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Monday, 07 May 2012 13:16

Despite new Androids, all eyes still on upcoming new iPhone

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Three 2012 flagship Android phones have launched, and while this has made some Fandroids super happy, everyone is still waiting and wondering what the next new iPhone will be like, and whether the pre-emptive Android launches are enough to beat whatever Apple has in store for us all next.

HTC has launched its stunning One X smartphone in the last few weeks, while last week saw Samsung's Galaxy S III finally arrive - alongside a broadside from LG, promising an Android model with a "world first" 2GB of RAM within.

All three models handily outclass the current iPhone in many respects, from larger screens to more powerful hardware, but despite these pre-emptive strikes against the unknown new iPhone, the world still waits to see what Apple will launch.

Apple is so clever at keeping things under wraps that we can't even be sure what the next iPhone will be called. It will probably follow the "new iPad" in being called the "new iPhone", but naturally, rumours have also dubbed the next iPhone as the iPhone 4G, 4GS, 5 or even 6.

The latest rumour-mongering comes from the lizards over at iLounge.com, who quote sources claiming a 4-inch screen, a smaller dock connector and a 20% thinner profile.

But no-one knows whether the next iPhone will be made from the much hyped and exciting sounding Liquid Metal, even though iLounge suggests the phone will instead feature "Gorilla Glass 2", a 2nd-gen Gorilla Glass that is thinner than the original version, yet still offer the same strength.

Every year, Apple's competitors try to figure out what Apple will do, and every year, they're getting better at trying to outclass Apple.

Unfortunately, what usually happens is that competitors "outclass" what Apple did in its previous generation, and even though they try as hard as possible to outdo the "unknown" of Apple's next iDevice, Apple always seems to have something special up its sleeve that no-one saw coming, or that competitors weren't able to engineer in time for their latest launches.

This year's crop of Android flagships is clearly the best yet, with competition between the top Android makers strong as the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3 demonstrate, while LG's Korea-only-for-now new Android takes on-board RAM to a new 2GB level, unseen on smartphones in the past.

This extra RAM is touted as delivering better multitasking and better memory management, meaning fewer page refreshes in browsers and faster all-round operation.

But the world of differing Android specs, different screen technologies, various different physical sizes and more comes up starkly against Apple's uniformity, something Apple is expected to break for the first time with a change from 3.5-inch displays to a 4-inch model.

Either way, Apple's mystique is strong, and expectations remain high, as always, that Apple will deliver some knockout features that Android makers will finally get around to copying in 2013, well after the next iPhone has sold in the tens of millions, sucking up all those smartphone profits yet again.

We'll all have to wait and see, of course, but given history's tendency to repeat, the powerful and impressive pre-emptive Android launches will still be measured against the upcoming new golden iStandard - the next Apple iPhone.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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