Apple could shift to an advanced metal oxide backplane, such as Indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO), to improve display efficiency and performance, according to Soneira. The benefits include more pixels, lower power consumption, and more accurate touch.
The biggest improvements for mobile displays will come from dynamically changing the Color Gamuts and Intensity Scales to automatically compensate and correct for reflected glare and image wash out from ambient light. Whichever one succeeds is likely to win in the next generation of mobile displays...
Yet for the 2013 iPhone, there may be no need yet to switch to a brand new display technology. Apple could combine a range of improvements that will make the iPhone (and future iPads) even more usable in bright settings. In an earlier analysis, and referring to device makers in general (not just Apple), Soneira listed several changes that could make a big difference in mobile screens, including: reduce screen reflectance to improve readability in brighter light, rejigger the front-facing ambient light sensor (and add more sensors) to measure the brightness of the surrounding light instead of your face; and retool automatic brightness controls so they actually work effectively.
Battery life: Don't expect a bigger battery, but battery life will at least stay the same if not improve. Apple has optimized its processors to minimize power consumption, which is one reason that the iPhone has a much smaller battery compared to many rival smartphones it doesn't need a bigger one. That translates into being thin and light.
IOS 7, apps, cloud services: Apple's own apps should be a showcase for the impact of the redesigned iOS user interface. IOS 7 is not limited to a different color palette and some new visual design rules. It's also about organizing information and tasks visually, in layers. Nearly a year after Tim Cook's unprecedented apology for Apple's first Maps app and service, introduced with iPhone 5, the company will have the chance to show how this strategic platform has improved.
Almost nothing is known about a lower-cost iPhone model, including whether Apple will actually announce one. There has been a swelling stream of photos purporting to show a plastic-bodied iPhone though.
Some have suggested the low-cost iPhone will be an iPhone 5 or even a 5S in a plastic body. Apple watcher John Gruber argues that it could be the iPod Touch with a cellular radio added. The Touch starts at $229 for the 16GB model, introduced earlier this year without the rear-facing 5 megapixel camera still found on the 32GB and 64GB Touch models (but it retains a 1.2 megapixel at the front for FaceTime video chatting, and for video and still photos).
The idea seems to be to offer a "premium" mid-range iPhone that has less-expensive hardware features but offers users the full "iPhone experience" by virtue of fully supporting the redesigned iOS 7.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.