This week has seen analysts speculating about the possible release date of Apple’s next smartphone, as well as the high probability that the device will offer 4G LTE support.
Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu expects the next iPhone to launch with support for China’s Mobile 3G network, making it a “true world phone.”
China Mobile is the world’s largest cell provider, with a whopping 650 million customers.
The analyst also expects Apple to launch the iPhone 5 to in October, a full year after the release of the iPhone 4S.
Rumors regarding a larger iPhone 5 screen have also persisted this week.
Based on interviews with 100 developers at WWDC 2012 about the difficulties of creating new apps for two new screen sizes, namely the iPhone 5 and the rumored iPad mini, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster concluded that developers are not so worried about the change in screen size and updating the applications for the new resolution won’t prove so difficult.
In addition, an iPhone 5 concept with 4-inch screen showed how the device could include homescreen widgets.
Andrea Cervone at iphoneitalia created the concept and demonstrated how Apple could optimize the additional free space to incorporate new elements into the homescreen, by inserting widgets at the top of the display.
Besides Cervone’s concept, rendered pictures of a white iPhone surfaced on the net, based on images of the cases for iPhone 5 that have appeared in China.
Dutch designer Martin Hajek posted the images on Flickr, presenting an iPhone with the striped aluminum back and 16:9 ratio.
Although rumors of a 4-inch screen iPhone have yet to be confirmed, a manufacturer has reportedly already producing cases for the device.
Mobilefun.co.uk reported that new leaks of what appear to be the cases of the future iPhone seem to confirm that the device will feature design changes.
The site stated that the manufacturer has started producing and even marketing the new cases, adding that he is willing to guarantee their validity and to ship replacements for free if Apple launches a different device.
Judging by the images show, the handset will feature bigger speaker grilles on the bottom of the smartphone and the rear panel will have a two-color aluminum design that separates the main rear cover from the antennae.
Another change Apple has been rumored to be planning is ditching the 30-pin dock connector.
Citing Apple sources, TechCrunch reported that the new handset is scheduled to be equipped with a new type of dock connector.
Three independent manufacturers cited by the site claim that the pin-out will be different and that the 19-pin dock port is currently in the works.
Besides rumors about the specs of the next iPhone, various sites also reported about the device’s 4G compatibility.
Analyst Shaw Wu expects the iPhone 5 to work both on 3G and 4G networks.
The analyst estimates that 4G support will be meant to spark customers’ interest into upgrading to the new iPhone and that the device will work with China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G network.
However, France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard believes otherwise.
In a recent interview, Richard said that the next iPhone won’t be compatible with 4G LTE networks that will be launched in Europe this year and in 2013 as the integration of a chip compatible with French 4G networks is not a priority for Apple.
He also added that American networks don’t use the same frequencies as the French ones.
Finally, NFC rumors have resurfaced. PC Advisor reported that Cupertino unveiled Passbook, a new iOS 6 app at the WWDC 2012.
Reporting for The Telegraph, Christopher Williams wrote that Passbook is meant to be used as a user-friendly holder for documents with associated barcodes such as cinema tickets, boarding passes and Starbucks vouchers.
The app is viewed by analysts as a precursor to a more developed e-payment tech for the future iPhone, possibly even featuring “wave and pay” technology.
Williams noted that for now Apple might be testing the waters to help users become accustomed to “wave and pay” purchasing before introducing a full-fledged NFC feature.