The wait is almost over -- the wraps are going to come off the iPhone 5 tomorrow. But if you can't wait, here's a sneak preview of what Apple's next smartphone is going to offer.
If the leaks and rumors are correct, in some ways the iPhone 5 is going to be the most advanced model Apple has produced. However, that doesn't mean it is going to be revolutionary. Just about all the new features will already be available in competing smartphones.
Bigger and Faster
It's a toss-up which of two new features will be the most significant improvement. The answer will vary from user to user.
The one that will be immediately obvious is the larger display. Apple is upgrading the touchscreen from 3.5-inched to 4.0 inches, and also adding some pixels, bringing the resolution to 1136 x 640, up from 960 x 640. This will improve watching video, surfing the Web, reading email... just about everything.
And it won't mean the device is getting dramatically bigger -- comparison pictures show that the iPhone 5 will be just a bit taller than its predecessor. And it's not like Apple is going to be offering a handset that bulkier than its competitors; its top competitor the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch screen.
This is expected to be the first Apple smartphone with 4G LTE. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint users should notice a dramatic increase in the speed at which they access websites, assuming they are in an area with LTE service.
There are questions about this, however. LTE can draw a lot of power, and it might have a negative effect on the iPhone 5's battery life. Still, it's a move Apple needs to make, as all of the iPhone's top competitors have LTE.
Processor, Camera, and More
It should surprise no one that the upcoming iPhone 5 will debut with iOS 6. An open question, however, is what processor it will use. This could be a quad-core Apple A6 chip, but some less optimistic sources point to a dual-core one. Most agree that the device will have 1GB of RAM.
There is evidence to suggest that Apple's sixth-generation smartphone is going to have an 8 MP camera, up from the 5 megapixel one in the current model. This is apparently another move to keep up with the competition, where 8 MP cameras are common.
The inclusion of Passbook in iOS gave weight to speculation that the iPhone 5 will have NFC. Passbook is a method for keeping track of loyalty cards, boarding passes, coupons, and more -- this would be much more useful with NFC.
In a bit of bad news for those who already have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, Apple is switching to a smaller Dock Connector. An adapter will be required to use plug-in accessories designed for earlier iDevices.
The big reveal of the Apple iPhone 5 is going to be tomorrow, so be sure to come back to Brighthand to see how the actual announcement stacks up to the rumors and speculation.
But don't call Wednesday the launch of this model. That isn't going to come until later. Apple will be taking pre-orders on Wednesday, but its next smartphone isn't expected to be in customer's hands until Sept. 21.
It is apparently headed for Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, but not T-Mobile. Prices aren't expected to change, with the base model costing $200 with a two-year contract.
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