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Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:54

Significant hardware improvements ahead for iPhone, say tipsters

Having heard what Apple's brewing for the iPhone 3.0 software, the rumour mill is turning to hardware features expected in 2009's next-generation iPhone.

Earlier this month Apple announced some of the features of the iPhone 3.0 software.

According to those that have seen the prerelease version, it includes identification strings for as yet unreleased models, sparking fresh speculation about forthcoming iPhones.

There have also been reports of at least one carrier preparing to cut the price of the iPhone 3G in order to clear existing stocks ahead of the debut of a new model.

Rumour-mongers are asserting several changes are ahead for the iPhone, though opinions are divided about whether this year's model will be a replacement for the current iPhone 3G or an upmarket addition to the range - an 'iPhone Pro', if you will.

One story is that Apple's highly-regarded handset will get a new camera capable of genuine video recording. Given the widespread use of phone-sourced video even on commercial news broadcasts, the lack of this feature is an embarrassment for iPhone owners.

This hardware change, rumour has it, will be accompanied by a basic video editor (my minimum expectation would be the ability to trim unwanted footage and add basic titles), plus provision for uploading movies to the web and sending them via MMS or email.

What other changes are anticipated for the 2009 iPhone? See page 2.

With carriers in various parts of the world adopting or planning to adopt higher 3G data speeds (even AT&T), the word is that Apple's following suit. But it's far from clear whether we're talking about 7.2, 14.4 or 21.1 Mbps.

Given the relatively limited rollout of 21.1 Mbps so far, that seems a long shot, with 7.2 or 14.4 Mbps being more likely.

It's not that users will actually get those speeds, but any real improvement is worthwhile, and is likely to be welcomed by those anticipating using the tethering feature of iPhone 3.0 to use the handset as a wireless modem for their computers.

The iPhone/iPod touch is going from strength to strength as a games platform, and another tip is that the next-gen iPhone will feature higher-performance hardware allowing for more complex games (or at least to make it easier for developers to deliver satisfactory performance from their software).

All these hardware features imply a greater load on the battery - and getting enough hours per charge is something you do hear iPhone owners... well, not exactly complaining about... let's just say they would like to get more out of each charge, and certainly wouldn't be happy if they had to recharge more frequently or restrict their use of certain features.

There are vague suggestions that new battery technology will find its way into the new iPhone, and that the use of chips from Apple subsidiary PA Semi may deliver increased performance with less drain on the battery.

Previous rumours have suggested a mid-year introduction of a new iPhone, presumably in tandem with the 3.0 software.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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