News Analysis: Speculation abounds over what features will and won’t make the final cut for the Apple iPhone 5 production specifications. Read on to find out what you won’t see in the next iPhone version.
As the Worldwide Developers Conference draws near, rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 are running rampant. Some say that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 at the event and release the smartphone over the summer, as it has done in the past. Others say Apple might not even release the iPhone 5 until next year. Beyond that, rumors are swirling (and conflicting) over what new features will show up in the iPhone 5.
At this point it’s anybody’s guess what new features Apple’s design engineers and software developers will devise for the iPhone 5 until Apple is good and ready to disclose it. But that doesn’t mean that one can’t speculate. Considering the sheer number of rumors out there, one could easily assume that some of them are correct and some are dead wrong.
But rather than focus on what could very well be right, the following items examine the rampant rumors that won’t come true. The iPhone 5 will boast many important feature updates, but the following features or enhancements won’t make it into the mobile device this time around:
1. Over-the-air updates
One of the latest rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 is speculation that it will finally offer over-the-air updates. In other words, rather than plug the smartphone into a computer to update its operating system, users will be able to do so wirelessly over the Web. Although Android-based devices are updated in that fashion, don’t expect the iPhone 5 to follow suit. As those Android devices have shown, over-the-air updates take time to bring to all users. In general, the experience just isn’t as simple or efficient as Apple’s method. Over-the-air is great in principle, but it doesn’t work all that well in practice. And Apple knows that.
2. iOS 4
If there is any guarantee in Apple’s iPhone ecosystem, it’s that the next version of the company’s smartphone will be running iOS 5, the next major update to the company’s mobile operating system. In this case, history must be one’s guide. As previous iPhone models have shown, with new hardware launches comes new software launches. The iPhone 5 will be running iOS 5.
One of the most anticipated iPhone features is 4G connectivity. There is persistent speculation that the iPhone 5 will include access to the ultra-high-speed networks. However, that seems rather unlikely at this point. For one, Apple has said that 4G isn’t necessarily ready yet. Moreover, the networks are likely not ready to handle the load an iPhone launch would place upon them. The iPhone 5 doesn’t seem like an ideal 4G candidate—that feature will likely be saved for the iPhone 6.
4. A smaller screen
Over the years, numerous rumors have cropped up, saying that Apple is planning to launch a smaller-screened iPhone. And each year, those rumors have been dashed. This time around shouldn’t be any different. If anything, Apple might launch the iPhone 5 with a bigger, 4.3-inch display. But there’s no chance the company would try its luck with an iPhone 5 model featuring a smaller display.
5. Near-Field Communication
Near-field communication functionality has been a part of iPhone 5-related rumors for months now. But the latest reports suggest the technology won’t actually be coming to the iPhone 5 because of Apple’s concerns that the market is ill-prepared for it. Those rumors make some sense. As nice as near-field communication sounds, it’s still a fledgling market with a lot of growing up to do before Apple should get involved.
6. Sprint connectivity
Now that AT&T has its sights set on completing its acquisition of T-Mobile USA, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the iPhone might be coming to T-Mobile customers this year. But the chances of Sprint getting its hands on the iPhone 5 seem rather slim. A year from now, Sprint might find itself the tiny competitor to two major behemoths in the wireless market. That alone makes the company’s customers less attractive to Apple this year.
7. A different price tag
With each passing year, there is speculation that Apple will either raise the price of its iPhone or lower it. Last year, the company dropped the price of its iPhone 3GS and maintained the $199 and $299 price tags on the iPhone 4. This time around, the company will likely follow suit. Expect the iPhone 5 to retail for $199 and $299, and the iPhone 4 to be dropped to $99.
8. A summer launch date
Don’t expect Apple to launch the iPhone 5 over the summer. Considering all the rumors suggesting the device might not even make an appearance at WWDC, and the fact that Apple just recently launched the white iPhone, the timing seems off. Moreover, with the launch of the Verizon iPhone earlier this year, it would make more sense if Apple waited until later this year (if not early 2012) to launch the iPhone 5. It might disappoint some consumers, but the iPhone 5 doesn’t seem poised for the typical summer launch.
9. A glass surface
Apple’s iPhone 4 is arguably the best-looking version of the smartphone ever released, thanks to its glass finish. However, as soon as consumers got their hands on the device, some of them experienced scratching and cracking. Those problems might have caused Apple to consider delivering an aluminum casing for the iPhone 5, according to rumors. There’s no telling what Apple has planned until it finally unveils the device, but it looks quite likely that glass won’t be an important component of the iPhone 5.
10. 3D display
As LG proved earlier this year with the announcement of its Optimus 3D and Optimus Pad, 3D is becoming an increasingly attractive feature in the mobile space. However, it doesn’t seem all that likely that it will be coming to Apple’s iPhone. For the most part, 3D functionality works best on larger screen sizes. Therefore, 3D would make sense on the iPad, but not the iPhone 5.