- October 4th, 2011
- Apple Rumour, iCloud, iOS 5.x, iPhone 4S, iPod Rumour, October 4, 2011, WoA Feature Articles
- Alex Brooks
Despite Apple’s own use of iPhone in the event invite I view the term ‘iPhone event” with hesitation, I firmly believe that today’s event being held at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino at 10am Pacific (6pm London) is an iOS device event not just focused on the iPhone.
Much of what I wrote last week on the iPhone rumour cycle and where we’re at remains largely true. Except many onlookers and commentators have placed themselves firmly into one of two camps, the first camp believing that Apple won’t release a device called the iPhone 5 but will instead release a new phone called the iPhone 4s and alongside it an 8GB iPhone 4. The second camp against all odds still believes we’ll see an iPhone 5, some even believe with a complete redesign, and that the iPhone 4s is the new low-end iPhone.
Whatever happens today we know one thing for sure, Apple has kept this rumour cycle the most locked down of them all, or at very least they’ve distracted us enough with iPhone 5 rumours that we’re missing the picture.
I personally remain firmly in the camp of thought that we’ll see an iPhone 4s (N94) today powered by Apple’s A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC), 1GB of RAM, featuring an 8MP camera and available in 16, 32, and 64GB capacities. There are strong rumours that Apple has incorporated a chip capable of GSM and CDMA in the iPhone 4s and that this phone will be capable of HSPA+ on GSM networks. HSPA+ is capable of very fast data speeds with most carriers supporting up to 21Mbps and is often classed as “4G” by those carriers, it’s not.
The iPhone 4s will take the shape of the current iPhone 4 but will be thinner and the antenna design adjusted, presumably to accommodate both CDMA and GSM capabilities.
The iPhone 4s is expected in Apple’s major markets on October 14 but some have suggested a very unlikely imminent release.
Alongside the iPhone 4s Apple will have an 8GB iPhone 4 (N90A for us geeks), it’s by no means a focus of the show, but it aims to hit the low-end market and help penetration in African and Asian markets. Some have speculated that this device has been reworked to make it even cheaper, if this is the case then the changes are very minimal.
Such an iPhone lineup leads to a problem though, every man and his dog is expecting an iPhone 5 and Apple doesn’t appear to have made its usual attempts to dampen expectation ahead of the event. So what else does Apple have up its sleeve?
It’s all in the software and this is where Apple shines. When Apple released the iPhone 3GS (notice a pattern?) in 2009 it was a slight upgrade from the 3G released the previous year. The ‘s’ was said to stand for speed, sure it was faster but it lacked that wow factor. One of Apple’s marquee features for the iPhone 3GS was voice recognition.
Apple looks set to make this the marquee feature of the iPhone 4s and this time do it properly. Everyone knows how voice recognition works on a phone, you say call a contact and it calls someone else. This will all change.
On the 28th April, 2010 Apple bought a company called Siri, at the time they made an iOS assistant app, the app incorporated a technology called ‘natural language processing’. The video below shows the app in action, note how accurate the recognition is.
Mac Rumors have fully embraced this rumour and had a mockup video made of the potential functionality of Siri in iOS 5.
The feature which is currently only scantily visible in betas of iOS 5 is said to be called ‘Assistant’ and be a system wide feature. An icon found in a beta of iOS 5 suggests a microphone button will sit in the bottom left of the keyboard which will enable dictation, but obviously the key point is the tightly integrated way in which information is presented upon making a query.
With Apple expected to unveil this feature at the event later today we should expect another iOS 5 beta for developers, whether this comes in the form of a Golden Master (GM) or not it doesn’t really matter.
iOS 5 will land before the iPhone 4S, possibly as soon as this Friday (October 7).
As I said earlier though this isn’t just an iPhone event, Apple’s current lineup of iPods have been on the market longer than any others as the month of September sailed past with not a hint of an iPod refresh. Much has been speculated about the future of the iPod, some by myself, and I suspect most of it’s wrong.
The iPod touch will naturally take centre stage and will take the form of previous updates with the upper models seeing an upgrade to the A5, extended battery life, they’re unlikely to get much thinner but will be available in white.
As for the other iPods, the rumours are scarce. Some have suggested the iPod classic and shuffle will go the way of the dodo, this may be true for the shuffle but only if the nano comes down in price. The classic, despite my own predictions a year ago, looks set to remain unchanged.
Apple does have one more big feature and that is of course, iCloud. Whilst unveiled at WWDC in June expect Apple to go over the details again, nothing is expected to have changed but we’ll get a date when the service goes live which could be within hours of the event.
- iPhone 4s available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities. A5 chip, 1GB RAM, 8MP rear camera, looks like the current iPhone 4 but thinner and with a redesigned antenna. Both GSM and CDMA capable with HSPA+. Available October 14.
- 8GB iPhone 4 to fill the gap of the low-end market. Largely unchanged.
- iPod touch available in white and with the A5 chip, design unchanged, same goes for capacities.
- iPod classic to remain the same, shuffle phased out and nano lowered in price.
- iOS 5 key feature to be voice Assistant, we’ll see a GM this week and maybe public release on October 7.
- iCloud available imminently.
Apple’s event is being held in front of a select number of members of the media at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino. A simulcast is being held at the Covent Garden Apple Store in London for UK and Europe based media. The event will begin at the following times:
10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Wednesday 5th)
04:00AM – Sydney (Wednesday 5th)
World of Apple will provide coverage of the news and post-event analysis. Apple is not providing a live video but a meta blog of events can be followed on World of Apple’s Twitter feed or the following sites: