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What could be on tap at Apple's Sept. 12 press event

Macworld Staff | Sept. 5, 2012
Apple laid months of event rumors and speculation to rest on Tuesday when it sent out official invitations to a special media presentation on September 12. Of course, now that we know for sure that an event is happening, the real speculation begins.

Its unclear what this means for LTE service in other countries, however. If Apple wants to support the faster cellular network abroad, it may have to resort to making international models that support frequencies not used in the U.S.

We say: Likely.

Bigger display: A new, larger display has also been pegged as one way that the next iPhone might differ from its predecessor. Reports have suggested that such a screen might keep the same width as the current incarnation, but instead add additional real estate in the height department. Such a move would offer a friendlier way to view widescreen content in landscape, as well as simply offering more information at a glance in portrait orientation. To date, the iPhones screen size hasnt changed from the 3.5-inch size its sported since 2007, although Apple has added more resolution with the Retina display that on both the iPhone 4 and 4S. Other smartphone makers have added larger screens to their phones, though generally in such a fashion that youd be excused for thinking that they were instead small tablets.

We say: Likely.

A new dock connector: There have also been whispers of a new, smaller dock connector to replace the 30-pin connector that presently occupies the bottom of the iPhone 4S. The current dock-connector port can perhaps most politely be described as venerable, as its adorned Apples portable devices since the third-generation iPod was released in 2003. As such, it has support for some outdated technologies no longer used by any of Apples devices (FireWire, for example). Revising the dock-connector port would allow Apple to reclaim some much-needed and increasingly valuable space inside the iPhones case.

If there is, in fact, a new dock connector on the horizon, we hope Apple decides to provide a free (or very cheap) adapter for accessories that use the old connector. Otherwise, come September 12 there may be a whole lot of happy accessory-makersand grumpy consumers.

What we dont expect, however, is a non-proprietary dock connector, such as a mini- or micro-USB port. For one thing, those technologies dont offer the breadth of capabilities that the dock-connector does. From a financial perspective, Apple licenses hardware access to iOS and iPod devices, and the means for doing so is the dock connector. As long as it remains proprietary, Apple can continue to rake in those licensing fees, even for something as seemingly innocuous as a third-party charger. That said, the company has also moved increasingly to wireless forms of connectivity where possible, with improvements like AirPlay and streaming Bluetooth audio.

We say: Likely.

A new camera: Pretty much every iteration of the iPhone has offered an improved camera over its predecessor, so itd be silly not to expect at least some changes in the next model. While much of the attention in the past has been focused on the back-facing camerawhich no doubt will see some changes, possibly including a megapixel increasewe wonder if its not time for Apple to improve its front-facing FaceTime camera. Most Macs now offer an FaceTime HD camera for video-conferencing, and with FaceTime over cellular data coming to iOS 6, its possible that the company will want to tout even higher-quality video chatting for users on Wi-Fi and LTE networks.

 

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