Today Apple is announcing something, at around 6pm BST. It’s probably the seventh iteration of the iPhone, and the rumours suggest that this is the case, but until Tim Cook steps up on stage this evening we won’t know for sure.
I’ve got a few predictions, mostly based on the rumours that I’ve been reading over the past few weeks. I don’t actively seek out rumours but they do appear on sites like The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Twitter from time to time. So here’s what I expect:
Two new iPhone models, including a budget model
There are credible rumours that Apple will release two new models of the iPhone today – a new iPhone 5S, and a cheaper iPhone 5C. The 5S will probably have the same form factor as the existing iPhone 5 but have some extra hardware features and a beefed-up processor – possibly the A6X as used in the fourth-generation iPad but maybe a new A7 processor. I also believe the rumours of a fingerprint scanner on the home button.
The iPhone 5C will be a cheaper and more plasticy model that will be particularly aimed at emerging markets like China, but I think it will also do well in western markets. I know there are people out there who want to buy an iPhone but can’t justify the cost, and don’t want an old model.
The iPhone 4, 4S and iPad 2 will be retired
The three year old iPhone 4 is sure to be retired but I expect the 4S to go, and the iPad 2. This will mean that all of Apple’s mobile products will use the Lightning connector, rather than the 30-pin Dock connector, and all of its phones will have the same screen size.
The iPod Classic will be retired
It’s been 4 years since the last update to the iPod Classic, which is the only remaining iPod model to include a hard disk (as opposed to flash memory). Wired thinks it’ll be dropped and I agree. I hope that a new 128 GB iPod Touch will be released, so that Apple can still cater for those who want to be able to play their entire large music collection on the go.
Neither of the new iPhones will have NFC
NFC, or near-field communication, is becoming standard on many Android and Windows phones. But I can’t see Apple adopting it. They’ll go for Bluetooth SMART instead. Because the iPhone already has Bluetooth, this shouldn’t require any new hardware, and should be better for battery life too.
According to this AppleInsider article, this will be branded as iBeacons in iOS 7, and will be available not only in Apple’s new handsets, but the existing iPhone 4S and 5 as well.
Third-party apps for the Apple TV
Okay, this is less a prediction and more of a hope. Apple has been steadily increasing the number of platform partners for the Apple TV but it’s still very US-centric. The only UK channel available at present is Sky News.
I hope that Apple opens an App Store for the Apple TV, opening the door to apps such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, ITV Player, Now TV and the like. This will make the device significantly more useful.
We will find out in just over eight hours’ time what comes to pass.