Apple iPhone 3.0: What We Know for Sure

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The newest revision of Apple's iPhone hardware is set to be released this summer. While there remain many mysteries, the clouds are steadily clearing on some of the new features that will be released.

First of all, it will likely have a faster processor. The iPod touch 2.0 came out with a faster 532MHz processor last August. Up until then, Apple's touch devices only had 400MHz processors. Those processors were capable of being clocked higher but Apple kept them down for power saving reasons.

I expect Apple's new iPhone to come out with a processor similar to Palm Pre's TI OMAP 3400 series ARM Cortex A8. There are a few options in this class which I've outlined here.

Double the RAM to 256MB from 128 MB and you'll see application speed improvements, especially when may are running at the same time. Chinese rumor sites have stated not only has the RAM increased, but that that new iPhones scream.

Camera: The iPhone looks like it will be getting a 3.2 megapixel camera with a better lens and manual focus capability. That is up from the current 2.1 megapixel wonder that has been doing iPhone users proud for the past two years. While the current camera is small in specs, it gets great results. The better lens and more pixels should make those complaining about picture quality happier. Perhaps we'll even get a LED flash.

There have been rumors about a front facing camera - even an Apple patent application with one pictured, but it isn't assured to be in this version of the iPhone.

There will be, at long last, video capability on the iPhone. Jailbreakers have been making movies on their iPhone for over a year. Now the rest of us will get the opportunity. Apple screenshots have revealed that even rudimentary video editing will be available.

Like the Google Android-based G1, the new iPhone looks like it will have a magnetometer or digital compass. This will be helpful for many things including navigation and building more metadata into pictures for starters.

The new iPhone will likely come in 32GB and 16GB varieties - double the current generation. Recent improvements in memory density have allowed memory vendors like Toshiba to pack in twice the storage on the same boards as the current iPhone uses. Plus, Flash is so cheap that you can pick up 32GB in USB form for $45.

The Broadcom chips inside the iPhone are built with FM transmission and reception capability. So, not only could you listen to FM radio, you could broadcast it to and FM radio, say in your car, without carrying around an adapter. Currently, iPhones and iPod Touches have FM receivers which are used to communicate with the Nike+ equipment. If Apple decides to use FM radio in new iPhones, they might also enable the functionality in older ones.

Form factor: we know that Apple likes skinny and the iPod touch 2.0 has a few millimeters on the current iPhone. I'd like to see Apple close the gap and make the device smaller and thinner, with the same great screen. The better camera/lens will also require some physical changes to the back of the device.

The initial run is expected to be between 4-5 million units according to Digitimes.

That's all I can think of at the moment, have you heard anything else about the upcoming iPhone 3?

This story, "Apple iPhone 3.0: What We Know for Sure" was originally published by Computerworld.

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