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Apple's next iPhone: The pre-reveal roundup

However you feel about Apple or its iPhone products, there's no doubt that the release of the next iPhone is perhaps the most anticipated launch of any electronic consumer product in 2011. Rumors have been flying for months about what Apple will reveal on Tuesday when it holds its press event at its campus in Cupertino, California. Officially Apple has only said that the event will be about the iPhone product line but aside from that it has never revealed anything else officially about what the next version of its smartphone will be like.

Today we will go over all of the speculation about the launch of the next iPhone. We try to figure out which ones are likely to be true and which of them are just wishful thinking. The biggest thing about Apple is that, even in this 24/7 Internet news world of leaks and unnamed sources, it could still come up with some surprises.

Why is the next iPhone announcement coming so late in the year?

While Apple has never commented on this officially, most technology analysts believe that March's massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused delays to some of the parts suppliers for the iPhone in that country. Apple has announced and/or launched previous versions of the iPhone in the June/July time frame. The introduction of the next iPhone on Tuesday would be at least three months later than normal. It's believed that the next iPhone will begin shipments to customers and stores sometime later this month after Tuesday's announcement.

What will be inside the next iPhone?

Most speculation on the Internet believes that Apple will put in the A5 processor in the next version of the iPhone. That's the same dual core chip that's in Apple's current iPad 2 tablet. If true it should give the next iPhone a big boost in performance. There are also rumors that the next iPhone could have a larger four inch touch screen compared to the current 3.5 inch display on the iPhone 4. Other rumors claim that the next iPhone could have a redesigned case that would make it thinner than the current iPhone 4. It's also expected to have an eight megapixel camera.

There have been rumors that the next iPhone will support the faster LTE wireless network, which Verizon has and which AT&T is starting to launch. However, most analysts believe that an LTE iPhone won't be released until sometime in 2012.

What's this we have heard about two new iPhones?

There have been persistent rumors that in addition to the next generation version of the smartphone (usually called the iPhone 5 in the press), Apple will also announce a cheaper version of the smartphone, the iPhone 4S, at its press conference on Tuesday. All of the previous versions of the iPhone have been priced on the high end of smartphones, although that hasn't stopped them from being sold by the tens of millions worldwide. The idea is that Apple might offer a cheaper version of the iPhone in order to expand its market share to developing countries or to people who can't afford to spend at least $200 on a phone.

One new rumor that was published on Sunday at Mashable claims via unnamed sources that Apple will only announce the cheaper iPhone 4S at Tuesday's press conference. If that turns out to be true it could be a massive disappointment to Apple fans who have been expecting a big hardware upgrade for the next iPhone.

Will there be a new version of Apple's iOS operating system for the new iPhone?

This is one area which Apple has indeed confirmed. iOS 5 has been in beta testing for Apple's third party developers for months and is expected to be pre-loaded onto the next iPhone when it is launched and will also be available as a software update for previous versions of the iPhone and iPad. The biggest new feature is the iCloud, which will allow users to store music, photos, data and more on Apple's cloud servers. Users will be able to stream and play their music library from the iCloud without the need to actually download a music track.

Other new features in iOS 5 will include being able to update the OS wireless with no need to hook it up to a PC or Mac. It's also suppose to have deeper Twitter integration, a new notification center to keep track of all new emails, texts and more in one space and more. There are even rumors that it will have native voice recognition software.

Will the iPhone come in a variety of colors and storage space versions?

If we get a truly next generation version of the iPhone on Tuesday it will likely come in 16 GB and 32 GB versions. There are rumors of a 64 GB iPhone but that has yet to be confirmed. If there is a cheaper version of the iPhone announced on Tuesday we think it will come with just 8 GB of storage. As far as colors, there are also rumors that the next iPhone will come in both black or white.

Will Sprint start selling the iPhone with the next version?

All signs point to "Yes" on this. While neither Apple nor Sprint have officially commented on this tidbit, there is evidence that Sprint workers are being told not to take any days off between now and October 15 due to a big phone launch, and you can't get any bigger than the next iPhone. Sprint will likely join both Verizon and AT&T in selling its version of the phone in the US. It also looks like Sprint users will be able to use its unlimited data plan with the next iPhone, something that Verizon and AT&T no longer have for new customers.

What else might Apple reveal at Tuesday's press event?

In addition to the iPhone news, Apple might also announce its annual refresh of its once mighty iPod media player line. However, the iPod has suffered in sales since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. Some rumors believe that Apple will only launch new versions of the iPod Touch and the iPod Nano at Tuesday's press event. The iPod Classic and the iPod Shuffle are rumored to be on the retirement block.

The event could also see Apple make some joint announcements with Facebook, including a long awaited iPad-native version of the Facebook app and possibly an HTML5-based app marketplace that goes under the code name "Project Spartan."

Will Steve Jobs appear at the iPhone press event?

As most of you may know, Jobs decided to retire as Apple's CEO earlier this year. Jobs is still Chairman at Apple and could make a surprise cameo appearance at Tuesday's press event. However, it's more likely that this will be the first Apple media event that will feature the current CEO, Tim Cook, on stage to present the next version of the iPhone to the assembled press and the public.

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