Apple's WWDC 2011 event was all about iOs 5, iCloud and Mac OS X Lion but the missing link was the highly anticipated hardware which will don the new OS and connect to the cloud - the iPhone 5.
However, Apple's loss seems to be Android's gain as reports from U.S. wireless carriers emerged that the iPhone slayer Samsung Galaxy S II is due to hit the shelves in July.
The phone dubbed as the "superphone" was first released in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Since then Samsung Galaxy S II has set a new benchmark which even Apple's next rendition of iPhone, the iPhone 5, will have to follow.
The much-touted WWDC 2011 event has been traditionally the platform where Apple has unveiled its earlier versions of iPhone. However, the absence of iPhone 5 at the developers' event bodes well for Samsung.
Since Samsung Galaxy S II is due to arrive in July, customers who have been waiting for iPhone 5 can easily switch to the Samsung camp. The exodus from Apple camp is further exacerbated by Apple's silence over the iPhone 5's release date.
The only plausible hint was uncovered by TUAW which was embedded in the iOS 5 beta USB config files. The firmware revealed that two iPads, iPad 3, 1 and iPad 3, 2 and two iPhones, iPhone 4, 1 and iPhone 4, 2, are in the making.
The iPhone 4, 1 and iPhone 4, 2 allude to iPhone 5 as, according to the firmware coding, the iPhone 3G is technically considered the first generation phone. Thus, iPhone 5 is the fourth-generation phone.
The firmware did not mention an iPod touch model which has given rise to the assumption that Apple will use the customary iPod refresh event in September to launch the iPhone 5. The iPod refresh has been delayed to provide iPhone 5 exclusive attention during the September event.
However, iPhone 5 delay gives Samsung Galaxy S II an early mover advantage. Apple euphemistically acknowledged Samsung Galaxy's might when Apple recently filed a lawsuit against Samsung charging it of replicating its iPad, iPhone and iPod designs in the Galaxy series of Android devices.
Samsung followed Apple's iPad 2 mantra - "slimmer, faster and lighter" - to produce an ultra-thin phone, the Galaxy S II. The phone is merely 8.5mm (0.33-inch) thick compared to iPhone 4's 9.3 mm thicknesses. The phone weighs 4 ounces compared to iPhone 4's 4.8 ounces. Thus the onus is on Apple to deliver a slimmer iPhone 5.
Samsung Galaxy S II sports a 4.3-inch AMOLED display with 800x480 screen resolution. It is powered by a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP GPU Orion chipset processor. The Galaxy S 2 sports 1 GB RAM and comes in 16 GB and 32 GB internal memory configurations. The phone also sports an 8 MP rear-facing and 2 MP front facing camera. Galaxy S II has 1080p video capture capability. The phone optimizes Google's Android 2.3 or Gingerbread.
Apple's iPhone 5 has to counter these features and if it is due for a later release then it has to better these features and offer a higher value proposition. However reports suggest that Apple is doing the critical minimum to stay in the race.
DigiTimes reported that OmniVision has received an order from Apple to supply 90 percent of the 8 MP camera sensors. The remaining 10 percent will be supplied by Sony.
It is also reported that Apple will follow last year's formula whereby it used the iPad's A4 chip in iPhone 4. In the light of the current barrage of Android phones with dual-core 1 GHz chips, it's likely that Apple will power its iPhone 5 with the iPad 2 chip, the dual-core ARM-based A5 chip.
Also the new iPhone 5 will certainly run on iOS 5 juice which was unveiled at WWDC on June 6. The new OS will compete with Android 2.3 or Gingerbread. However, Google at its Google I/O conference stated that its next iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, which combines the features of its tablet-specific OS Android 3.0 or Honeycomb and phone-specific OS Gingerbread, is due for release in Q4 2011.
Google's Ice Cream Sandwich will clothe Android with features like face-tracking, camera focus and voice recognition. Google also released its NFC-enabled mobile payment platform, Google Wallet, which allows users to merely tap the phone at the POS to process a payment.
Apple's iOS 5 brings features like Notification Center which centralizes all notification in single window, iMessage which allows users to send free sms to other iOS devices and News Stand which is dedicated for magazines and newspapers where automatic downloads will be possible.
The iOS 5 also brings Twitter integration which has been integrated with Photos, Maps and Safari and PC-free function which means that iOS updates will be sent over the air and iTunes can be synced wirelessly via Wi-Fi.
Apple also has the iCloud card which offers a digital locker service for its upcoming iPhone 5. However, the delay in iPhone 5 launch means that Google's Android has sufficient time to revise its OS and the new phones on the block like Samsung Galaxy S II can have a field run until the iPhone 5 appears.
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