What does Apple’s iPad mean for the next-generation iPhone 4G?

apple-logoApple’s uncanny ability to hype a product, while convincing you to free yourself of rational thought and act on emotion alone, has the tech world buzzing about the new Apple iPad tablet. Whether or not you find yourself almost magically enamored with the iPad’s sleek design, gorgeous 10-inch multi-touch screen, and affordable price tag, there’s no denying that Apple put a lot of work into their first tablet. But, just what does it all mean for the next-generation of iPhones expected to hit market later this year?


Improved display. Apple’s next-gen iPhone definitely won’t feature a multi-touch display anywhere close in size to the iPad, but it might borrow some of the iPad’s display technology. The iPad uses an IPS-based display that allows for a greater range of viewing angles. It also boasts an LED backlight that lights up the screen brighter than traditional backlights, while sipping less power than a traditional backlight.

The iPhone 4G might very well make use of the iPad’s display technologies. At this point, it’s almost a given that Apple will either up the screen size or the resolution – or both. It would be good to see the upcoming iPhone sporting a larger, higher-res display that takes cues from the iPad.


Custom processor. One of today’s biggest surprises was that the 3v9-450x255Apple iPad is powered by Apple’s own A4 processor. Rather than rely on processor designs that they have to pay to use, Apple is apparently making good use of their PA Semi acquisition and already putting chip designs into production hardware. The iPad’s A4 processor clocks in at 1Ghz and will hum along for a claimed 10 hours of battery time.

That has big implications for the next iPhone. The current iPhone 3GS uses a fairly speedy ARM Cortex A8 processor, manufactured by Samsung. It works great, but every time Apple ships an iPhone 3GS, they have to dole out royalties for using the ARM processor design – royalty fees that ARM Holdings PLC recently increased. Apple would rather design their own chips and outsource chip production to save on those royalties – which is why Apple purchased chip design firm PA Semi some time ago.

So, with their first custom chip design ready to go in the iPad, it’s not too far a stretch of the imagination to see the iPhone 4G powered by the new Apple chip. In fact, the 1Ghz clock speed would do well in the new iPhone – other high-end smartphones are already making use of 1Ghz processors, by the way.

[Update]
There’s now talk of the custom Apple A4 processor actually being based on the ARM Cortex A9 core. Apple owns a special ARM license that allows them to take ARM’s chip designs and customize them for their own needs, and rumors are now suggesting that Apple merely used its PA Semi team to customize the ARM Cortex A9 design for their own needs.


iPhone accessories. When we saw Steve Jobs showing off the Apple iPad’s optional keyboard dock, the first though toipad_accessories_6 cross our collective minds was – where the hell is the iPhone’s keyboard dock? The Apple iPad’s large touchscreen might make for a more accurate touch-typing experience, but there’s no replacement for a hard keyboard when tapping out lengthy emails and blog posts. That’s where the keyboard dock comes in. It connects through the iPad’s dock connector, and turns the iPad into a virtual desktop.

So, where the hell is the iPhone’s keyboard dock? That’s a good question. We’ve been asking that for years. Now that Apple has finally admitted to itself that tap-typing, while fast and usually more than adequate, isn’t going to cut it for longer compositions, there’s a good chance we’ll see an Apple-certified keyboard dock for the iPhone in the coming months. Now that would be nice.


Now, speaking of iPad. We all know it’s a badass device. It’s really pretty. It makes you really want to buy one. But, setting aside emotions for a bit, do you really think you need one? Will you be buying one in the next couple months?

[Update]
Clarification about the custom nature of the A4 processor.

  • Jordan_06072675207751922568

    The iPad is nice, but I am waaay more interested in an improved iPhone than a tablet.

  • Chris P

    Ill tell you the BIG thing the ipad shows – NO MULTITASKING in iphone v4. If anything needs multitasking..its the ipad – but strangely no multitasking. So if there is no multitasking on the ipad running pretty much the iphone OS you’d think no multitasking on the next gen iphone. (prob also assuming the iphone will use the apple CPU)

    (when I talk about multitasking Im obviously refering to non native apps). Personally I couldnt live with a non multitasking smartphone, Im not sure how anyone settles for a phone without.

    • that guy

      well little buddy its called push notification

  • macs4bg

    The fact iPad doesn’t have a camera is a big thumbs down for me. I snap pics of websites constantly while surfing on iPhone. So, yes, I was thinking of getting an iPad until I learned No Camera. And if it lacks the same no flash/no video problem that iPhone has, that’s a real negative as well.

    I could suffer thru the lack of multitasking as I’ve been doing with iPhone, but the lack of all 3 seems bizarre. Why leave out such basic things? Maybe ipad is just a glorified ebook reader afterall.

    Lastly, I guess a person would have to pay ATT the $30 for the iPhone AND another $30 for the ipad? That’s getting up there if you also have another ISP monthly bill for your Mac. Something would have to give, but which? (I do love my iPhone & would love a bigger model, which I thought ipad would be… Not.)

  • AndrewLim

    Looks like the contemporary working environment in 2010 only needs two things: iPhone and iPad. Are scanners/printers needed?

  • Alex Allen

    Seems to me that the iPad shows that Apple are relatively happy with their current technology, haven’t really pushed their style any further. And why should they? Since 2007, still nobody has managed to come up with anything better. I think people could be quite underwhelmed with the new iPhone, it seems illogical for Apple to release something which will make the iPad look out of date before it’s even been out 6 months. I’m expecting various small improvements, better camera, more storage etc, but none of the things people really want. Prove me wrong Apple!

  • James M

    I’ll wait for iPad 2. I confess, to me the “killer app” is an affordable, always-on, no-contract 3G connection. If I could get that plan on a laptop-based 3G card, I’d have it right now.

    What kills it for me is a lack of camera (really? no video chat?), no multitasking, no Flash (it’s a multimedia wonder but it can’t access a big chunk of the web’s multimedia) and, according to a couple of “hands on” reviews, the screen isn’t as good as the iPhone.

    I’m willing to grudgingly accept the lack of expandable storage and Apple’s “walled garden” environment in return for that 3G connection but that only goes so far. What’s the point in having an everpresent net connection and an HD screen if I can’t watch videos (that are probably flash) from the web? Or use video chat with relatives? Or download an MP3 while checking email?

    Actually, if AT&T’s network was faster the multitasking might not be as much of an issue but if downloading an MP3 takes 5 minutes (or loading web pages takes 30 seconds), you need multitasking to keep busy in that lag time.

  • willpark

    Multi-tasking would have been nice indeed.

  • Shimmy

    I’d be all over it if it was running a modified version of the Mac OS instead of the iPhone OS

    • Trevor

      @shimmy, I couldn’t agree more, apple had two possible directions they could have gone, and they chose the easier, but far less impressive of the two.

  • kyussmondo

    Fully agree with the predictions. The 3GS is looking a bit slow now compared to the competition and I think judging by the iPad then it is a given that Apple will improve the screen and speed of the iPhone 4G and next iPod Touch.

    I like the iPad and would really like one but I don’t NEED one. Maybe I could sell my MacBook and keep my iMac and then just use the iPad but I can and have lasted without. I cannot live without a phone though. I know you don’t need a phone or an iPhone but I have became so used to it being a part of my life that I could just not imagine being without a smart phone these days. I’m holding on to my old iPhone 3G until they release the next iPhone. Although, if Apple doesn’t deliver I will seriously consider Android.

  • FTWNJ

    Apple products are overrated. Too many things I cant’t do to a a device that I legally own without voiding my warranty and pissing off Steve in the process. He believes that the iPad and all your iPhones are still his property, even though you paid for them and should have every right to do what you want to that device, regardless of any terms and conditions Apple may force you to agree upon using their devices. I have owned an iPhone and have recently purchased an Android device because I believe that a smart phone should be able to run at its full potential (an app should not be rejected from the app store just because it competes with an existing Apple application, nor should the manufacturer of the phone be able to decide what content is appropriate for me to be viewing). Now my iPhone gets used as a paperweight until Android is properly ported to the 3g (thank you planetbeing). Once Apple starts letting the consumers decide whats good for them instead of Steve I may go back to another Apple product, but until then its Android for me.

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