iPhone 5: Conceptualized

This post is an assembly of surfaced parts, leaks, and just good ol' fashion logic to predict an accurate model of the next-generation iPhone, officially announced by Apple today...

A Background:

As a self-proclaimed Apple enthusiast and previous user of Microsoft, Google, and third party products and services, I migrated to the Apple ecosystem three years ago. Contrary to popular belief, the "closed" ecosystem-model associated with the Apple brand, is not merely an inescapable walled garden of chained but glamorous goods. As customers, choices will hopefully continue to define the nature of our experiences, and by that metric, any brand or company loyalty should remain grounded. HOWEVER, aggregating and then separating needs and wants are (what I believe) the main steps in the purchase of consumer products, and in that respect, Apple has me covered. And yes, I have used most mobile operating systems, including tablet and phone versions of Windows 7/8, Android versions 2.2 - 4.1, Symbian, Blackberry OS, and iOS. My hands-on experience with tablets include the Blackberry Playbook, iPad, and a slew of Android Tabs. Lastly, my computer experience includes migrating to Mac OS X after over a decade of Windows. Simply put, my love of Apple is not encompassed by the term "it just works", but rather in context, "it just works for ME". Nevertheless, I WILL try to focus the rest of this post on creating a conceptual mockup of the iPhone 5, and nothing more.

Simply put, my love of Apple is not encompassed by the term "it just works", but rather in context, "it just works for ME".

Physical Dimensions and Characteristics:

According to many case designs and supposed leaks, the next iPhone is said to have a two-toned backplate: a slab of aluminum wedged between two pieces of glass, one above and one below. A viable explanation is that the antenna signal can pass more easily through the glass pieces than the metal. Still, it seems that most of the phone will be constructed with a unibody-esque design in mind. In true candour, I believe that this would help unify the flagships of Apple's entire product line. With all of the Macs and the iPad already following Jonathan Ive's aluminum philosophy, it would only seem natural to include the iPhone as a part of the tribe. Better late than never, I guess.

Along with tangible aspects of the hardware, the FaceTime camera has seemingly been centred out the front, and there seems to be the same button shape and placements as found in the iPhone 4/4S. The potential for a 720P front-facing unit is there, which could also be timed along with the introduction of FaceTime over cellular in iOS 6. There also seems to be a different backside camera, and predicting from past iPhone upgrades, it almost seems certain that Apple would continue on their current course. It seems that Omnivision's new 16 Megapixel Sensors would be a perfect fit for the new iPhone, but at this point, so do Sony's 12 MP units.

Regardless, there appear to be many upgrades in the new iPhone, including a familiar trend that I cannot believe I've only recently noticed (/s); the iPhone 5 looks to be even thinner than its glass and plastic brethren! This decrease in width could be apparent for a number of different reasons: The "Jobsian Principle" (which was recently broken by the introduction of the new thicker iPad), and/or a change in display specs. With a larger screen, the battery could also be accommodated into the new frame by changing dimensions. This would result in the ability to reduce the width of the phone, while still keeping a battery that is larger than the previous generation (albeit only a little). The new battery seems to be a 3.8 Volt, 5,45 Watt battery pack compared to the 3.7V, 5.3W found in the 4S. This slight increase could thereby hint to the confirmed (more or less) resolution bump of the screen, making the two go hand-hand. LTE could also be another factor, but as shown by the iPad, Apple's decision to wait for the new and improved chips could reduce the impact they have on battery life (if not sure check iPad's change in battery life with LTE turned on).

The Screen: More than you'd Expect

Although the screen is a hardware feature of any device, there is a reason why I wanted to separate it from the rest of the bits of speculation. I believe that the new screen in the iPhone 5 has not been given the rumours it deserves, and would like to elaborate on some reasons why I think so.

With the "Retina Display" of the iPhone 4, Apple introduced high pixel-density displays to masses of awe-induced customers. In a more recent device however, a few issues have been brought to light with the overall quality of the display. With DisplayMate's analysis of the iPhone 4 display when compared to the new iPad display, there were various differences in quality (keep in mind that the iPad Retina Display is statistically said to be the greatest mobile display of any consumer device, even drawing comparisons to professional monitors and HD TVs). Also, the iPhone 4S does indeed have a similar, if not identical panel to the one found on the 4.

As the findings show, the contrast of the lcd is too high, whereas the colour reproduction is not accurate enough to best the iPad. Overall, it seems that the iPhone panel has more in common with the iPad 2 display than the new iPad (except for the "Retina" moniker of course). This does make a noticeable difference, as the 44% greater colour saturation in the new iPad can be attributed to the wider gamut coverage (99% instead of around 60%) and a gamma of 2.2.

Reflectance is another issue addressed in the comparison. To put into context, with personal use, the new iPad's screen does pick up noticeable glare when in brightly lit areas. DisplayMate still lists the reflectance as "good", whereas I can still accept that there is a noticeable area for improvement (and that is for the screen leading the pack!). Simply put, Apple's reputation for displays is getting so good, that even "Good" isn't enough anymore (at least for me).

Ultimately, the recent news relating to LG's in-cell panels, coincidentally at the same time as the alleged iPhone production ramp, indicate that one or more of the issues above may be solved. This could potentially lead to a thinner display with greater saturation, less reflectance, and more accurate colour reproduction. Also, did I mention that by vertically increasing the resolution to 1136 x 640, the new iPhone would keep the same pixel density of 326PPI except on a larger 4-inch screen? Well, there it is.


To keep this section short, here is what I believe are the most likely culprits of the inside of the iPhone 5: 1GB of LP-DDR2 RAM, a dual core A6 processor clocked at 800MHZ, and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 (dual core). For the CPU it is also possible that the iPhone 5 could contain the same A5 SoC as before, but I always believe that new software opportunities could present themselves when the time is right. And even with the growing number of 500,000+ apps in the app store, there is always the possibility that Apple is cooking up something on the software side of things: change for the sake of change may not be justifiable, but progress due to the market is a factor that can never be counted out.

TL;DR? Here's a summary: "Overall, I cannot wait to get my hands on the iPhone 5, and I truly hope that my collection of rumours, leaks, and thoughts comes to fruition. The new iPhone will undoubtedly be better than those which came before, and to those that DIDN'T read why I believe so, I only have 1 thing left to say: "It's almost here."

~ Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. ~


Alleged Comparison Photos of the new iPhone and previous iterations

OmniVision 16 MP Sensor

Sony 12 MP Sensor

DisplayMate Analysis

In-Cell Panels