The iPhone 4 is now a little over a year old, but with no official announcements on the iPhone 5 - but a heck of a lot of rumours - should you wait for the next iPhone?
The iPhone 4 has now met the first semblance of competition for its king of the smartphones crown. Both the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation have the processing power - that would be their dual-core processors - to smooth over Android hiccups. Their brash, bright screens measure over four inches, embarrassing the 3.5-inch retina screen of the iPhone 4, despite its higher resolution chops.
The Android software found on their smartphones has also gone through some upgrades since the iPhone 4 was released, closing the gap between Google's operating system and Apple's own iOS.
Whatever the iPhone 5 turns out to be, Apple has to prove why the iPhone was (perhaps still is) the most desirable phone in the world.
"What will the iPhone 5 be like?"
Apple’s military-grade secrecy means that nothing’s actually that concrete; instead there’s a sort of rumour mud. A lot of sources suggest that the new iPhone screen-size will get boosted to some size of around (or just above) four inches.
This makes a lot of sense, given the competition, especially if Apple engineers manage to cram the screen into a frame similar to the iPhone 4, pushing the screen to the edges of the phone, like in the mock-up to the right.
Bringing it in line with another smartphone trend that the iPhone 4 started, the iPhone 5 is expected to be both slimmer and lighter, likely to rival the likes of the LG Optimus Black, Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc and Samsung Galaxy S2. So a bigger screen a thinner body - not exactly earth-shattering changes there.
We can expect to see the phone’s cameras get a specification boost, with a rumoured 8-megapixel sensor made by Sony set to be part of the new iPhone’s hardware.
One iPhone problem Apple is sure to solve is those antenna issues that plagued the iPhone 4 on release. If you held the iPhone in a certain way, you’d see a noticeable drop in signal reception.
"So there isn't that much difference?"
That’s the thing, most rumour-mongering has the next iPhone pegged as a gentle upgrade from iPhone 4, perhaps with a different design- maybe even a brushed steel finish and tear-drop profile similar to Apple's Macs and the iPad- Bloomberg's sources suggest that it would be "a radical departure" from the iPhone 4's design.
We’d also expect the iPhone 5 to have Apple’s latest dual-core chip, similar to the one found in the iPad 2. This would mean there’s two processors able to multitask and run apps better, and make browsing and high-end games load and move faster.
iPhone 5? Don’t wait
But why wait around? The iPhone 4 is still one of our top phones. Faster, thinner and (debatably) better looking than the iPhone 3GS that came before it, we gave it the full five stars in our review.
Alongside that confident iPhone feel to its touchscreen, and smooth, swishable internet browsing, it brought the idea of usable videochat to the masses with its FaceTime app, was capable of good quality high-definition video-recording, and brought along with it Apple’s still unbeatable selection of apps and music available on iTunes.
The camera is still good, and since apps in iTunes are optimised for iPhones only, the processor feels faster than it is; it doesn't lag behind Android phones that like to cheer about their processor speeds, but with different parts, often have to struggle more to run Android apps that need to run on a whole range of phones.
Apple also look after their phones into old-age too, with the older iPhone 3GS set to keep up with younger models when the iOS 5 software updates arrive.
Apple’s forthcoming music-centric event in September is pegged as the point at which the iPhone 5 will meet the public for the first time. Several leaks from manufacturers point to a similar date. Although that's a few months from now, it's still not written in stone just yet that Apple will announce an iPhone successor.
Apple’s looking to get everyone downloading and streaming music from their iCloud account- this would mean you could listen to your music on any Apple device you own, anywhere. You’ll also be able to sync photos, contacts and the rest, but this will also be possible on the iPhone 4, as it’s all part of the new iOS 5 update set to arrive in a few months.
The iPhone 4 has also been around for a bit too, meaning that there’s now second-hand devices for sale, and there are a few more ways of paying a little bit less than Apple's recommended retail price.
We’d temper it with a warning; though the iPhone 4 isn’t going to become out-of-date immediately, buying the phone on a contract now will mean you’ll be locked in for at least 12 months, if not longer.
By the time that finishes, we could be well on our way to iPhone 6 rumours and release dates. Well, some people already are.