Whew! Now that the iPhone 4S announcement is over (it's been an excruciatingly long this time), let's see how well the rumor mill was over the last year. That's right, Apple missed its summer iPhone refresh and we've been crowing about the iPhone 4S for over a year. So how did all the scraps of info pan out? The full CONFIRMED and DENIED scorecard inside.
iPhone 4S and iPhone 5
If you've been following DVICE up until now, you'll either be up to speed on all your next-gen iPhone rumors, or very confused. We've been tossing around both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 around, so it's fair game to have become a little lost.
As a preface, the rumors pointed strongly to an "iPhone 4S" with upgraded internal specs — meaning externally, the device would look exactly the same as the iPhone 4. At the same time, there was also evidence that suggested a completely redesigned "iPhone 5," that was slightly thinner, wider and taller than the iPhone 4 was on the way as well.
- CONFIRMED: iPhone 4S: exactly the same as the iPhone 4, upgraded internals
- CONFIRMED: Global GSM/CDMA iPhones, good on all networks
- DENIED: iPhone 5: thinner, wider, taller
- DENIED: Tapered "teardrop" design for iPhone 5
Screen Size and Resolution
Compared to the ever-increasing 4-inch and up Android smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II and Motorola Droids, the iPhone 4's puny 3.5-inch screen was starting to look decidedly small — even if it did boast the eye-splitting ultra dense Retina Display.
It was time for an upgrade. In a pool of smartphones where 4-inch is the new average, the next iPhone needeed to get with the program or risk looking outdated.
- CONFIRMED: 3.5-inch display for iPhone 4S
- CONFIRMED: Retina Display 960x640 resolution
- DENIED: 3.7-inch to 4.0-inch display for iPhone 5
Processor, RAM, Storage and Color
Historical evidence pointed to the next iPhone having two capacities: 16GB and 32GB. At least, that's what the iPhone 4 launched with. And although Apple had some serious issues with launching the iPhone 4 in white, it finally managed to resolve it and ship them to lusting fans. We expected the next iPhone to launch in both black and white on day one.
As with all hardware refreshes, we expected the majority of the improvements to be internal ones. The next iPhone would receive the iPad 2's upgraded dual-core A5 processor, double the RAM of the iPhone 4 and a larger 64GB capacity model. All of these spec bumps were expected to accommodate the next iPhone's system-wide voice controls.
- CONFIRMED: Dual-core A5 processor
- CONFIRMED: iPhone 4S: 16/32/64GB
- CONFIRMED: Black and white
- DENIED: iPhone 4S: 8GB
The original iPhone had a 2-megapixel camera. The iPhone 3G/3GS had a 3.2-megapixel camera. The iPhone 4 had a crispy 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and a VGA resolution front FaceTime camera. The next iPhone? It was widely predicted to have an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash capable of 1080p HD video recording and the front facing webcam was expected to get the HD upgrade as well.
- CONFIRMED: 8-megapixel camera with LED flash (up from 5-megapixel)
- CONFIRMED: 1080p HD video recording (up from 720p)
- DENIED: HD front FaceTime camera (up from VGA resolution)
It was 99.9 percent guaranteed that AT&T and Verizon would get the next iPhone. Apple already sells iPhones and iPads on both networks, and it was hard to see it just kill the deals now.
Sprint, the other CDMA network in the U.S. was also highly expected to finally get the iPhone. Because it uses the same radio bands as Verizon, putting the iPhone on Sprint was only a matter of exchanging a huge bag of cash.
- CONFIRMED: CDMA Networks: Sprint (with unlimited data) and Verizon
- CONFIRMED: GSM Networks: AT&T
- CONFIRMED: No T-Mobile iPhone
4G Data Speed
All iPhones run on 3G data networks. Don't let the iPhone 4's name fool you — it's not a 4G data speed demon, even if one-third of all iPhone owners already think they're on 4G — they're not.
A leaked slide from China Unicom suggested that HSPA+ 21Mbps "4G" (or faux-G, as we like to call it) would make it into the next iPhone. BGR also claimed that the iPhone 5 would be a 4G WiMax-capable smartphone on Sprint — a claim the WSJ lated hit back as false.
- CONFIRMED: No 4G on Sprint, 3G only (via WSJ)
- DENIED: HSPA+ 21 Mbps 4G
- DENIED: WiMax 4G on Sprint (via BGR)
NFC, Wireless Charging and Other Surprises
In the last year, we've heard a lot of babble about how NFC would be the next huge mobile thing. We begged to differ. Google might have just pushed out its NFC-based Google Wallet plan, but one fact remains true: its adoption rate is slow and untested. It's not a matter of shoving NFC chips and calling it a day, but retailers and shops need to get behind it as well. Sadly, it's mostly still in limited trial. We don't think Apple's going to jump onto unproven technology, unless it has the partnerships with key retail players to make it a success.
It was also believed that wireless charging would make it into the iPhone in some form. At best, it was wishful thinking, but hell, why not? Apple has a whole bag of patents up its sleeves — anything was possible.