Apple strategy for the next iPhone

I've always been fascinated with the way Apple does thing, sometimes it's out of left field, sometimes it's so obvious, but always seems to point to a direction that most of the time makes absolute sense in hind sight.

Thinking about the 5s/5c lead me to wondering about next year. iPhone is still the most important product to Apple and the most influential piece of consumer computing, what will they do that is, based on their history and pattern, most likely?

iPhone 6

Naming: Obviously, when people were debating the naming scheme for iPhone 5 and 5s (6, 4G, "the new iPhone" etc.), Apple just went ahead and tick-tock once more, so 6 is the most likely name for the next iPhone.

Screen size: This will be a shit storm but I do think Apple will increase the iPhone's screen size this time. Since 4, the "prime" update always bring changes to the screen, doubling the resolution, widening the aspect ratio. So now it's time again.

The obvious way to do it of course is keep the 1136 x 640px resolution and increase the size to match the current iPad's 264ppi, that would make the screen 4.94 in. But doing so would decrease the ppi (326 to 264) and Apple would never do that to their flagship product, so the only other obvious way without introducing a whole new resolution is double it to 2272 x 1280px (just hear me out) so the ppi will be doubled from 264 to 528ppi, and all developers have to do is including @4x graphic. Yes it sounds ridiculous but if anyone can pull it off in mass production it's Apple, they did it once before with the iPhone 4. Before you say 326ppi is more than enough, well consider:

  • Even on the retina screen, complex glyphs like Chinese characters are still hard to read without zooming.
  • The new direction of iOS with all the hairline separator, "hollow" icons and thin typeface, I think Apple build its stepping stones very carefully, iOS 8 would benefit tremendously from the doubled ppi. Look at the battery icon and the jaggy corners, if I were Jony Ive I would obsess over how to smooth it out.
  • Tim Cook and co. are still championing the Retina display but they know they're behind in the ppi war, and I believe it hasn't come to the end yet. After this final blow, maybe.

Processors: 64-bit A8 (duh) but too soon for another die-shrink? Apple introduced the M7 for motion co-processing, and I think they will look to the Moto X and introduce something to boost Siri performance (it's still too slow and I think Apple knows that speed is THE problem with Siri), let me name it the V8, for voice processing (dictation, Siri, voice-over etc.).

Material and Design: LIQUIDMETAL!!! Seriously though, I think Apple will change the material this time, either back to steel or start with titanium, think of all the hiring from fashion, either the iPhone or something else, watch out for the next phase of Apple's material and design language.

Camera: Well this is harder, I thought they would increase the MP count to 10 with 5s but they decided to increase sensor size, so this time maybe finally 10MP with even larger sensor (because the phone's body would be larger)? I'd bet on some form of OIS though, Apple always has something in store for their iSight and OIS seems to be the most obvious low-hanging fruit.

iOS: Too much to handle in this post.

Misc: Just for lulz let's say Apple decides to throw caution in the wind and introduces iPayment based on Touch ID, iCloud Keychain, Passbook and iBeacon, I think there should be another talking point for the iPhone 6, but I don't know what, another enclaved, encrypted chip just for secured transaction?

It may seem that this particular iPhone 6 goes all out on all fronts and while that's not Apple's incremental style but think 3GS to 4, a very dramatic change.

iPhone 5R & 5C

This is the interesting part, to speculate what Apple will do with the legacy iPhone, I believe it'll play out like this:

Drop the 4S, replace it with the 5c, that's obvious. But what to do with the 5s? Enter the 5R, the "refresh" version of the 5s, or "5sc", 5s internal in 5c body, but that's a stupid name so I believe Apple will change them back to capital 5C and 5R. The 5R will sport new, darker, more somber colors, Touch ID ring remains silver and that's it.

New iPods

iPods are an afterthought at Apple these days years, thinner (is that even possible?) iPod touch with colors and Touch ID and A7 (and please God new camera component to eliminate that bump) but with old, small 4 in screen to differentiate. If Apple is bold, they will eliminate all the other iPods and end the heroic life of the classic once and for all, but of course they won't. Slight update to the nano (another experimental design?) and shuffle, kill the classic and that's it. iPods as they are won't ever be a source of excitement no more.

I have more to say about the iPod and that mystic iWatch, also the Mac and iPad line but that's for after the event. So here are my guess/wish/dream, what do you guys think?

Sorry if any math is wrong.