What Apple should tell us at the iPhone announcement today
After months of rumors, suppositions and tales of iPhones on the lamb, today at 10 AM EST we finally will get the facts in the next chapter of the iPhone story. What can we expect? Well, we're pretty sure we'll see at least one new iPhone, the iPhone 4S, which is thought to be an upgraded iPhone 4 with a larger screen and a faster processor (the A5 processor found in the iPad). This iPhone likely will have some additional upgrades to the camera and other things, but the processor is critical because it's said to be needed to run a new feature in iOS 5 called Assistant. Watch the video below from MacRumors.com for a mockup of how Assistant might work.
As of this week the prevailing thought about the iPhone 5 is that we won't see it this year. The iPhone 4S, therefore, can be viewed similarly to the iPhone 3GS release, which was an incremental upgrade prior to the iPhone 4. With Sprint joining the party, however, there is a rumor that an exclusive 4G WiMAX iPhone 5 will be announced today, bolstered by a report by the Wall Street Journal that Sprint has committed to buying 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years at a cost estimate of $20 billion. Yes, that's billion with a b.
I think the Sprint rumor is far-fetched. Apple just started selling the iPhone with Verizon earlier this year and it makes no sense to burn that bridge with them by giving Sprint a 4G head start when Verizon has an excellent 4G network ready and waiting. Of course Verizon's network is 4G LTE so the hardware is not compatible and AT&T is still not ready with their true 4G network. The iPhone 4S has been rumored to contain CDMA and GSM radios this time, to accommodate Verizon and AT&T's networks with one piece of hardware. So maybe Sprint's use of WiMAX is giving them an advantage in this case, and they have decided to go for it while they have the chance.
Additionally we should expect a large part of the presentation to be about the features of iOS 5 which will include a release date. The new hardware will ship with iOS 5 so expect the release of both to coincide.
This will be new CEO Tim Cook's first big announcement so it will be interesting to see how he handles things. He's no stranger to Apple product announcements since former CEO Steve Jobs has been grooming him for awhile. Do you think he'll continue the tradition of Jobs' "one more thing" or will he start something new? Soon we'll know the answers to all these questions and I'll get the facts posted here as fast as I can after the announcement.
This just in...a special report on the iPhone 5 from Jimmy Kimmel!