The New iPhone: What We Know and Don’t Know

It’s official, Apple is holding a press conference on October 4th to discuss the iPhone. We’ve been waiting for this with baited breath for months now, and yet today, less than a week before the event, what do we know about the new iPhone? More importantly, what don’t we know?

Let’s take a moment and piece together this puzzle after the jump.

What We Know

Well this is an easy answer. We know nothing.

OK, that’s not a totally fair statement, because technically we knew nothing prior to the iPhone 4 launch, but once we found out that all of those rumors and images were true, well it turns out we knew quite a bit. So to quote the rumor sites a bit, here’s what they say is happening with the next iPhone.

It Will Have a Wedge Shape and Is Wider

Case designs show that it’s got a wedge-shaped body, similar to the MacBook Air, with the thickest part of the wedge being towards the top of the device. It’s also slightly wider, which some say means it will have a larger screen.

The rumored first image taken with the new iPhone's camera.

The rumored first image taken with the new iPhone's camera.

It Comes in Two Flavors

The talk right now is that there will be two iPhones released soon. One, an iPhone 4S that’s just like the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G, in that it’s faster. The second will be a low-end iPhone, something like an iPhone Nano, that would be released to pre-pay customers. This would be a new market for Apple, and could mean more expansion.

Of course, the iPhone 4S thing isn’t set in stone either, and there’s also talk it will be the obviously named iPhone 5.

It’s Upgraded

Many sites are saying that the iPhone 5/4S will come with the A5 processor from the iPad 2, an 8-megapixel camera and 1GB of ram.

It Might Have Better Voice Commands

Right now, 9to5 Mac is reporting that the killer feature in the next iPhone is named Assistant, and is a progression of the Voice Command feature found in the iPhone 4 and 3GS. Apparently, Apple is using the Siri purchase from a few years ago to allow users to speak text messages, emails and the like into the phone and get output into the various apps. This would be awesome if it happened, and it completely makes sense. Problem is, it’s not in any of the iOS 5 betas yet, so it’s still a rumor.

The A5 Processor

The A5 Processor

It Could Have a Dual-Band Chip

In the U.S., we have four major cellular carriers and right now only two of them carry the iPhone. We’ve heard recently that Sprint might get it, and we’ve heard that T-Mobile is getting it, but now they’re saying they won’t. So which is it? Either way, the rumor is that Apple will use a Qualcomm dual-band chip in the next iPhone, making it possible to run on both Verizon and AT&T. Whether it works with other carriers is up to Apple and them.

As for 4G compatibility, there is a lot of debate on that one, and no real confirmation either direction.

What We Don’t Know

We can say fairly accurately that we don’t know much about the next iPhone, because Apple has done a pretty decent job of locking this one down, with one exception. There have been no spy photos of any iPhone that didn’t look like an iPhone 4, so we really don’t know what exactly we have in the works. All we do have is rumors.

And those rumors, in most cases, are really just assumptions based on previous experiences with Apple. Take the A5 processor, for example. Last year the iPhone 4 got the same processor as the iPad, so it seems to follow that the next iPhone will have the same processor as the iPad 2. That’s not rocket science. Neither is the 8-megapixel camera either, but people have been asking for that size since the iPhone 3GS, so who knows if it’s going to happen. My personal hope is that the front camera on the iPhone gets upgraded, but I may be in the minority.

We also don’t really know if there’s going to be a low-end iPhone this round or not. Now to be fair, we have a low-end iPhone on the market today, it’s the iPhone 3GS. You can buy an 8GB iPhone 3GS today for $49.99 on AT&T’s network, and there were even sales with it for free a few months back. To me, it makes more sense to keep that pattern going and offer the iPhone 4 with 8GB of storage for less, than to develop an entirely new iPhone for a low-end market.

What Happens Tuesday?

It’s hard for me to keep typing this, but we really don’t know for sure. The only thing we do know is that Apple wants to talk about the iPhone, but we don’t know when it’s coming out or what it’s going to be called.

What we can say for certainty is that we’re going to have reports on the announcement as soon as possible, so come back next Tuesday to find out what happened!