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iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 – last minute rumour round-up

With Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event due to start at 6pm UK time, and a massive potential leak from Vodafone in Germany, let’s see what we “know” about the next iPhone.

iPhone 4S

There have been rumours floating around the web for a while that Apple will release a slightly upgraded version of the hugely popular iPhone 4. They’ve done it before, when they upgraded the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS and it would be an easy way for them to regularly release new phones. When no new phone showed up in summer as expected, this one went on the back-burner for a bit – after all, why would Apple make us wait longer than usual for just a minor update?

Over the last few weeks, rumours began suggesting there could be two new versions – a full blown iPhone 5, backed up by a cheaper model based on the iPhone 4. In one final twist, it seems that Vodafone Germany let the cat out of the bag last night by listing iPhone 4 covers on it’s site as compatible with the iPhone 4S.

Assuming this isn’t just some admin error, this tells us that the iPhone 4S will be the same size and shape as the iPhone 4. We should expect a faster processor and perhaps more memory to go with a software upgrade.

There’s no mention of the iPhone 5 on the Vodafone site, so we’ll just have to wait and see whether Apple will announce one or two new phones tonight.

Advanced voice control assistant

Last year, Apple snapped up a start-up company called Siri, who specialised in intelligent voice control for mobile devices. The rumours started straight away that voice control would feature heavily in future versions of iPhone and, when Apple announce an event with the line “Let’s talk iPhone”, now it seems pretty certain.

The new interface, rumoured to be called “Assistant“, would allow you to talk naturally to your phone while it works out what you want. For example you could say “book a meeting with John at 5pm today” and it would add a new appointment to your calendar, while sending an invitation to John. The iPhone’s voice controls are already pretty good, but this would be an excellent upgrade.

iPhone 5 gets sleek new design

The iPhone 5 will probably look very different from the iPhone 4, particularly if it has to stand out from the iPhone 4S. The MacRumors site has a detailed review of some apparently leaked designs for the new device. These seem to be slimmer, with a slightly larger screen. Notably the design completely removes the wrap-around antenna design which provoked the “antennagate” fuss last year. Other commentators, such as Apple pundit John Gruber are more sceptical about this design and it’s worth a read of his article to get a balanced view.

Use your iPhone 5 as a digital wallet with NFC

We’ve covered mobile payments a few times before on PluggedIn and it seems a good fit for Apple and the iPhone 5. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology which allows you to make small payments by simply swiping your phone over a reader, similar to an Oyster card and some credit cards.

We know that Apple has been looking in to this technology for a while, as Engadget reported last year. It ties in really well with the fact that their existing iTunes store holds credit card details for all users anyway so they could probably handle the whole process on their own. This would help if they decide not to team up with an established player like Google Wallet.

iCloud and iOS 5

Apple’s online storage and streaming service, iCloud is due for an official launch any time now, as is the latest version of their mobile software, iOS 5. It’s pretty much a dead cert that these will be released with the new device.

What else will be new?

Those are the rumours we’re most excited about, but there are plenty more things Apple could do, like a better camera. What would you most like to see in the new iPhone?