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What Apple might announce at next week's iPhone event

Lex Friedman | Sept. 28, 2011
Now that Apple has announced an October 4 iPhone event--which, of course, Macworld will cover live at 10 a.m. PT next Tuesday--the time to speculate on when exactly the company would hold its fall event is over. But the time to speculate on what the company will announce at that event has just begun.

Now that Apple has announced an October 4 iPhone event--which, of course, Macworld will cover live at 10 a.m. PT next Tuesday--the time to speculate on when exactly the company would hold its fall event is over. But the time to speculate on what the company will announce at that event has just begun.

Apple's last iPhone release--the iPhone 4--debuted 15 months ago in June 2010. That was when Apple stuck to a pretty consistent schedule of unveiling a new smartphone model every summer. The iPhone 4 has retained its spot as the newest iPhone on the block for an extra four months, but it's pretty apparent that a successor is waiting in the wings.

If you don't pay attention to the Apple rumor mill, keep up the good, sanity-maintaining work. But if you do, you've no doubt heard rumors that when Apple finally unveils a new iPhone, it will present two models--an iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

I don't really buy that, and it's not because I have any inside information. Rather, I'm just looking at the clues Apple dropped in its invitation to the October 4 press event. The Calendar icon shows the event's date; the Clock icon shows the event's start time; the Maps icon shows the event's location (Apple's Cupertino headquarters). Numerous online sleuths have interpreted the fourth icon--the Phone--as indicating that Apple will introduce just one phone, thanks to the otherwise unnecessary big, red badge on the icon's corner. That seems like a reasonable interpretation to me.ull of--

So we can expect a phone (in addition to more information about the already previewed iOS 5 and iCloud, of course). But what can we expect from that phone? Or, more to the point, how does Apple improve upon the success of the iPhone 4 which, aging though it may be, still racked up record quarterly sales between March and June this year? Does it do away with more physical buttons? Improve the earbuds? Make the Retina display even more Retina-ier?

Here's one man's take on what could happen, with predictions broken out into three categories--Definitely happening, maybe happening, and probably not happening. Feel free to point and laugh at my prognostications or, better still, add some of your own.

Definitely happening

There are a few improvements that seem like no-brainers. With each iPhone, Apple has made the built-in camera better. The iPhone 4's rear camera is great; I have no doubt that the iPhone 5's cameras--both of them--will be greater still. Similarly, each iPhone is faster than the one that comes before it, and it's thus an easy bet that the iPhone 5 will feature some speedier internals.

 

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