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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Will iPhone 4G Match Rivals' Bigger Touchscreens?

With Apple likely to launch its new iPhone 4G at next week's Worldwide Developer's Conference, as the company has done for the past three summers, speculation is rampant about what new features might emerge that haven't been seen in three leaked prototypes.
One query is whether CEO Steve Jobs may wow iPhone fans with a bigger screen size, said IDC wireless Relevant Products/Services analyst Ramon Llamas. "With 4.0, a lot is predicated on the touchscreen, & so the next query is how sizable is that screen?" Llamas asked.

Rivals' Screens Growing

The iPhone 4G prototype that turned up on a know-how site after being sold for $5,000 had better screen resolution, 960 by 640 pixels, up from the iPhone 3GS's 480 by 320. But the screen was described as slightly smaller than the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 3GS.
With competing devices mimicking the iPhone's touchscreen with bigger screens, Llamas wonders if Apple will raise, call or pass.
"The HTC HD2 has a 4.3-inch screen," he said of the smartphone currently selling in Europe & Asia & expected on the U.S. market in November. "Other players in the market are testing larger screen size. The query is, does Apple require to go there?"
One reason why Apple may not, he said, is that developers may then must produce versions of their apps that work on the larger & smaller screens, an issue faced by some Android developers whose products work on multiple devices.
The HTC EVO 4G launched by Dash on Friday also has a 4.3-inch screen. Dell Relevant Products/Services's Streak tablet/smartphone hybrid, also released Friday in the United Kingdom, has a five-inch screen.

Hope for CDMA?

Among the other questions to be answered if Jobs, as expected, releases the iPhone 4G at Apple's WWDC Monday in San Francisco is, if it is different from the prototypes seen by the world, will it have a wired than touchscreen keyboard -- a feature that text-happy iPhone users have pined for? Jobs could also make some sizable news by announcing a CDMA-compatible version of the iPhone -- unlikely since Apple has been openly loyal to AT&T as its exclusive U.S. carrier, despite reported network Relevant Products/Services issues.
Analyst Ken Dulaney of Gartner Research believes the next iPhone will probably be more or less identical to the $5,000 prototype.
"I suspect it is the one in the leaks, but there is always the likelihood there will be other models," he said. "They require over one."

Improvements to look for?

"I suspect they will have video Relevant Products/Services chat, but most of the other features were talked about at the [iPhone OS] 4.0 announcement [in March], such as an integrated e-mail client," Dulaney said. "We could also see some move toward Net TV, & they will see the iPad processor likely in the gizmo."
A reverse-engineered iPhone 4G prototype that appeared on a Vietnamese tech site used an Apple-branded one-gigahertz A4 processor, which powers the iPad.
"Beyond that," said Dulaney, expect "some enterprise improvements."