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Apple iPhone HD Rumours

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11th April 2010

 Apple Logo Last week Apple announced the new version of their portable operating system, iPhone OS 4.0. For the first time, this introduces multitasking, and it also supports a new gaming network and adds more customisation options than ever before.

The new operating system will run fully on the Apple iPhone 3G S, the Apple iPad and the latest generation of iPod Touch devices, older handsets may also be able to run some of the features too. But inevitably, the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement leads to speculation about whatever may go into the next generation iPhone.

One thing that we have learned from all the previous versions of the iPhone is that Apple don't like to mess around too much with the design. So, to this end, the next generation iPhone will look pretty much like the previous ones. In the past, this hasn't really mattered.. but one of the key areas where the existing iPhone is looking dated is the display. The 3.5" 320 x 480 pixel panel is pretty good, but manufacturers of high-end smartphones are putting more pixels in now, to the extent that any premium device is expected to have a 480 x 800 pixel display at minimum.

 Apple HD screen overlay Possibly the benchmark device when it comes to HD screens is the HTC HD2, this comes with a 4.3" 480 x 800 pixel panel. Can Apple compete with something like the HD2? Well, not really. The HD2 is quite a lot bigger than the iPhone, and in fact the 4.3" display from the HD2 would fill almost the entire front of the iPhone's case, as the diagram on the right shows.

Because Apple won't want to change the size of the new iPhone, the screen size will have to be limited. It's possible that Apple might squeeze in a slightly larger display, but our guess is that it will be no larger than 3.7 inches.

The next question is what resolution would Apple go for? Most likely, Apple will want to maintain maximum compatibility with old applications, so the simplest solution from that point of view would be to double the resolution to 640 x 960 pixels. "Old style" iPhone applications would scale well from this as they would simply display on two pixels instead of one. One disadvantage is that display panels of this resolution are very rare, but with the volumes that Apple can offer then it would be simple to have a panel custom made. Apple are unlikely to go for a mini version of the 1024 x 768 panel in the iPad because the aspect ratio is different from the iPhone.

The next generation "iPhone HD" will probably use the same 1GHz processor that is found in the iPad. Expect more RAM in the iPhone HD too, as this will help with multitasking. More Flash memory for storage would be nice, Apple might offer a 64GB version of the new iPhone as they do with the iPad.

 Apple iPhone camera The 3.2 megapixel camera on the iPhone 3G S is surprisingly good given its limited resolution, but Apple desperately need to upgrade it to 5 megapixels or better. A front-facing video camera is an outside possibility, nobody really makes video calls.. but then Apple are perhaps the sort of company who would be able to make video calling popular.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed with Apple, and we don't even know when the next generation iPhone will be announced, although the last two were announced in June.  In the meantime, keep up to date by subscribing to Mobile Gazette for more news.


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