Dramatic redesign in store for the iPhone 5

Redesigned headphones, a 4in screen, and credit card-like capabilities are just a few of the features reportedly boasted by Apple’s latest version of the iPhone, expected to be unveiled today.




The iPhone 5 (if it’s called that) is expected to be the most dramatic redesign of the handset since the iPhone 4 in 2010.

The flimsy white earbuds that come with every iPhone are often criticised for their tinny sound and poor durability. However, Vietnamese website Tinhte.vn has published a video of what it claims to be a new set of Apple headphones — allegedly obtained from a Foxconn plant in the country. The headphones are reportedly more comfortable than the current model and have the appearance of a “horse’s head”, with a more-streamlined profile and white plastic surrounding the speakers.

Apple’s next iPhone may be housed in Liquidmetal — the commercial name for an alloy of titanium, zirconium, nickel, copper, and other metals.

“The alloy can be poured into a moulding like plastic to produce ultra-thin parts. When it hardens, Liquidmetal retains high strength, high resistance to wear against scratching and denting,” according to Christina Bonnington of Wired. Cooled, it looks “smooth like liquid” and may bestow the next iPhone “its special swagger”.

The next iPhone may feature a larger display — possibly 4.6in versus its current 3.5in setup — and Apple has already started placing orders to its suppliers, reports Reuters. While that sounds nice, making “a 4.6in display would mean that the size of the iPhone itself would be much larger than it currently is”, says Jordan Crook at TechCrunch. And that doesn’t seem realistic. It is more likely that Apple is working on a 4in display to “fit on to the iPhone at its current size”.

The current iPhone’s touchscreen uses two separate layers to achieve its effect: A touch sensor layer and an LCD display layer, which are stacked on top of each other. But Apple is said to be introducing “in-cell touch panels on its next iPhone”, says Josh Ong at Apple Insider, which means the two layers will be consolidated into one. Not only does integrating touch sensors into the LCD make it thinner, but it also improves the quality of displayed images. It may also run with “vastly lower power consumption”, says Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo.

Apple may also be rearranging its plugs, with the earphone jack being moved to the bottom (an iPhone first), and the device will charge using a much smaller dock connector. It is also reported to be switching from a 30-pin port to a 19-pin port.

Apple this year won a “major patent” for technology called the iWallet, which allows users “complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts on their iPhones”. The technology enables credit card transactions to be made by holding the device next to a payment console, effectively turning the iPhone into a digital wallet.

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