iphone3

Recently we were approached by a source who is closely connected to Apple’s hardware development team. The source was willing to provide detailed information on the specs and release date of the next generation iPhone.

We have checked the source’s credentials to the best of our ability and at this point deem the source as reputable. Of course we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the source’s claims since Apple will neither confirm nor deny any future product releases, including if a new phone will even be released! Many of the specifics proposed by our source have been discussed in recent weeks, but many intriguing details revealed by the source have yet to be reported. Here are the specifics:

  • 32GB and 16GB to replace current capacities
  • $199 and $299 price-points to be maintained
  • 3.2 Megapixel camera
  • Video recording & editing capabilities
  • Ability to send a picture & video via MMS
  • Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device
  • OLED screen
  • 1.5X The battery life
  • Double the RAM and processing power
  • Built-in FM transmitter
  • Apple logo on the back to light up
  • Rubber-tread backing
  • Sleeker design
  • Built-in compass
  • Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps to identify photo and inform about photo locations.
  • Turn by turn directions
  • July 17th, 2009 release date

Let’s examine the feasibility of these features in the next iPhone.

-32GB and 16GB to replace current capacities

This upgrade in storage is very plausible and is almost expected. Last year, the iPhone 3G was introduced with capacities that were double that of its predecessor. It stands to reason this would occur again with the natural progression of the technology. This increase in storage has also been reported by several news outlets.

-Current subsidized price-points to be maintained

There has been a lot of speculation that Apple may attempt to reduce the price of the iPhone in an attempt to gain market share or battle the upcoming Palm Pre. With these new features, including an OLED screen, it seems unlikely they can lower the price points. At the same time when the iPhone 3G was introduced at the subsidized price, it sold in record numbers. To increase the price now would not likely be in Apple’s best interest from a sales-volume perspective. All things considered it seems likely that the prices won’t come up or down. Given Apple’s track record of upgrading products without raising prices, it is safe to assume that prices of the iPhone will more than likely remain the same.

-3.2 Megapixel camera

According to our source, the new iPhone will take much better and clearer pictures. This will likely be achieved by offering the ability to focus the lens as a new feature. This has also been reported by multiple sources, and therefor seems very credible.

-Video recording & editing capabilities

The iPhone finally having the ability to record video seems possible given the strong demand. But the ability to edit the videos you record on the iPhone itself? This feature has been in multiple rumor reports, however it seems highly questionable. If the ability to edit pictures was already present it would lend credence to this rumor. All of this considered, our source says video editing on the device will be implemented.

-Ability to send a picture & video via MMS

Sending MMS messages is one of the most anticipated features expected in the upcoming revision. This ability was officially announced alongside the iPhone OS 3.0 roadmap. With the capability of sending pictures via MMS it would make sense that you could also send video. It was already announced that voice memos will be able to be sent, so video is a natural extension. The size limitations of videos in MMS was not available to our source.

-Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device

This detail is of little concern, but it may suggest significant design changes.

-OLED screen

An OLED display would be a welcome change from the LCD screen the current iPhone utilizes. The main benefit of using an OLED screen used on the iPhone is a possible increase in battery life. Its difficult to judge the accuracy of this rumor; it would certainly be an excellent choice for the display, however OLED screens are relatively expensive at this time and my prove difficult to transition to while lowering or even maintaining the iPhone’s current price point. The source did not detail if the new OLED screen would come with a 640 x 960 resolution. (note: this resolution is what would be expected to maintain backwards compatibility with applications currently deployed)

-1.5X The battery life

Improved battery, possibly as a result of the OLED display; this may also be due to improved battery technologies. We always hope for battery improvements in a new model and with the new features it is likely to expect better battery performance.

-Double the RAM and processing power

According to our source, the next generation iPhone will have “roughly double the RAM and processing power.” He elaborated by explaining that the increase in processing power would be partially achieved through over-clocking.

-Built-in FM transmitter

It’s unclear why Apple would ultimately introduce this into the iPhone. Currently, none of Apple’s products include an activated FM transmitter. This feature has been rumored by other news outlets. We just don’t understand why – we didn’t buy a Zune for a reason.

-Apple logo on the back to light up

Our source described this feature as being similar to the illuminated Apple logo on the back of the notebook line. The light will be white and always on while the phone is powered on. There have been no reports of this to date, and it seems to be an odd cosmetic choice. Frankly, if iPhone users had a choice between an Apple logo light and increased battery performance, it’s an easy guess as to what users would choose. Due to the battery considerations this seems hard to believe.

-Rubber-tread backing

Another significant design change, our source described this as being “similar to the back of a blackberry.” It would be similar to a blackberry in that instead of smooth plastic back, the new iPhone would have a treaded rubber-type back. This would certainly provide a better grip, as well as may devastate the third party iPhone case market.

-Sleeker design

Our source was not able to be more specific. He mentioned this in passing while describing the cosmetic changes regarding the metal band and rubber back.

-Built-in compass

A digital compass is a new feature to be added as well. Naturally, the purpose of a compass is to show you what direction you are facing. This certainly seems like a reasonable add-on and has been reported previously.

-Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, orientation sensor, and Google maps

The camera will work with the GPS, compass, orientation sensor and Google maps to identify what building or location you have taken a picture of. We at first had difficulties believing this ability. However, such a “feature” is technically possible. If the next generation iPhone was to contain a compass then all of the components necessary to determine the actually plane in space for an image taken. The GPS would be used to determine the physical location of the device. The compass would be used to determine the direction the camera was facing. And the orientation sensor would be used to determine the orientation of the camera relative to the gravity. Additionally the focal length and focus of the camera could even assist is determining the distance of any focused objects in the picture. In other words, not only would the device know where you are, but it could determine how you are tilting it and hence it would know EXACTLY where in space your picture was composed. According to our source, Apple will use this information to introduce several groundbreaking features. For example, if you were to take a picture of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, you will be provided with a prompt directing you to information about the building, address, and/or area. This information will include sources such as wikipedia. This seems like quite an amazing service; and a little hard to believe, however while the complexity of such a service may be unrealistic, such is actually feasible with the sensors onboard the next generation iPhone.

-Turn by turn directions

Although a hot topic since iPhone 2.0, this has yet to be officially introduced to Apple’s Maps app. Previous reports have specified that Google maps could not be utilized due to licensing issues, however our source claims that these issues have recently been overcome and will be available in the OS 3.0 software. While this would be an exciting leap for the iPhone, its very questionable that this would be completely true.

-July 17th release date

Our source says the new version of the iPhone is expected to be available for purchase July 17th of this year. This is believable considering the previous iPhone releases have been on Fridays as well.

It is important to remember that, while this source appears credible, this information could prove incorrect. Apple may have produced several prototypes to either test various functions or simply minimize the dissemination of product knowledge before the official announcement. However if this information proves to be accurate, the new iPhone will certainly be second to none.