We’re just a few months from Apple’s expected hardware refresh on the iPod/iPhone, so what’s the latest scuttlebutt? Well, rumor has it the device will feature a number of hardware changes while ultimately retaining the same form we’ve grown accustomed to in the iPhone 4. New features are said to include a metal back rather than glass, a 4 inch touchscreen and an improved antenna. The reports also say that Apple is sticking with the flat-backed phone design, rather than returning to the curved back that dominated earlier models.
One of the first items to jump out at us is Apple’s apparent decision to offer a metal back rather than the glass used on the current cases. There was some concern last fall that slide-on cases were causing scratching, cracking and even breaking of iPhones, so there’s a very real possibility Apple is trying to nip a potential issue in the bud when the new phones come out. We’re also pleased to hear about a potentially redesigned antenna, given the well-documented issues the iPhone 4 has with dropping calls and the dreaded “death-touch.” Rounding out the rumors is word of NFC (near field communications)and dual GSM/CDMA support, all of which are welcome.
The rumors aren’t all rosy though, as there also appears to be a distinct possibility that the iPhone won’t refresh this summer as normal, but the new model will be landing closer to the holidays. Production of the new devices isn’t expected to begin until at least July, which would likely keep us waiting until the Fall for the phones to go on sale. If true, this would be heartbreaking news to folks whose current cell phone contracts expire in June, as they’ll be unable to upgrade their phones to Apple’s latest and greatest. However, with rumors of yet another iPad refresh landing this Fall, it could be that Jobs and Co. are considering realigning their mobile devices so that they all refresh together from now on.
Obviously at this point it’s too early to really know anything but sometimes it’s just fun to speculate about what may be coming down the road. Ultimately we won’t know anything for sure about the iPhone until Apple decides to tell us (or until a prototype is left in a bar), but in the meantime what do you think of the rumored new features and launch window? Will you be upgrading (or jumping in if you don’t have an iPhone), or are you planning to sit this one out?