Photo: Dylan Love
Is it ever too early to start speculating on the next iPhone?For Apple fans, probably not.
We’re now halfway through the iPhone 4S’s lifecycle, so attention is turning more and more towards Apple’s next big thing.
In fact, some predict that the next iPhone will be the biggest, most important smartphone launch of all time.
That’s a lot of pressure.
All signs point to the next iPhone being a 4G LTE phone. LTE is the latest and greatest wireless technology that lets you download data at speeds that often rival your home's broadband connection.
AT&T and Verizon are currently the only carriers that offer LTE. Sprint will have LTE in several cities by the time the new iPhone launches this fall.
After two years with the same iPhone design, everyone is expecting the next model to look and feel completely different.
The latest rumours say the next iPhone could be 7.9 millimeters thick, which is about a millimetre thinner than the iPhone 4S.
A lot of people were expecting the iPhone 4S to have a larger, 4-inch display. Instead, Apple decided to keep its standard 3.5-inch display for at least another product cycle.
We've been seeing conflicting reports about the next iPhone's screen size. Some say it'll stay the same. Many others say it'll be at least 4 inches.
The most interesting theory right now says that Apple will be able to keep the iPhone's body the same, but increase the screen size.
According to some reports from Asia, Apple will use a new 'liquid metal' alloy to make the next iPhone's body, replacing the heavy duty glass used now.
The metal is supposed to feel incredibly smooth, yet be very durable.
While you wouldn't be able to guess from its advertising or marketing materials, T-Mobile is hurting because it doesn't offer the iPhone. The company has said as much in official statements and earnings reports.
T-Mobile can't have the iPhone right now because its network isn't compatible with the device. And Apple won't alter its hardware to work on T-Mobile.
However, there are some hints that T-Mobile is sprucing up its network for an iPhone. Some areas in the U.S. are already switching over to iPhone-friendly wireless bands.
But T-Mobile's network won't have LTE until 2013, which means it'll likely miss the next iPhone launch this fall. If T-Mobile has any hope of getting the next iPhone, it probably won't happen until next year at the very earliest.
Apple's trend for iOS devices now seems to be to introduce the fastest hardware and processor in the iPad, then adopt it in the iPhone later in the year. We saw it with the iPad 2/iPhone 4S, and we'll likely see it again with the next iPhone.
Reports say Apple is already testing the new iPhone's guts. It has the same A5X processor found in the new iPad. It's also said to have 1 GB of RAM. Those specs mean you'll get some incredible performance out of the next iPhone.
After making a trip to Asia to visit electronics suppliers, analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets said the next iPhone will have a 'sleek' look thanks to a new unibody casing.
While we're almost positive the next iPhone will have a new look, we're not sure this is enough evidence to prove it'll have a unibody design.
Apple recently acquired Chomp, a company that made it easy to find new apps for your iPhone or iPad. That likely means Apple is planning a big update to the App store.
With tens of thousands of apps in the App Store, it can be tough to find the right one for you. The Chomp team could fix that.
Since the iPhone is expected to have a thinner design, Apple may shrink the size of its standard 30-pin dock connector in the new phone too.
Unfortunately, that'll mean you'll probably have to buy all new chargers and accessories if you upgrade from the iPhone 4 or 4S.
If the next iPhone is going to be thinner, Apple will have to alter its touchscreen technology to fit. According to Jeffries analyst Peter Misek, Apple will use a new screen in the next iPhone that is much more responsive.
It's the rumour that just won't die.
Every year we hear that Apple is working on a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone. And every year the rumour is completely wrong.
Recent reports from Asia say Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone model to battle all those budget Android phones out there.
However, it's much more likely that Apple will stick with tradition and offer the iPhone 4 and 4S at a discount after the next iPhone launches.