“Most Anticipated Tech Product of 2012″ – the iPhone 5 – More Than Just The Phone

SodaHead.com, an online opinion-based community, has released the results of a poll asking consumers what is the “Most Anticipated Tech Product of 2012″ and iPhone 5 came out on top with 35% of the vote.  Runner-up was the iPad 3 with 20%.  Rounding out the top five was the rumored Google tablet (16%), the PlayStation Vita (12%), Wii U (11%) and the Kindle Fire 2 (7%).

Another infographic, with the results of all of SodaHead’s “2012 predictions” polls can be found here.

iPhone 5 – More Than Just The Phone

Computerworld’s Jonny Evans has posted a wishlist of features he’d like to see in the iPhone 5, and notes that the future of mobile isn’t just about phones, it’s about homes, so be ready.

Evans’s list includes:

• A faster quad-core processor. My take is that it appears unlikely that the iPad 3, rumored to be already in mass production and slated for a March release, will have quad-core A6 power. What I’m deducing from scuttlebutt is that Apple will stick with the A5 CPU for iPad 3, and possibly release an iPhone 4 (or 3S?) in October. At least that’s the timeline the Taiwan-based journal Digitimes is hearing from its insider moles.

Also, CNET’s usually reliable and well-researched Brook Crothers reported recently that analyst Tavis McCourt of the Morgan Keegan investment bank predicted an iPhone 5 for this fall in a research note.

On the other hand, it’s also been recently reported that that the latest iOS 5.1 beta includes updated processing-core management software that not only supports the dual-core processing enabled by the A5 iPhone and iPad chip, but also quad-core processing, so it appears that the software is ready whenever Apple decides it’s time to pull the A6 trigger.

That presents the conundrum of whether Apple would introduce A6 quad-core power to iOS devices in an iPhone. I still think its possible that we’ll see iPhone 5 at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in June, but the way the universe is unfolding, that even may be focused on a major MacBook laptop family overhaul announcement, with Intel Ivy Bridge Core i processors and a case redesign for the Pro models.

If that plays out, iPhone 5 could get bumped back to October, a year after the iPhone 4S release, and possibly for a simultaneous rollout with iPad 4/3S. In that instance, I think an A6 chip would be highly likely. If it’s June for the iPhone 5, less so. It’s been ventured that with Asus’s recent release of a quad core Android Tablet it’s unlikely that Apple would let Android tablets get a year out in front before matching the hardware. However, while demand for the dual-core iPhone 4S is reportedly softening somewhat, it’s still selling well, and I don’t think raw processor power is a tier-one concern for most iPhone users, at least yet.

• Wireless charging – Evans notes that Apple already supports wireless sync with iTunes, and maintains that it’s time to enable wireless recharging, as well, along the lines of Mobee Technology’s Magic Feet range of Mac wireless inductive charging peripherals introduced at CES this week. Observing that Apple already holds patents for inductive charging, Evans is hopeful. I’m skeptical for the iPhone 5, but it wouldn’t be a total shocker.

• LTE and NFC support – I’m from Missouri on this one as well. It wouldn’t surprise me greatly if one or the other is part of the iPhone 5 feature set, nor would it if neither is included. It really depends substantially on infrastructure and component issues beyond Apple’s control. When those are resolved to Apple’s satisfaction, I’m confident that we’ll see both LTE and NFC in the iPhone. In 2012? That remains to be seen.

• Better Security – With NFC the iPhone will become an iWallet, which raises a concatenation of new security concerns. Evans says that fortunately, help is coming in the form of a sophisticated security set-up Apple’s been quietly developing, as reported by Patently Apple this week to use a combination of facial recognition, biometrics (potentially) and a split device security reminder system, with development being led by one of Apple’s most senior minds, Bud Tribble.

• Serious Siri – I’ll cop to being something of a Siri skeptic — Luddite if you wish —, as I am about 3D. In either case, is it the shape of the future, or are these technologies novel gimmicks? I think the jury is still out. I detest 3D, but I do use voice input technology a lot as a production tool, such as with Nuance’s excellent and free Dragon Dictation for iPhone and iPad. However, there’s the bandwidth-hogging issue, and having people jabbering search queries and whatnot to their iPhones (and soon iPads as well) in company or public raises the level of digital communications etiquette obnoxiousness by several magnitudes.

That said, I think voice control and input are here to stay, but will they ever dominate? I hope not. However, Evans is confident that eventually we’ll be able to use an iPhone and Siri to control household appliances and integrate with home security systems. He’s probably right, but I wouldn’t look for more than an optimized and enhanced Siri in iPhone 5.

Evans assures us that in a relatively short time Apple won’t just be in your den, it will be all over your home, what he calls “the Machine-To-Machine (M2M) gold rush we’re going to see become a major industry trend this year.” He concedes that it’s a little like the Jetsons or Star Trek, and that from an air traffic control point of view it’s probably still quite a good thing the world’s 7 billion people don’t have jet packs yet, but can’t the same be said of bandwidth-clogging technologies like Siri?

Just sayin’.



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