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iPhone 5: Expert Predictions and the Challenges Ahead

Tom Kaneshige | Sept. 7, 2012
Kyle Wiens of iFixit has a proven track record with Apple product predictions. Here are his expectations of the upcoming iPhone 5 regarding battery life, 4G LTE, backwards compatibility, and more.

The time might finally be right for the silicon. I'm optimistic that the iPhone 5 (with 4G LTE) will have similar talk times as the iPhone 4S, not quite the same but acceptable. It looks like Apple slightly upgraded the battery chemistry, from 3.7 volts to 3.8 volts. Every little bit helps.

But also keep in mind that the iPhone 5 has to drive a bigger display and a four-core chip. All of that sucks more power. Apple will look to drive more power efficiencies, and so we'll see how good they are at engineering.

The battery life is the biggest wild card at this point.

Speaking of parts leaks, there was one showing a new dock connector. Do you think it'll be in the iPhone 5?

Wiens: We're definitely going to see a new connector. It'll primarily be USB plus a couple of other pins.

Apple has held on to the connector for seven years. They had to shrink the connector because it was constraining how thick they could make the phone. It was forcing Apple to put the headphone jack on the other side of the phone. Now, I think they'll move the headphone jack down.

MagSafe on the new connector would be pretty cool, too, and I suspect we'll see it. (MagSafe is Apple's proprietary magnetically attached connector.)

What about backwards compatibility?

Wiens: Backwards compatibility on the connector would be very cool to see, but I would say odds are against it.

There are a whole lot of accessories out there that will end up in landfills. With battery packs, people need to know that you can't just throw away it away. It's got a lithium battery in there that needs to be recycled just like you recycle a laptop.

No backwards compatibility will be great for the accessory makers because they'll be able to sell everyone a whole new battery pack, a whole new alarm clock radio. But for people who have integrated dock connectors in their cars or hotels with fleets of clock radios in rooms, it's a bad thing.

Apple is replacing some apps with native Apple apps and eliminating others such as YouTube. How will this play out?

Wiens: I think Apple's new maps app is a disaster. If I can't get bicycle directions or transit directions on my phone, and there isn't a replacement Google Maps app in the App Store, I would switch to Android. Google Maps app is one of the best, most proven mapping technologies in the world. It doesn't look like Apple really gets maps yet.

In terms of the other stuff, I don't think YouTube being missing is a big deal.

 

 

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