New Delhi: With all eyes on Apple's upcoming iPhone 5, the excitment is palpable among ardent followers of technology. The new iPhone 5, which is likely to be launched today at Apple's event at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, is expected to be more than just another smartphone as it carries the weight of Apple's future on its slim frame.
Apple's new iPhone is widely expected to offer 4G wireless technology for the first time, and a 4-inch display, up from the current 3.5 inches. But it remains to be seen if Chief Executive Tim Cook has any surprises up his sleeve, and if he will show off any technological breakthroughs that can put the iPhone 5 head and shoulders above the competition.
Here's what all the new Apple iPhone 5 is expected to offer:
1. The latest version of the company's main product - generating more than half its revenue - may sport a larger, higher-end screen. The new screen could measure 4 inches from corner to corner, an increase from the 3.5-inch display that has been held constant since the smartphone began selling in 2007 and revolutionised the mobile industry.
2. The new model is expected to work with fourth-generation, or 4G, cellular networks. That capability is something the S III and many other iPhone rivals already have. Apple will try to close that gap on Wednesday with the unveiling of the newest iPhone. However, it is not likely to be available on every carrier.
3. The next-generation iPhone is likely to feature a redesigned, smaller dock connector, with Apple ditiching its 30-pin port.
4. There are indications that the new iPhone will come bundled with better earphones with a stirking new design. Of late, Vietnamese site Tinhte published images of earphones. Technology website The Verge, in one of its reports, said, "The buds have an unusual molded design that appears to funnel sound into the ear canal, and the speaker grilles are largely hidden from view."
5. It is expected that the micro-SIM tray may have to make way for nano-SIM in the iPhone 5.
6. The 3.5mm headphone port in the iPhone 5 is likely to be located at the bottom of the phone instead of the top.
7. The new iPhone is expected to have the rear casing made of metal, replacing the breakable glass found on its predecessors - the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.
8. There are speculations that the iPhone 5 will get a bigger battery. According to iResQ, an Apple certified repair shop, "the iPhone 5's battery is slightly less than a half an inch taller than the iPhone 4S. Although, the thickness appears to be the same, the iPhone 5 battery is ever so slightly thinner."
9. There are various claims that the iPhone 5 will be slimmer and lighter than the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is expected to be longer than the 4S, but not wider.
10. According to a report from GottaBeMobile, Apple will launch the new iPhone on September 21, nine days after the announcement.
As with most rumours, it is difficult to say that how many of these will turn out to be true, but two things are known, that Apple plans to update its phone software this fall and will ditch Google's mapping service for its own, as a rivalry between the two companies intensify.
Here are some highlights of iOS 6:
- Maps: Apple's mobile devices will have a mapping program, built in-house.
In the past, Apple has given prominent billing to Google Inc.'s mapping app. But the two companies have increasingly become rivals as people buy more devices running Google's Android operating system. Google also has been keeping some features, including turn-by-turn directions spoken aloud, exclusive to Android.
Apple's new Maps application will have a voice navigation feature. It will have real-time traffic data and offer alternative routes as traffic conditions change.
It will also include "flyover" three-dimensional images taken by helicopters hired by the company to fly over major cities. Google has been dispatching its own planes to produce similar 3D images.
Apple's map program will be integrated with its Siri virtual assistant so that you can ask for directions and pose other questions.
- Facebook: The new software promises better integration with Facebook. The upgrade will enable you to log into Facebook just once, and then you will be able to post to the social network from a variety of apps. You can also post about websites directly from Apple's Safari browser.
Facebook will be integrated with Apple's online app store so that you can declare that you "like" specific apps there, as well as songs and movies in iTunes.
Events in Facebook's calendar and birthdays of Facebook friends will also appear on your phone's calendar.
- Siri: iOS 6 will have enhancements to Siri, which interprets voice commands and talks back to the user. It is also coming to the iPad for the first time.
Siri, introduced last October with the iPhone 4S, is supposed to get better at fielding questions about movies, restaurants and other things.
Apple says it is partnering with Yelp Inc. so that Siri can include ratings and prices of restaurants when you ask her about places to eat. The company is also partnering with OpenTable Inc. to make reservations.
Siri will now be available in more languages and more countries.
Apple also says it's working with car manufacturers to let you use a button on the steering wheel to talk to Siri, allowing you to keep your hands on the road. Apple says General Motors Co., BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes are among the automakers that have promised to offer Siri integration in the next 12 months.
- Calls: Don't want to be disturbed? Apple's new software will give you more options for preventing messages and text notifications from disturbing you at night, for instance.
You can control how and when you get back to people. If you can't call someone back right away, you can set a reminder to call that person back later or have a text message sent directly to the caller.
There's a "call when you leave" feature that reminds you to call back when you are leaving a building or office. The phone can detect when you are leaving.
- Passbook: Apple's new Passbook feature will be a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.
When you get to a Starbucks, for instance, the device will bring up your gift card if you have one and if you have the location feature turned on. Likewise, when you get to a movie theater or baseball stadium, the ticket will pop up. Passbook will also alert you to gate changes and flight delays once you have a boarding pass stored.
Passbook could be the foundation for a new digital commerce hub for Apple, especially if the iPhone 5 includes a "near-field communication" chip that enables payment information to be transferred by tapping a device on a terminal at a checkout stand. A few Android phones use this technology to process payments with a feature known as Google Wallet.