Just as predicted, Apple Inc. has invited reporters to a news conference next Wednesday, September 12th, in San Francisco with a message that suggests that it will reveal the iPhone 5, as expected.
The email invitation shows a big “12,” for September 12, casting a shadow in the shape of a “5.” Various unconfirmed reports have pointed to September 12 as being the day Apple shows off the new iPhone, which is expected to go on sale a week or two later.
The event will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the place where Apple Inc. has unveiled its various previous products such as the iPad. Apple’s iPhone launches are among the most-watched events on the tech industry calendar.
In recent days, the leaks of the new iPhone details have become more common, with the most recent showing a supposedly working iPhone 5 being switched on. However, despite all the speculation, Apple has refused to confirm any details of the new handset – indeed, it has even refused to admit it is launching one.
The next iPhone is expected to have a larger screen, a new 8-pin connector and the ability to access the latest 4G wireless data networks in the U.S. A larger screen size seems all but certain, and all indicators say that the 4-inch screen – increased in size from the existing iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen – will sport a different aspect ratio.
A 640 x 1,136-pixel resolution screen would enable an extra row of icons on the home screen, apps with extra visible screen space above the virtual keyboard, and HD videos with less letterboxing in landscape mode.
This screen could be manufactured using “in-cell” technology, a method of creating an even thinner all-in-one touch screen without any added layers. Or, it could be a new process. The resulting screen would allow for a slimmer iPhone, improve picture clarity, and even possibly extend battery life.
However, most importantly that a larger screen would help the new iPhone keep pace with the wave of ‘large’ Android phones that have become popular in recent months. Right now, the current 3.5-inch iPhone looks downright tiny in comparison to smartphones like the 4.65-inch Samsung Galaxy Nexus or Samsung 4.8-inch Galaxy S3.
Other unconfirmed reports say the cupertino-based company will reveal a smaller version of the iPad, taking on competitors like Amazon.com’s Kindle Fire, which have nibbled on the edges of the iPad’s dominance in the tablet category. However, the recent rumors have pegged that release to take place later in the fall.
While the new iPhone will be the clear headliner at the press event, Apple will probably reveal other products as well, such as a refreshed iPod lineup (before iPhone launches were moved to the fall, the company’s September events traditionally focused on the iPod line).
Some analysts reckon the next generation of the iPhone, first launched in 2007, could sell up to 160m worldwide in its first two quarters, based on the amount of investment Apple has put into production lines in the past year. That compares with about 80m for the iPhone 4S, according to estimates by Horace Dediu, founder of the Asymco consultancy.
Dediu’s forecast is based on testimony given by Phil Schiller, head of marketing for Apple, who testified in the company’s court battle with Samsung last month that “each new generation [of iPhone] sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined”.
The smartphone market is still seeing rapid growth of more than 40% annually, even as sales of feature phones have dipped, but only Apple and the Google’s Android mobile platform are seeing growth in market share.
Smartphones running Android made up more than 65% of the world market in the second quarter. However, Apple has a strong share in the U.S., the richest smartphone market, while Android sales made up 80% of those in China, the fastest-growing market, during the second quarter.
On Wednesday, September 5th, Nokia and Motorola are holding events of their own in New York, apparently to reveal their latest products ahead of the iPhone launch. Apple Inc. shares rose $5.18 to $676.42 in afternoon trading. The shares are close to their all-time high of $680.87, hit a week ago.