HSPA+ iPhone will be world's smartest smartphone

By Jonny Evans

Apple [AAPL] will talk about its iPhone next Tuesday during a special event at its Cupertino headquarters, so I've gathered all the most recent additional claims for the device in this post. Expect the fifth-generation to be faster, sleeker and better-connected than before, though there's still some anxious reports concerning whether an iPhone 5, an iPhone 4S, or both, will debut.

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Faster

The most credible fresh claim this morning is that the iPhone will support HSPA+.

HSPA+ offers download speeds of up to 21Mbps, up from the 7.2Mbps HSDPA/HSUPA 3G radio inside of the iPhone 4. That's a faster mobile standard than the existing iPhone 4, but isn't the LTE support some have been hoping for.

Disappointed?

Don't be. I think it is important to accept that many of the world's largest carriers don't yet offer LTE support, so the move to instead favor HSPA+ will make the device immediately faster and capable of being deployed on networks everywhere from the get-go.

The support for this standard was apparently revealed during a Macworld Asia keynote speech by China Unicom's deputy director of research, Huan Wenliang. In a slide depicting the evolution of the iPhone, the iPhone 5 is marked as offering support for HSPA+. I'd rate this as credible, with a 70 percent likelihood.

Bigger

There's another report, this time from Cnet France, which claims the new iPhone will offer a larger screen than the previous model. Specifically, that report claims use of a 960-x-540 pixel qHD screen that measures around 4.2 to 4.3 inches diagonally.

Claims that the display may be larger have circulated for months. There's been grainy images, claims on Digitimes, claimed engineering drawings and the usual slurry of claimed case designs.

It has previously been suggested the next-generation device may simply abandon the existing physical Home button for a haptic, touch-sensitive replacement, a move which should also boost usable display size.

Smaller

So many people have speculated the new iPhone will boast a teardrop design, making it thinner at one end than at the other.

These claims have also been in circulation for months, prompting people at Gige.de to create their own iPhone prototype, which I've embedded above for your entertainment.

Such claims are reaching new heights this morning, as AT&T is now listing three new cases for the fifth-generation iPhone. These cases seem to show a tapered design with the mute switch now moved to the other side of the device.

Smarter

No, not the A5 processor nor the much-improved graphics support -- the new iPhone will be the smartest thing. Those voice controls I've been talking about are about to radically change the way you interact with your phone, according to Forbes.

Citing investor, Jason Schwartz, Forbes tells us the "iPhone is about to create the most revolutionary user interface in the history of technology."

That's a huge claim. The report tells us we should expect this voice assistant to "quickly make its way into laptops and desktops as well."

You will be able to ask your phone to find places, give you directions, take and send dictated messages, change playlists and more.

This is useful for everybody, and betrays a commitment to accessibility which Google's Android OS completely lacks. Apple's recognition of that need most recently caused Stevie Wonder to heap praise on the company.

It's like this: The iPhone will be the world's smartest smartphone.

Hard to get

There's one more thing. Everyone is going to want this phone.

  • There's millions of existing iPhone owners just itching to upgrade.
  • There's millions who have never owned an iPhone who want to own this next-generation model.
  • There's millions using other smartphones who plan to switch to the new device just as soon as it appears.

A recent study by InMobi tells us 41 percent of North American mobile phone owners intend purchasing the new device. Tellingly, the survey also claimed 52 percent of BlackBerry users plan to ditch RIM to go for an Apple mobile.

This level of demand means eBay expects a 70 percent increase in sales of previous iPhone models as people shift their old Apple mobiles to make way for the new.

In typical Apple fashion, these things are going to sell out fast, there will be waiting lists, queues and disappointment as new Apple CEO, Tim Cook, ruefully tells investors: "We can't make these fast enough". That's just how it is going to be.

If Apple makes good on the expectation and delivers a reduced price iPhone 4S model, then you can expect an even bigger increase in iOS marketshare in the coming Christmas quarter.

Also next week, Apple is expected to refresh its iPod range. Will it kill the low-end devices, including iPod classic, or will it choose to focus its efforts on touchscreen devices and iPhone accessories?

We'll find out next week on October 4.

Place your bets, and speak up in comments below.

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