When Apple announces the phone, the Reality Distortion Field may be a tad less potent than usual. But even if we assume for the sake of argument that the phone Apple releases will be identical to the one that Gizmodo bought from a barfly, there’s plenty that we may not know until Apple has its say-and , just as important, until reviewers and consumers get their hands on real, fully-functioning units.
1. How fast is it? Gizmodo didn’t have anything to say about the CPU inside the phone. Seems like there’s a pretty good chance it’s something at least vaguely akin to the Apple-designed A4 inside the iPad. Given how zippy the iPad is, that could be as big a deal as anything Giz was able to divine.
2. How’s battery life? Gizmodo did note that the phone’s battery was bigger than the one in the 3GS. That, plus a new CPU, plus any general power-management improvements Apple has come up with might lead to a phone with better battery life than the 3GS.
3. What are the storage options? Engadget, which saw photos of the new iPhone but didn’t take possession of it, said it appeared to have 80GB of storage. Weird, but not impossible. Absent that evidence, the logical guess would be that the next iPhone will be available in 32GB and 64GB variants, doubling the capacity of the 3GS.
4. Just how good is the screen? For what it’s worth, Giz says the “Connect to iTunes” display looks fabulous. John Gruber says the screen is 960-by-640-packing four times the pixels of the 3GS, and beating high-res phones such as the Nexus One-and that the effect should be something close to that of ink on paper. He also says he doubts it’s an OLED screen.
5. Will it still be AT&T only? My guess is that the mythical Verizon Wireless iPhone will arrive someday, but not as part of the announcement of this particular next-gen iPhone.
6. It’s not going to be a 4G phone, is it? Seems unlikely-neither AT&T nor Verizon is truly going to be done with their 4G service rollouts during the life of this phone. My guess is that this will be the last 3G-only iPhone rather than the first 4G model.
7. What sort of software goes with the front-facing camera? Ever since the first iPhone shipped without iChat, folks have been waiting for it to show up. This would be a good time, no? But is AT&T ready to pump live streaming video over its network?
8. What sort of software goes with the improved camera on the backside? Apple’s already mentioned some imaging improvements in iPhone OS 4 (such as digital zoom). Will the new camera bring any cool features that the ones in previous iPhones can’t match?
9. Oh yeah, how many megapixels is the camera on the back? Not that megapixels are much of a benchmark of anything (the 3MP iPhone 3GS camera takes better pics than the 5MP model inside the Motorola Droid).
10. Is it a better, you know, phone? I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that the iPhone hardware deserves some of the fury usually aimed at AT&T for less-than-spectacular signal reliability. The new iPhone seems to be made of an interesting material that isn’t plasticky plastic, possibly in part to help reception.
11. Will Apple announce any iPhone-related services? If the new iPhone is going to be “one more thing,” something else new needs to precede it at the rollout. How about cloud-based iTunes service based on Apple-owned Lala?
12. How much is it going to run? Obvious guess: Apple will stick with the $199 and $299 price points, and play up the fact that you’re getting a much better phone for the bucks. Unless price pressure from other smartphones-the Droid and Palm Pre Plus can be had for fifty bucks-prompts Apple to knock down prices at least a little.
13. Whither the iPhone 3G? It’s easy to forget, but it’s still a current phone-the 3GS’s $99 little brother. I guess we can assume it will be saying its goodbyes. But will the 3GS take its budget-priced slot in the lineup? Or might there be a $99 next-gen iPhone?
14. What’s the name? Inevitably, the names iPhone 4G and iPhone HD are being bandied about. The first only makes sense if it is, indeed, a 4G phone.
15. What else don’t we know? I like surprises, so I’m hoping we still get some of them…