features Apple could be looking to incorporate into the next model:
1. A new metal body
Apple’s next iPhone may be be “housed in Liquidmetal,” says Christina Bonnington at Wired, “the commercial name for an alloy of titanium, zirconium, nickel, copper, and other metals.” The “amorphous” alloy can be poured into a molding like plastic to produce ultra-thin parts. When it hardens, Liquidmetal retains “high strength, high resistance to wear against scratching and denting, and [has] a good strength-to-weight ratio.” Cooled, it looks “smooth like liquid,” and may bestow the next iPhone “its special swagger.” Eh, let’s not get too excited, says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. While Liquidmetal is “incredibly tough,” it’s not great for radio frequencies. Remember Antennagate? Well, we might not have to worry, says Ed Oswald at PC World. Some photos indicate an aluminum back like the kind used on MacBooks. This lightweight, two-tone metal appears to cover 80 percent of the handset’s backside, making the shatter-prone iPhone “a little less breakable.”
2. A larger screen
The next iPhone may feature a much larger display — possibly 4.6 inches versus its current 3.5-inch set-up — and Apple has already started placing orders to its suppliers, reports Reuters. While that sounds nice, making “a 4.6-inch display would mean that the size of the iPhone itself would be much larger than it currently is,” says Jordan Crook at TechCrunch. And that doesn’t seem realistic. More likely: Apple is working on a 4-inch display to “fit on to the iPhone at its current size.” Keeping the same iPhone size sounds more like an Apple move, says MG Siegler at Parislemon. “A device that stays the same size, but gets a slightly larger screen for one more row of apps”? Exciting stuff.
3. Less glass
The current iPhone’s touchscreen uses two separate layers to achieve its effect: A touch sensor layer and an LCD display layer, which are stacked on top of each another. But Apple is said to be introducing “in-cell touch panels on its next iPhone,” says Josh Ong at Apple Insider, which means the two space-hogging layers will be consolidated into one. That means Apple could produce an iPhone measuring just 7.9 mm thick — noticeably thinner than the iPhone 4S’s 9.6 mm.
4. New connections
Leaked photos make it look like Apple is rearranging its plugs, says Mark Gurman at 9to5 Mac. The earphone jack is being moved to the bottom, and the device will charge using a much smaller dock connector. Yup, we’ve “independently verified” that Apple is switching from a 30-pin port to a 19-pin port, says John Biggs at TechCrunch. Three different manufacturers say the port you use to plug your phone into a computer or power outlet will be different than in years past. “This is certainly not going to go over easy,” says Chris Burns at Slashgear. Fans collecting third-party accessories for their iPhones and iPads will have to pony up for brand new connections, like HDMI cables and chargers. “Accessory hell, here we come,” says PC World‘s Oswald.
5. 4G LTE… and a better battery
Apple already introduced “the high-speed network on its new iPad,” says Dave Smith at the International Business Times, which was probably done as a “practice run” for the iPhone. But the main problem with LTE is that it tends to “ravage battery life.” If the company wanted it on the iPhone 4S, it would have had to “increase the phone’s thickness” to accomodate a larger battery. Now that Apple appears to be shaving off millimeters here and there, the next iPhone could receive the bigger (and better) battery required to handle faster networks.
On March 6, Apple won a “major patent” for technology called the “iWallet,” says IBT‘s Smith, which allows users “complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts on their iPhones.” The technology uses Near-Field Communication to make credit card transactions by holding the device next to a payment console, effectively turning the iPhone into a digital wallet.