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Apple’s iPhone 4G: What We Know about the “iPhone HD”

Wondering what’s in store for Apple’s next-generation iPhone, the 4G? We round up all the latest rumors and speculation on the alleged “iPhone HD.”

Steve Jobs just can’t seem to catch a day of rest. With the allegedly world-changing Apple iPad now less than a week out from launch, Apple astrologers with eyes gazing skyward have allegedly caught focus of Apple’s next world-changing product launch: The iPhone 4G. Though still hazy, details that make a startling amount of sense have started to pile up. Have these Internet street preachers really foretold the fourth coming of the Jesus Phone?

We’ll likely find out in sixth months. But in the meantime, here’s the word on the street.

All hail the “iPhone HD”

Engadget apparently has it on good authority that the device we have so longed referred to as the “iPhone 4G” will actually be the “iPhone HD.” As far as naming conventions go, this would actually make a lot of sense and eliminate confusion.

Why? Although “iPhone 4G” would suggest that it’s the fourth generation of the phone, some could also take it to mean it supports 4G wireless Internet, which may or may not be the case. Apple used “iPhone 3G” for its second-generation product, so clearly the convention has more to do with Internet access than generations.

Even if it does support 4G, dropping the sequential numbers in and starting fresh with “iPhone HD” could also help Apple shake the perception that each new iPhone is merely a refresh of the last. And if rumors hold true, it will be far from that.

Speedy A4 processor

The Wall Street Journal hinted at the new iPhone’s “faster processor” in the article that got the ball rolling, but Daring Fireballs’ John Gruber later dropped more details inhis own snide commentary. According to Gruber, the chip powering the iPhone HD will share its bloodline with the A4 system-on-a-chip that powers the iPad.

Considering Apple developed this chip itself (basing it heavily on ARM’s Cortex A9 design), we wouldn’t be surprised to see the fruits of its labor appear in more than one mobile device. The 1GHz processor and onboard graphics should offer a considerable boost in horsepower from the 600MHz Cortex A8 processor currently driving the iPhone 3G S.

960 x 640 Display

Handsets like the Motorola Droid and HTC HD2 have dwarfed the iPhone’s 320-by-480-pixel screen for months now, so Apple will clearly need to take a step forward with the next iteration. John Gruber claims it will take one big step on each axis, essentially quadrupling the number of pixels to 960-by-640.

More pixels always make an intuitive leap for a next-gen phone, but the specific 2x factor here could be strategic as well. By keeping the same proportions as past iPhones, Apple eases compatibility issues between generations: Just turn one pixel on any current iPhone app into four pixels and you have a version that should look identical, without any crazy scaling.

Multi-tasking

You read right, the next-generation iPhone should correct the number one criticism about the phone that even the iPad has not. It will run more than one app at the same time.

This one’s a simple matter of connecting the dots: Apple traditionally ties every iPhone OS update to the launch of a new device, so a fourth-generation iPhone is almost synonymous with iPhone OS 4.0.AppleInsider reports that “people with a proven track record in predicting Apple’s technological advances” have confirmed that iPhone OS 4.0 will support multi-tasking, and Mr. Gruber concurs.

Available on Verizon, Maybe

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a CDMA version of the iPhone that should go into production this September. Unfortunately, we still have no idea whether this and the “upgraded iPhone” are the same device. It could be that Apple will announce the slick new iPhone HD for AT&T this summer, then drop a CDMA iPhone 3G S on Verizon this fall. Because Verizon plans to roll out the first pieces of its 4G LTE network by the end of 2010 and AT&T has been lollygagging behind on 4G, the tables could also turn the other way. Apple could release a mild refresh of the iPhone for AT&T this summer, and offer Verizon a supped-up new 4G version later on.

Front-facing camera

Great, another camera. This little tidbit from John Gruber may sound fairly pedestrian, but it’s really implying a much bigger feature: video conferencing. A front-facing camera will allow you to view the screen at the same time you shoot yourself with it, not only opening boundless opportunities for MySpace photos, but for Skype-style video conferencing on the go.

If you want to take the next logical implied step in sleuthing, a front-facing camera is also a checkmark in support of 4G, since the intense bandwidth used by two-way video communication probably wouldn’t fly too well over typical 3G connections.

Announcement coming June 22, Launch this Summer

When will we actually hear the real deal on this thing? Tuesday, June 22, if any anonymous Engadget tipster can be believed.

Students of history won’t find much to balk about with the general timeframe here. Apple has announced a new iPhone every summer since the first generation back in 2007, and we have no reason to suspect it has gone and changed its act for 2010. However, both the iPhone 3G and 3G S were announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, which sources suggest Apple has booked for June 28 through July 2 this year.

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April 27, 2010 - Posted by | My Gadgets | , , ,

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