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Summary:

We’re still more than two months out from the WWDC in June of this year, but already the rumor mill is going full-tilt, especially around what will no doubt be the star of the show, the next incarnation of Apple’s iPhone. We’ve already seen speculation about […]

iphonenewWe’re still more than two months out from the WWDC in June of this year, but already the rumor mill is going full-tilt, especially around what will no doubt be the star of the show, the next incarnation of Apple’s iPhone. We’ve already seen speculation about better camera capable of shooting video, and there have long been rumors of improved processors, and even GPUs and dual-core architecture. The latest speculation brings a lot of new features to the iPhone, in addition to better specs.

Video Editing

The first new feature hinted at is video editing capabilities, which, if true, would obviously confirm the iPhone’s ability to record video. Video editing possibilities stem from the discovery of a series of images with highly suggestive names like “UIMovieScrubberEditingRight.png” in the new iPhone 3.0 beta. None of the oddly named images seem to be used yet anywhere in the beta’s UI, which would suggest they are reserved for a feature not yet introduced. Even limited video editing ability would help Apple distinguish the iPhone even further from its competitors.

802.11n

Both of the other new rumors which came to light recently have to do with the iPhone’s connectivity. First, there’s evidence (again in the new beta firmware) to suggest that the next-gen iPhone will be getting a low-power 802.11n chip for better Wi-Fi connection speeds. Among a whole host of features this would bring to Apple’s mobile platform (the iPod touch is reportedly getting the same boost), AppleInsider points out that this would allow the iPhone to use the 5GHz range, so that users with newer Macs would no longer have to use a 2.4GHz compatible network in the their homes, which reduces overall network efficiency because of heavy 2.4GHz interference.

FM Transmission/Reception

Finally, there are claims that the same Broadcom chip that will provide the next-gen iPhone with low-power 802.11n will also give it FM transmit and receive capabilities. If that’s true, it means not only being able to listen to FM stations on your iPhone (which to me is pretty much worthless thanks to Internet radio), but also the ability to transmit to your car/home stereo on an FM frequency without wires or the need for additional peripherals. At the iPhone 3.0 event, Apple demoed what a potential FM transmitter app designed specifically for use with a peripheral might look like, but maybe they were actually giving us a preview of a standard app for the upcoming iPhone hardware refresh.

I think it’s time to start saving my shekels. I’m gonna have a hard time convincing my Canadian telco to let me re-up my contract for this new model after only a year, but if it’s packing half the features that are rumored, I feel compelled.

  1. If this is announced in June, when could we reasonably expect the phone to be available? My contract is up in May, and I was planning to make the iPhone switch, but obviously would want to hold out for the sweeter model.

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  2. Will this same or a similar Broadcom chip find a home in desktop and laptop Macs? It’s not hard to come up with uses for an FM transmitter in them.

    1. Broadcast from an iMac with iTunes to a high-quality sound system via its FM tuner. Great for listening while you work or listening in the kitchen when your Mac is in a nearby den/office.

    2. With laptops, the need is even greater. The sound volume and quality in a MacBook is pitiful. On the road or in a noisy locale, it’d be handy to play the audio from a movie to a car or home radio to get much better quality audio.

    I doubt users would want every Mac sound coming through amplifiers, so it’d be good if Apple provided a way to designate which application’s sound was broadcast. It’s also be great if the range wasn’t measured in inches. A good antenna would help.

    An FM receiver might not be as important, but it’s existence might draw in a few Mac converts. And it would open the door for record-off-the-air applications. Not every FM station is webcast.

    And come to think of it, an FM receiver might prove very handy, particularly outside FM-dense big cities. An FM mike would let Mac owners in the audience record what a speaker is saying much better than with the built-in mike. Conferences (and classrooms) could even FM-cast the sound.

    ****

    While it is being this clever, Apple might add a rotating iSight camera to Mac laptops. It could be positioned toward the user for video conferencing, to the side to provide privacy, and forward to record a speaker.

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  3. Look, give up on the FM tuner thing. It is viewed as competition to the iTunes store, and at low power sucks at doing what you’re describing. The (real) iPhone dev team has a policy to correct any code that could reduce battery life. Secondly FM is a poor solution to improving sound quality in laptops. Better speakers would do it, or use wired/Bluetooth stereo headphones. Which, in many ways, all the crap you’re thinking is so clever has actually existed in FM form and is now all going to Bluetooth. Also, Jobs has repeatedly said they weren’t interested in adding FM to ANY of their products. Doesn’t mean I think BT is the the shiz, because its got a whole set of its own issues. It is just better to use over FM for these situations. How many iPod owners have bought FM transmitters before there were in-car kits. I probably spent more on batteries for the stupid transmitter than I did on the iPod itself. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the entire broadcasting world is phasing out FM transmissions in favor of using high definition digital signals.

    So I’m sorry, but can we please give up about FM. Get your Clearchannel fill some other way.

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  4. I don’t know many peopel who have looked at their flashy new iPhone and thought “this thing would be better with an FM radio”. I listed to news podcasts on my iPod Touch on my way to work each day. My friends with iPhones do the same. If you do need to listen to a particular station, use one of the many iPhone radio apps.

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  5. With free apps like the AOL Radio (CBS Radio) app – you’ve got access to the top radio stations, live – in just about every city.

    Then there’s the free Public Radio with live streaming public radio stations in just about every state. Not much of a need for an FM transmitter, as long as you’ve got Wifi, 3G or even Edge.

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  6. Torbjørn Vik Lunde Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    I thought(and still do to a certain degree, how certain are these features?) that the coming iPhone won’t seem more attractive than current gen.

    However, being able to send FM without extra accessory *alone* will be good enough to win be over. I had a FM-accessory, but now I can’t find it, also the quality wasn’t the best. I would imagine Apple would have better sound quality than a lot of the accessories.

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  7. [...] The week was kicked off with rumors and speculation surrounding the next iterations of the iPod touch and iPhone. An official job posting by Apple suggested that the next generation iPod touch will feature a camera. Plus, it’s looking almost certain that video recording and FM transmit/receive will be coming to the next iPhone hardware update. [...]

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  8. [...] The week was kicked off with rumors and speculation surrounding the next iterations of the iPod touch and iPhone. An official job posting by Apple suggested that the next generation iPod touch will feature a camera. Plus, it’s looking almost certain that video recording and FM transmit/receive will be coming to the next iPhone hardware update. [...]

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  9. @ Khürt & Brad – you’re not paying attention here – as Todd says, pretty much the only win behind the FM transmitter is the ability to transmit FROM the iPhone to a nearby device such as a car stereo. And as Torbjørn says, a built in function is likely (hopefully) to have better quality than many of the external accessories.

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  10. In that case – bring it on!!

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