You know it’s a new year when you start hearing about the next version of the iPhone. Though it likely won’t debut until June, some early info on the iPhone 5 is already trickling out. A Chinese report claims that Apple has added several new suppliers to the iPhone 5 in an effort to save money, and 9to5 Mac has posted a number of new claims about the next iPhone including a new social networking feature called “media stream.”
New components from new places
A report from DigiTimes says that Apple has added several new component suppliers to its iPhone 5. Foxconn Electronics, Foxlink, Gold Circuit Electronics, and Epistar are all now on the Apple supply chain. Foxconn (Taiwan) will be supplying the earphones for the device, replacing Foster, a Japanese company. Foxlink will produce the earphone jack sockets for those earphones. GCE has been added as an additional HDI board manufacturer and Epistar is an LED chipmaker. InfoSync believes that Apple could be adding Toshiba and Sharp as screen manufacturers for the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 as well. Though little of this likely means anything to you, these new partnerships could explain the huge $3.9 billion Apple just spent on supply chain partnerships.
iPhone 5 going social
This one comes from 9to5 Mac. The site claims that the iPhone 5 may have a new feature called “Media Stream” that will make Ping seem like a bad dream. The site found a folder called “Media Stream” in the beta version of iOS 4.3. Within it is information on a feature called “Photo Streaming.” 9to5 Mac speculate that Apple is planning to let users set up photo streams of pictures so that friends who subscribe can instantly view the pictures from anywhere, a feature that would likely involve backing up pictures to the cloud and, in theory, be quite similar to pictures one uploads onto Facebook or Flickr. The service appears to be connected to MobileMe, but may go beyond pictures in the future to include audio and video in iOS 5.
Another feature called “Find My Friends” may work much like Google Latitude, and show you where your friends are at any given time via assisted GPS updates. We can only hope it will be implemented better than Latitude, which is more creepy than it is useful. 9to5 Mac speculates that all of these changes will coalesce into a new social networking service from Apple. We’re a bit doubtful about this. Apple does many things well, but social networking is not one of them.