Steve Jobs just can’t seem to catch a day of rest. With the allegedly world-changing Apple iPad now less than a week out from launch, Apple astrologers with eyes gazing skyward have allegedly caught focus of Apple’s next world-changing product launch: The iPhone 4G. Though still hazy, details that make a startling amount of sense have started to pile up. Have these Internet street preachers really foretold the fourth coming of the Jesus Phone?
We’ll likely find out in sixth months. But in the meantime, here’s the word on the street.
All hail the “iPhone HD”
Engadget apparently has it on good authority that the device we have so longed referred to as the “iPhone 4G” will actually be the “iPhone HD.” As far as naming conventions go, this would actually make a lot of sense and eliminate confusion.
Why? Although “iPhone 4G” would suggest that it’s the fourth generation of the phone, some could also take it to mean it supports 4G wireless Internet, which may or may not be the case. Apple used “iPhone 3G” for its second-generation product, so clearly the convention has more to do with Internet access than generations.
Even if it does support 4G, dropping the sequential numbers in and starting fresh with “iPhone HD” could also help Apple shake the perception that each new iPhone is merely a refresh of the last. And if rumors hold true, it will be far from that.
The Wall Street Journal hinted at the new iPhone’s “faster processor” in the article that got the ball rolling, but Daring Fireballs’ John Gruber later dropped more details in his own snide commentary. According to Gruber, the chip powering the iPhone HD will share its bloodline with the A4 system-on-a-chip that powers the iPad.
Considering Apple developed this chip itself (basing it heavily on ARM’s Cortex A9 design), we wouldn’t be surprised to see the fruits of its labor appear in more than one mobile device. The 1GHz processor and onboard graphics should offer a considerable boost in horsepower from the 600MHz Cortex A8 processor currently driving the iPhone 3G S.
960 x 640 Display
Handsets like the Motorola Droid and HTC HD2 have dwarfed the iPhone’s 320-by-480-pixel screen for months now, so Apple will clearly need to take a step forward with the next iteration. John Gruber claims it will take one big step on each axis, essentially quadrupling the number of pixels to 960-by-640.
More pixels always make an intuitive leap for a next-gen phone, but the specific 2x factor here could be strategic as well. By keeping the same proportions as past iPhones, Apple eases compatibility issues between generations: Just turn one pixel on any current iPhone app into four pixels and you have a version that should look identical, without any crazy scaling.