Reports Hint at iPhone 5 Feature Set

January 17, 2011

Steve Jobs
With Steve Jobs’s medical leave of absence giving reporters something to do on a slow news day, tech blog ReadWriteWeb (via NYT) adds to today’s Apple buzz with a stab at what the upcoming iPhone 5 features could be.

Jobs’s email, sent on a day with U.S. stock markets closed, has given investors reason to a sell a stock up nearly 40% in 6 months a frustrating delay. But could the iPhone 5, reportedly in testing on Apple’s Cupertino campus, keep the momentum going at Apple?

RRW put together a list of notable features that iPhone 5 might showcase this summer:

Near Field Communications (NFC)
Already included on the Nexus S, it looks like NFC is a feature that every superphone will have going forward. A nice feature in theory, its usefulness will depend on the availability of kiosks and checkout counters that can handle NFC payments.

iPhone 5 becomes intelligent
To all those lusting over the Verizon iPhone, this feature might be worth waiting for this summer. RRW speculates that with the acquisition of Siri, a personal mobile assistant app powered by a ‘DARPA-funded artificial intelligence project,’ the iPhone 5 could bring a native feature that competes with Android’s voice search. In addition, since Siri can integrate with other 3rd party apps and services, RRW suggests:

You would then have a whole new interface for locating and launching apps – a search engine of sorts, even, where the focus isn’t on what app name you need to find (as iPhone’s native search does today), but on what action you need to take.

“Cloud iTunes”
A killer feature that’s arguably missing from the present iPhone. When are we getting a subscription music-streaming service? Maybe it’s time.

RRW mentions facial recognition as another possible feature, and ends the report wondering whether Apple can deliver this “magical” phone without Jobs’s hands-on management presence. If all these features come to fruition, then yes, we may have a magical phone on our hands. Apple’s M.O. of making updates incrementally (see iPhone 2G -> 3G -> 3GS -> 4G evolution) makes it likely only a few of the features listed above will come to fruition. However, despite Apple’s M.O. with updating products and Jobs’s leave of absence, I believe the possibility of killer features like “cloud iTunes” and enhanced AI services will produce another must-have product coming from one of the best management teams in the world.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Madhu January 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Do you think these features will not be able to work on the iPhone 4? Other than the NFC, it all seems to be software-related. I am planning on switching to verizon because AT&T is awful and 3G doesn’t actually work on my phone…you think I should wait for iPhone 5? Anyone mention whether the iPhone 5 will be delayed for verizon being that the 4 is only coming out now?


Prasanna January 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I think the other two features (becoming ‘intelligent,’ cloud iTunes) could work on the iPhone 4, however I wonder if the current A4 chip and memory on board could handle a native ‘intelligence’ type of service.

That being said, I think it would be foolish to buy the iPhone 4 on Verizon now. In less than 6 months, Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 and it looks likely that Verizon will get it as well. You don’t want to get a phone that has less than 6 months before a refresh. Also, I have not seen anything that points to Verizon getting the iPhone 5 after AT&T, especially if you consider the exclusivity agreement is finished between Apple & AT&T.

Check out this gizmodo post for more on why you shouldn’t buy the Verizon iPhone:


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: