Now that the new iPad 3 has been out a whole 10 days, it's time to start speculating on the Next Big Thing from Apple - iPhone 5.
Rumors emanating from Korea - Samsung or LG are Apple's primary iDevice screen suppliers - are that Apple already has ordered a caboodle of 4.6-inch Retina displays for the upcoming next edition of the iPhone.
Now, I'm calling this next-gen Apple phone the iPhone 5 (hereafter referred to as iPh5). But Apple may decide to continue the no-number naming convention it started with the don't-call-it-the-iPad 3 and simple call iPh5 "the new iPhone."
Whatever they call it, a 4.6-inch screen would be huge, literally and figuratively. Only one smart phone, the Samsung Note, has a larger screen; Samsung's Galaxy S II phones also have 4.6-inch displays. Most smart phones feature screens between 4 and 4.5 inches.
In the photo you can see the larger screen's benefits when you compare the current iPh4S, which maintains the 3.5-inch screen Apple has used since the first iPhone nearly five years ago (five years?! - will someone, anyone slow the damn clock down!) and the 4.6-inch Galaxy S II screen.
But unlike the Samsung Note or the Galaxy S II, the iPh5 will have a high-resolution Retina screen similar to the new iPad or the iPhone. (Technically, the iPad 3 and iPh4S Retina screens are actually not the same - the iPh4S display has a higher pixel-per-inch count.)
When, and what else will it have?
Other than the rumored 4.6-inch screen (and it is just a rumor), we know a couple of other things about the upcoming iPh5 more-or-less for sure.
Timing. If Apple's factories are already getting these 4.6-inch displays, people who figure these things out speculate the new iPhone will be here sometime later this summer, perhaps as early as May or June. Personally, I find this timing hard to believe. The iPh4S made its ballyhooed entrance just last October, which means only an Apple uncharacteristically short eight- or nine-month lag between models. (Plus, Apple is likely to unveil its new skinny MacBook Air-like MacBook Pro laptops in the next couple of months).
LTE. Since the new iPad offers 4G LTE connectivity for Verizon and AT&T, it's a foregone conclusion the iPh5 also will, perhaps even for Sprint's new LTE network (there's no iPad 3 for Sprint). Apple's been slow to the LTE show primarily because of the company's concern about battery life. But I got 5.5 hours of power running the iPad 3 on LTE, with the screen always on. Since the screen is the real battery hog, and iPh5 has a smaller display than iPad to power, the iPh5 could theoretically get battery life similar to the iPhone 4S, assuming iPad 3's bigger battery ends up in the iPh5.
Processor. iPad 3's brain is Apple's dual core A5X chip, with a quad-core engine for game play. It had been rumored the iPad 3 would contain Apple's all quad-core A6 chip. Since it didn't, and given the lower graphics demand of a 4.6-inch screen, I'm betting iP5 gets the same A5X chip.
Camera: Since the iPh4S already has an excellent 8 MP imager, it's doubtful Apple would change cameras. However, iPh4S's camera lacks a self-timer. I've heard nothing to indicate Apple is planning this, but in case someone in Cupertino is reading this - hint, hint...
But, this is merely the first batch of rumors. I'm sure there'll be plenty more iPh5 wild guesses between now and the moment of its actual unveiling, whenever that may be.