The iPhone 5 is expected to be announced at 1 p.m. today at the much-hyped Apple “Let’s talk iPhone” event. Although we’re only a couple of hours away from the official announcement, it’s never too late to speculate on what the hardware and software upgrade will be.
Multiple models: Apple is expected to release an upgraded iPhone 5 in black-and-white models with prices similar to the previous generation. But the big news is that Apple plans to release an “affordable” 16GB iPhone 4S (a slightly upgraded iPhone 4) for only $99 with a carrier contract.
iOS 5: Earlier this year, Apple announced its newest mobile operating system version iOS 5. The new OS comes with 200 new features and applications, such as the Reminders and Newsstand apps and a notification system similar to Android phones.
iCloud: The next-generation iPhone is expected to feature the new iCloud service for operating iTunes, providing wireless remote access to music from all computers and mobile devices. The iCloud will also store photos, apps, calendars and documents without using the phone's memory storage capacity.
Hardware: The iPhone 5 will upgrade its CPU to a faster 1.2-to-1.5 GHz dual-core A5 processor chip, which powers the iPad 2. An upgrade of 1GB of RAM is also expected.
Memory: The iPhone 5 is expected to have 16/32/64 GB internal storage.
Design: The new iPhone is supposed to be slimmer and lighter than the previous iPhone, yet it will sport a 4-inch screen (versus 3.5-inch screen in the previous generation). The new smartphone will come with an aluminum plate casing rather than the current glass backing.
Home button: Rumor has it that Steve Jobs didn't want any physical buttons on the iPhone.
Camera: Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to feature an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a dual-LED flash support while the front facing camera stays the same.
Two networks, same phone: Currently, Verizon (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) have two different mobile chip-sets that require two different iPhone for each carrier. Apple will probably introduce single chip-set that has both the GSM and CDMA technology.
"World phone": The smartphone is also rumored to sport a world-phone SIM card slot for other countries, allowing users to insert any SIM card when traveling abroad.
Wireless data and charging dock: Apple could improve on the inductive wireless charging technology already on the market with a pad that both charges as well as syncs, shares and backs up data.
No 4G: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint boast 4G networks, each having a handful of 4G-equipped smartphones available. The improved data speeds have helped 4G-equipped Android phones gain ground on the iPhone. But all indications point to the iPhone 5 not having 4G support.
No NFC payment: Near Field Communication technology, with which users can pay for goods by waving their phone in front of a contactless payment scanner, seems to be the new “it thing” with new phones. But Apple doesn’t think the technology has matured enough to make it into the iPhone.
Stay tuned for live coverage of the Apple “Let’s talk iPhone” event at 1 p.m. We’ll try to put up a live video broadcast if it's available.