Next-gen iPhone rumors heating up, could possibly be “iPhone HD”

It's been extremely quiet on the iPhone front lately, but with the iPad set to land this weekend, that's understandable. Of course, we're coming up fast on that typical one-year refresh cycle that Apple seems to adore, with the iPhone 3GS at a ripe old age of about 9 months or so. For most users who strictly adhere to their normal two-year mobile contracts, it's not even time to start thinking about a new iPhone, but not for us gadget geeks.

Luckily for we who drop our coin at the sight of new smartphones, the iPhone chatter is starting to amp up, and it's about time. The Wall Street Journal got things started with some fairly vague reports that Apple would be releasing a new version of the iPhone sometime this summer, along with a companion CDMA version that would supposedly finally land at Verizon's doorstep later this year. Both models would be thinner and feature faster processors than the current lineup. In other news, it has been found that people love the iPhone more than that one doctor who never agrees with the other nine of his peers.

As the WSJ states the obvious roadmap that we have not only heard but just commonly expect, a few other sources chimed in with their respective bits of rumor, some of which sound about right to keep Apple two steps ahead of the pack.

While AT&T has gotten somewhat of a bad rap for their slow rate of network expansion, which would have been an issue for any of the major carriers suddenly taking on millions of new bandwidth-hungry customers, adding Verizon to the mix could be a huge blow to Android. If the plans for a CDMA iPhone do go through, look for Pegatron Technology Corp, a subsidiary of ASUSTeK Computer, Inc., to handle the manufacturing chores, while Hon Hai Precision will continue to churn out the GSM models.

As for those other rumors that have a little more bite to them, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who has a pretty accurate track record when it comes to Apple predictions and knowledge, ran off a list of specs that is interesting, to say the least. First, the resolution will double to an odd 960×640, which would clearly vault ahead of the top-end 800×480 that many Android handsets use today. The processor will be based on the same Apple A4 system-on-a-chip in the iPad and a second front-facing camera will sprout, as will an enhanced back camera and true multitasking in iPhone OS 4.

Over at Engadget, they're already insisting the "HD" moniker will be attached to the name, and given the specs of the screen, it would be hard to argue. As if waiting for the Dell Mini 5 and Sprint EVO 4G wasn't excruciating enough, it looks like we'll have to wait until June 22nd for an announcement from Apple, with the phone probably arriving in the typical 45- to 60-day time period following.

A few weeks back, I mentioned to Jenn what I thought the next-gen iPhone would look like, and it started with the same unibody design as the iPad. For the screen, I expect it to stay the same size, but the resolution will increase from HVGA (320×480) to a standard VGA (640×480). Moving on, 802.11n will be the norm, while 64GB would be the new top-end capacity. The processor will be an underclocked A4 running at 800MHz, and the battery will be slightly larger to compensate for the new specs. While it might not make the cut for the 4th-gen model, I expect the Home button to eventually become a capacitive touch affair.

Hopefully we'll know before long what Apple has planned, but I have a feeling it's going to be right in the middle of what everyone expects. The physical styling needs to be refreshed because the whole plastic-with-chrome-ring theme is getting a bit tired when compared to the Nexus One and HTC HD2, which both look much better, in my opinion. The OS could use some tweaking, maybe picking up a few pointers here and there from Android 2.1, and the camera definitely needs to be brought up to 2010 specs with a higher res and an LED flash.

So now that you've heard what the possibilities are, what would you like to see in the new iPhone? Those of you that cringe at the sight of anything Apple, please refrain from wishing a terrible catastrophe upon 1 Infinite Loop, while those of you who currently enjoy your iPhone, chime in with your wishlist. For those that use multiple platforms, like Jenn and myself, are there some features that you would like to see Apple "borrow" for iPhone OS 4?

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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