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Summary:

Apple’s yearly iPhone event is always a big deal. This year’s differs a bit because, for the famously secretive Apple, the expected iPhone 5 is one of the worst-kept Apple secrets ever. Thanks to an inordinate number of leaks, here’s what we can expect on Wednesday.

Apple Event 10/4 Tim Cook iPhones

Apple is making an announcement on Wednesday, and, yes, it’s kind of a big deal. On Wednesday morning at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco at 10 a.m. PT, CEO Tim Cook will take the stage, in all likelihood, to introduce the next iPhone. This event is arguably Apple’s biggest of the year because it focuses on Apple’s most important and profitable product, which is generally updated once per year.

“But, wait, it hasn’t been a year yet,” you say. True: the iPhone 4S was released in mid-October 2011. This year, Apple is sneaking in a new iPhone before the end of its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends Sept. 30. The sales, likely to be huge, will provide a welcome boost to Apple’s quarterly numbers.

Lately Apple has become somewhat of a victim of its product release predictability and the frenzy of rumors about its products, although to be clear, almost any other tech company would welcome such a predicament. Customers have learned the iPhone launch cycle, paying attention to rumors, and are delaying the purchase of new iPhones en masse in the few months leading up to the new device’s expected launch date. This has sent Apple’s biggest investors and Wall Street analysts into fits– see last quarter for the most recent example. Racking up a bunch of iPhone sales in September should boost the stock and quiet Wall Street (which seems to have Cook’s ear) during the next quarterly earnings.

But back to the event: Invitations were sent out last week, bearing a number 5, and the phrase “It’s almost here.”  This has led many of us to conclude that the device to follow the iPhone 4S will be called iPhone 5 (which, duh). But that’s not all we know about the device. For the famously secretive Apple, this new iPhone is probably one of the worst-kept Apple secrets ever. So, based on a number of leaks and reports, here’s what we can very likely expect on Wednesday.

New iPhone

  • Slightly larger screen. In a world of smartphones with 5-inch screens, the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display can seem small. It’s been reported that we’ll get at least a 4-inch iPhone display that’s slightly taller, but not much wider. The result may mean an extra row of apps on the home screen, and an overall larger area to view apps, ebooks, web content and videos.
  • Thinner. The new iPhone could be thinner than ever mostly due to new display technology that combines the glass and the touch layer into one unit.
  • Better battery life. One of the things Apple could do with that extra space created by taller phone? Put in a slightly larger, more powerful battery. That’s long been an Apple priority, and because of the next item on this list, a necessity for this year’s new model.
  • LTE networking. This has been an assumption since early this year when Apple introduced 4G LTE as an option on the latest iPad. True, LTE is far more complicated to build for because of the variety of frequencies. But late Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the new iPhone would be LTE-capable and available worldwide, though, according to the report and those usual “people familiar with the matter,” it “isn’t likely to work with all carriers’ LTE networks in all countries, the people said, though it wasn’t clear which would be left out.”
  • Smaller dock connector. It’s been rumored since February that Apple is replacing its aging 30-pin connector on the bottom of the phone with a sleeker 9-pin model. This will make room for other components — perhaps 4G radios — but unfortunately require adapters for older docks and accessories. Apple is reportedly planning to roll out the new 9-pin model across all iOS devices.

iOS 6

  • Details. We heard about many new features of the updated software at WWDC in June. Now that Apple has had time to fine-tune the software and get feedback from developers, we’ll hear more concrete details about the new stuff, from Apple’s Maps and navigation, to Siri improvements, Facebook integration, to the tweaks to Safari, Photos and Mail, and more.
  • YouTube alternative. Apple will no longer feature YouTube as a default application on all iOS devices, Apple already acknowledged last month. Expect to hear more about what the YouTube video-watching experience on iOS will be like from now on.
  • More about Passbook. This is Apple’s new application that aims to duplicate the part of your wallet that holds everything except cash and credit cards: tickets, boarding passes, gift cards, reward cards, coupons, and travel reservations. Details about participating companies have been dribbling out, but we should get solid details regarding which airlines, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, coupon-issuers and others that are officially on board with Passbook.
  • App Store redesign. There’s going to be a new look and new design for the mobile App Store. Emphasis will be placed on app recommendations through Apple’s genius function, and will look a lot more like Chomp, which Apple bought earlier this year.
  • Changes to search. This is a longshot, but since Apple’s been busy excising its default apps list with anything Google-related, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think Apple might move away from Google as the default search in the mobile Safari browser. It would be silly to remove Google outright, but Apple could easily make Google just one of many options for users to select for search, including Siri, Bing and other third-party sources.

GigaOM will be covering the event live Wednesday morning, so please join us! We’ll be kicking things off just before 10 a.m. PT.

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  1. I would like to comment on this article only after September 12th.

    Yasser

  2. Hi, I’ve been making some calculations. Im a fanboy and a bit too obsessed.
    the thing is, iphones until now have not had an exact 3.5 inch screen but about 3.5392 inches. (ppi is 326 of iphone4s)
    what i mean with this is that an exact 4 inch with 1136×640 resolution we’ll get a ppi of 325.97…. and its unlikely to make an exact 4.00 inch screen.
    So if apple only didnt make an exact screen size just like it has been doing until now, making, say for example, a 4.0544 inch screen, the ppi would be 322 ppi with a 1136×640 resolution, and i think it is very possible that they wont make and exact 4.00 inch screen.
    Apple wouldnt let the ppi go down for marketing reasons. so i’ve found a possible solution to this.
    a 1152×648 screen resolution is a perfect 16:9 not like 1136×640 (16:9.014) and that makes a difference… actually the 16:9.014 just feels wrong.
    a 4.0544 inch screen at 1152×648 would result in a perfect 326 ppi.
    and 4.0544 inches is almost exactly 0.5 or more inches larger than the current 3.5392 iphone 4s screen.

    why to choose it:
    So to have a better 16:9 aspect ratio i think apple would choose the 1152×648 resolution. This also would make the ppi a perfect 326 with a 4.0544 inch screen which is more than 0.5 inches bigger than the iphone 4s.

    Why wouldnt they choose 1152×648? Well the only reason is that they’d have to increase 8 pixels horizontally, but i dont think thats a big problem because 8 pixels are almost insignificant at that ppi, and all that apple would need to do is zoom in the apps that werent yet optimized, this zoom wont be noticed with this pixel density, so just like what happened with the transition from the 3gs to the 4, developers will start doing apps in the newer 1152×648 and they can take their time because in the meantime the 640width app will fill the screen being insignificant the pixelation created with the zoom.

    After all this make your own conclusion. 1152×648 is a perfect 16:9
    everything makes much more sense… just 8 pixels cant justify changing the aspect ratio of a really respected 16:9…

    — Tell me what you think and make me any questions. And please could someone tell me what source said it will be 1136×640 and how truth or secure this is? was it just a rummor? is there any chance of a change?

    By the way this is my bet, i bet they introduce a perfect 16:9 1152×648 4 inch screen (4.0544… or so) with a ppi of 326. This is one of the surprises apple is preparing for us and im shure its the best choice of screen to do for them.

    — I calculated the ppi’s in this website http://members.ping.de/~sven/dpi.html
    — iphone’s screen measurements have been done with my own methods.

    sorry if i didnt explain very well but english isnt my first language, again any questions or comments theyll really be appreciated.

    1. marco, you’re awesome.

    2. Wow……that was heavy yet very, very accurate. Nerd on good sir.

  3. ^ This guy made my head hurt

    1. haha ikr :D lol

  4. I will reserve my comment on this article till tomorrow . Meanwhile, here’s what the new YouTube video-watching experience on iOS will be like from now on. http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/11/3314384/youtube-app-iphone-ipod-touch-photos-video

  5. What if the 5 is for 5 inch and not iphone 5 !!

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