What iPhone news might January 27 bring?

As we approach the January 27 Apple event, CNET rounds up the latest iPhone rumors.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
3 min read

CNET News Poll

iPhone predictions
What iPhone news could we see at the January 27 Apple event?

A new operating system
A fourth-generation iPhone handset
A Verizon iPhone
An iPhone that supports 4G networks

View results

Though the long-awaited Apple tablet is expected to take center stage at Wednesday's Apple event, we can't discount the possibility that the company will drop some iPhone news as well. After all, January has brought us updates to Apple's handset ever since the very first iPhone was unveiled at MacWorld 2007. And now that Apple is no longer attending the MacWorld party--that event has been moved to February--the January 27 jamboree would serve as a natural forum for any iPhone news.

So what can we expect? Now that we have multimedia messaging, the list of missing "must-have features" is narrowing. But even so, we still have an iPhone wish list and many people still hope that the iPhone will jump to another U.S. carrier.

For your convenience we've wrapped up the most rampant speculation here. As of now, all of these rumors remain just rumors, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to spread them around. After you're done reading the dish, be sure to click on the poll to tell us what you expect to happen.

New OS
If any iPhone news breaks on Wednesday we expect that this will be it. Apple hasn't unveiled a major iPhone update since last march (that was iPhone 3.0) so we're certainly due for an upgrade. The most probable scenario is that the iPhone could see its user interface revamped to go along with the mythical tablet. And on a related note, AT&T could finally enable tethering so the iPhone could connect to the tablet.

What will Apple offer us? Corinne Schulze/CNET

Outside of the tablet, other OS changes are very possible. The Boy Genius Report is predicting we'll get multitasking, expanded multitouch functionality, syncing changes for calendars and contacts, and more graphical UI enhancements. We also could see more home screens and better app organization on the device.

A new handset
We consider this prediction somewhat less plausible. Over the past two years, Apple waited until June and its annual Worldwide Developer's Conference to introduce new hardware and we expect that the company will do the same in 2010. But then again, Apple loves pulling "one more thing" surprises out of its hat, so anything can happen. Among the rumored features for a fourth-generation device are a 5-megapixel camera, a camera flash, and an OLED display. We've heard of a removable battery as well, but we're pretty doubtful that will ever happen.

A 4G iPhone
Somewhat related to but not to be confused with the above is an iPhone that can support fourth-generation networks like LTE. This seems unlikely, at least for now. Carrier 4G networks are still in their infancy in the United States and it's not like Apple to throw its weight behind a technology that has limited coverage and that hasn't been really proven...which brings us to our next rumor.

Verizon iPhone
The Verizon rumor has been around as long as the iPhone itself and, as we inch closer to Wednesday, analysts are falling over themselves to predict a device for America's largest carrier. We're still skeptical, partially because we still don't know when AT&T's exclusivity will end.

On the other hand, we can't imagine that Apple would forgo the chance the sell more iPhones, even if it is to the carrier that shunned it before. When that happens, we still think it will be a hybrid CDMA/GSM version or a device that supports the aforementioned LTE networks.

Of course, it's only a few days until we'll know all. But in the meantime, tell us what you think Wednesday will bring.