iPhone 5 hardware spec check

It's been a long time since Apple upgraded the iPhone's hardware. Analysts offered their latest assessments this week of what's inside the iPhone 5.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

With Apple now on the record about an October 4 iPhone event, analysts are reaffirming their prognostications about the phone's hardware--and adding an item or two to a growing list of specifications.

Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank Equity Research, said in a research note Monday that he expects an iPhone 5 with aluminum unibody construction, better camera, and a slightly larger screen size. No big surprise there.

Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, said on Tuesday he expects better graphics silicon--not unlike the big performance increase that Apple boasted about for the iPad 2.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster probably had the most intriguing speculation this this week, saying today he expects speech-based features for the iPhone.

So, without further ado, here are the iPhone 5 upgrades expected:

  • More memory: Possibly 1GB of memory, twice the amount in the iPhone 4.
  • Higher-resolution camera: likely 8-megapixel versus current 5MP.
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC): for virtual wallets. Possible but not certain.
  • Voice control: speculation says new tech will allow voice navigation.
  • Improved graphics: similar to Imagination's PowerVR SGX543 graphics silicon used in the iPad 2.
  • Dual-core Apple A5 chip: a virtual certainty that the iPhone 5 will get a boost in chip performance.
  • 3G: Qualcomm chipset that will allow connection to both CDMA and GSM networks.
  • 4G: May get faux 4G via HSPA+
  • iCloud: Apple's cloud service obviates the need to synch via USB cables.
  • iOS 5: new iOS with iMessage, tabbed browsing and lots more.

But Apple will need to pick up the pace on new phone introductions next year, according to Rodman & Renshaw's Kumar. "The last iPhone came out 16 months ago. Meanwhile rivals are updating products every three to four months," he said.

Conspicuously absent from the list of iPhone 5 specs is LTE (what is usually thought of as real 4G). But Kumar says that LTE on Apple devices won't come any earlier than 2012.