By Jim Karpen on Mon, 12/10/2012
The arrival of new products is many months away, but already we're getting predictions regarding what and when. And note that these predictions aren't completely fanciful: they come from a market analyst who has industry contacts. Peter Misek of investment firm Jefferies says that we'll likely see an iPhone 5S in June or July of next year. He thinks it will have, according to AppleInsider, "a new super HD camera/screen, a better battery, and NFC." He also says that there's a possiblity that the new phone will come in 6 colors, like the new iPod touch, that it will have an IGZO display, and will have a 128GB option.
I think the NFC chip (near field communication) is unlikely. Apple has said that it doesn't solve a problem, and consumers have been slow to adopt it on the Android devices that have the chip. On the other hand, I'm a bit more sanguine than Misek about IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc, oxide) display. I think it's the low-hanging fruit. The technology is now ready, and will allow devices to be even thinner and use less power. To me, it's inevitable that Apple will adopt this for their displays, and it's hard to imagine that they'd wait for a future iPhone.
Misek predicts that the fifth generation iPad will also appear in June or July, and says that it will likely have an IGZO display. He says it will be much lighter, and will be half as thick. I think this is also inevitable, and that Apple will need to come in with a slimmer, lighter device in order to remain competitive in the tablet market.
I think that, overall, we'll continue to see a trend toward thinner and lighter devices, with a longer battery life. These features will help to make Apple's devices stand out from the crowd. Interestingly, recent testing shows that Apple's iPads have the best battery life. In the 10-inch category, Apple's iPad with retina display and iPad 2 were way ahead of the pack. The battery in the retina display iPad lasted four hours longer than the iPad 2. And the iPad 2's battery lasted an hour longer than the nearest competitor, the the Sony Xperia S. In the 7-inch category, the iPad mini battery was way out ahead in their testing and lasted over three hours longer than the nearest competitor, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. This certainly jives with my own experience. The batteries on my iPads seem to last forever compared to my Nexus 7.
Misek also says that a low-cost iPhone might be on tap for next year. It would be a scaled-back iPhone 4. If it happens, I'm guessing it wouldn't likely be for sale in the U.S. but would be intended for emerging markets.
And finally, Misek thinks we'll see an Apple television next fall, probably with voice and gesture control. AppleInsider also cites a separate industry analyst who says it's more likely that Apple will sell an actual TV next year than an enhanced set-top box. It's the only one of the four device sizes (phone, tablet, computer, TV) that Apple doesn't yet sell. He says that Apple would relish the opportunity to have a central place in the living room. And he feels that the use of Siri will be a key feature.