Sunday, 06 May 2012 19:07

Fresh speculation about 2012 iPhone


Could Apple be preparing to do something as crazy as dumping the familiar 30-pin Dock connector? One source thinks so, yet also suggests the styling of the next iPhone will be generally similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S.

It's always entertaining to mull over rumours about future Apple products. Apart from anything else, it's never clear whether the original source actually knows what they're talking about.

If they have seen something Apple didn't want them to (or has forbidden them to disclose), it could be a prototype or early sample of the product, or it might just be one of several candidates.

Or it could be misinformation from Apple, or just a complete fabrication.

Anyway, iLounge is tipping that the next model iPhone will have a similar industrial design to the iPhone 4 and 4S, but slimmer and taller, with a partly metal back panel.

The extra height is said to be needed to accommodate a 4in (rather than 3.5in) screen with a different aspect ratio. Some iPhone owners do seem to be feeling some screen-size envy with regard to several recent Android phones, but the idea of yet another variation in pixel dimensions among iOS devices is questionable.

That said, iLounge readers have come up with some suggestions for how the extra real estate could be used without requiring developers to rewrite everything. These include a permanent row of icons/buttons (a la the Mac OS X Dock), support for the extra rows of pixels being delivered via CocoaTouch so apps that don't use bitmaps can automatically expand, and simple letterboxing/pillarboxing (depending on orientation) for those apps - notably games - that have hard-coded dimensions.

Page 2: new Dock connector?


Less convincing is the idea that the next iPhone will use a smaller Dock connector with fewer pins than the current 30. Since the rumoured (speculated?) outline is just as wide as the iPhone 4 and 4S, there's no obvious reason to move to a smaller connector and in one swoop lose the advantage of a common connector for the entire family (OK, except the iPod shuffle).

We know Apple isn't afraid to make changes that loyal customers dislike (consider some of the reactions to Final Cut Pro X or Lion), but it's hard to see how users will benefit from a new Dock connector - unless they've been looking for an excuse to replace all their existing accessories and related equipment.

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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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