In a note to investors on Friday, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek claimed knowledge of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone. While most are now in agreement that Apple will not unveil its new iPhone until September this year at the earliest, thereby breaking its annual summer release cycle for the first time, the feature set coming in Apple’s next iPhone remains a topic of debate. Misek’s channel checks found that the next iPhone will be called the “iPhone 4S,” and it will feature minor cosmetic updates, Apple’s A5 processor, better cameras and HSPA+ support. More interestingly, perhaps, Misek claims that the next-gen iPhone will be picked up by both Sprint and T-Mobile. Of course we already knew Apple was testing an iPhone compatible with T-Mobile’s network, but Misek’s note is the first confident claim that the device will launch on T-Mobile since our exclusive report. Regarding 4G LTE compatibility, Misek says the Qualcomm LTE chip Apple would use in a 4G model is not available in the quantities Apple would need for the huge production volumes that are expected. This claim jibes with earlier reports that Apple’s iPhone is not likely to support LTE until next year at the earliest. More →
Apple’s next-generation iPhone may launch even later than September this year, as has previously been rumored on numerous occasions. Apple has stuck to a summer launch for each new iPhone model released thus far, but the February introduction of Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4 and the imminent release of the white iPhone 4 do suggest Apple may deviate from its previous schedule. Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited supply chain checks in a note to investors on Monday, in which he suggests Apple’s iPhone 5 won’t enter mass production until September. This would make a September release highly unlikely, and would instead mean the new smartphone might launch in October or later. Ming-Chi also reiterates earlier rumors that the iPhone 5 will be an incremental update, and will feature Apple’s new A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a Qualcomm radio like the one found in Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4. Industry watcher DigiTimes recently issued a report calling any iPhone 5 manufacturing timelines to this point “baseless,” claiming Apple has not yet discussed the device or any production timing with its manufacturing partners.
Users and developers alike have been combing through iOS 4.3 since it’s release yesterday, and their efforts have produced a few interesting tidbits of information. After dismantling both software packages, tinkerers have discovered Apple’s naming convention for the iPad 2 — iPad 2,1 (K93AP) is the Wi-Fi model, iPad 2,2 (K94AP) is the GSM model, and iPad 2,3 (K95AP) is the CDMA model. All models are listed as having the S5L8940 processor, more commonly known as the A5. Here is the interesting bit: additional text snippets found in the iOS 4.3 and Xcode 4 bundles reference the next iPhone by its codename, N94AP. They also list it as having the same S5L8940, dual-core, A5 processor as the iPad 2. It isn’t really a surprise that Apple would use the A5 in both the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 — since it uses the A4 in the iPad and iPhone 4 — but it is nice to have some evidence to backup those assumptions. More →
According to a report filed by EETimes, Apple may partner with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in a “foundry relationship” to produce the A5 processor for the iPad 2. The move is being billed as a setback to Samsung Electronics, the company currently responsible for the production of Apple’s A4 silicon. “Apple, according to the source, will use TSMC for three reasons: 1. Samsung competes with the iPhone and iPad; 2. TSMC has the highest yielding 40-nm process in the foundry world; and 3. TSMC has the most 40-nm capacity,” writes the Times. The site quotes a report from FBR Capital, which expects iPad production to top 45 million units in 2011; 13 million units in the first half of the year and 32 million units in the second. Neither Apple, Samsung, nor TSMC have publicly commented on the purported foundry deal.
During its media event on Wednesday, Apple unveiled FaceTime for the iPad 2. The video calling app and service will function just as it does on the iPhone 4, and it will obviously support video chatting with both iPads and iPhone 4s. FaceTime for the iPad 2 is part of iOS 4.3 and will be available immediately at launch on March 11th. Apple also introduced iMovie for the iPad, which includes a precision video editor, multitrack audio recording, over 50 sound effects, new themes and AirPlay for sharing videos in HD with popular sites. The new iMovie app is also universal, so it will also run on iPhone and iPod touch as well — and it’s still just $5 in the App Store. Garage Band for the iPad, also announced at the event, features a variety of touch instruments and recording capabilities. Users can also plug in a guitar and play real instruments as well. The app sports guitar amps and effects, 8-track recording and mixing, over 250 audio loops to play with, and it’s compatible with the popular OS X version for Mac. Garage Band will cost $5 in the App Store when it launches on March 11th.
Apple on Wednesday unveiled its new 1GHz A5 processor. It improves upon the A4, which can be found in Apple’s iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad. The A5 features a dual-core architecture that delivers CPU performance up to two times faster than the A4 and graphics performance up to nine times faster. The new A5 features the same low power consumption characteristics that helped make the A4 great, and it will be the first dual-core processor to ship in a tablet volume.
With Apple’s iPad media event only a day away, many people are asking just what Apple is expected to announce tomorrow. We have heard rumors and seen purported next-generation iPad parts leak practically since right after the first iPad launched. Thanks to third-party case manufacturers, we have also been given renders and even physical mockups of the forthcoming iPad 2. We’ve tried to separate the nonsense from the plausible, and here’s what we’re expecting from tomorrow’s event:
- A much thinner and lighter iPad. We’re talking seriously thin.
- A slightly thinner bezel around the iPad’s display, making the device’s footprint just a tad bit smaller.
- A dual-core Apple processor, possibly named A5
- 512MB of RAM
- A front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for FaceTime HD
- A rear-facing 2-megapixel camera
- Support for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks out of the box
- Photo Booth for iPad
- Availability within 1-2 weeks, new price points starting at $399 for the entry-level Wi-Fi model
- Announcement and preview of iOS 5 to be released in the summer
We’ll know definitively tomorrow just after 1:00PM ET, but in the meantime, chime in with your own predictions and wishes, alright?