But what do we really know about the upcoming iPhone? 9to5Mac has published everything it has learned about the iPhone 5, including the one feature that will make you want to buy it…
In an extensive post about “the new iPhone,” Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac has answered many questions about why consumers will want to upgrade to Apple’s next smartphone.
According to 9to5Mac’s sources, the next iPhone will feature several “significant upgrades” from the iPhone 4. If you open up Apple’s fifth generation iPhone, you will find a dual-core A5 processor — the same chip that powers the iPad 2 for enhanced gaming and web browsing.
The next iPhone will set itself apart with a whopping 1GB of RAM (That’s twice the memory of the iPad 2.) This incredible boost in memory will be used to help power the next gen iPhone’s main feature. We’ll get to that in a second.
Like the assumed processor bump to the A5, the next iPhone will also feature a 8 megapixel camera that will allow users to take “incredible” pictures in low-light situations, thanks to the iPhone’s backlit sensor. The ability to take panoramic pictures has also been found in the iOS 5 SDK. iOS 5 includes multiple software enhancements to the iPhone’s camera, including shortcuts for taking quick pictures from the iPhone’s volume buttons.
According to 9to5Mac, the next gen iPhone will also feature Qualcomm Gobi Baseband chips that allow the user to switch between both GSM and CDMA networks. It’s been a longstanding rumor that the next iPhone will be a “world phone” capable of running on all carriers.
While all of these spec upgrades are certainly welcomed, we’ve heard most of these rumors before. What will set the next iPhone apart from its predecessors? What will be that one feature that makes the average customer say, “I have got to buy this thing!”
The next iPhone’s A5 processor and upgraded RAM will power a feature in iOS 5 that the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 won’t be able to use. The one feature that will set the next iPhone apart is called Assistant.
9to5Mac uncovered the hidden feature in iOS 5 called “Assistant” months ago, and this time Gurman is back with more info about how the revolutionary feature will work. Assistant is based on voice recognition apps like Siri (a company that Apple bought awhile back), and is the evolution of the iOS Voice Control function that was introduced with the iPhone 3GS in 2009.
Apple has been working with Nuance to create “the biggest game changer” for this year’s iPhone. Be prepared to start talking to your iPhone 5 this Fall.. a lot.
With the next iPhone on iOS 5, you’ll be able to hold the home button for a couple of seconds to initiate Assistant. Due to the iPhone 5’s upgraded specs, the function will perform much quicker than Voice Control does currently.
Assistant will pop up — much like the app switcher — at the bottom of your screen with a microphone icon ready to hear your voice. The feature will allegedly work on the lock screen as well.
You will have access to some of the most used Assistant commands for quick reference, and 9to5Mac describes the design as a “glowing purple flare” that will light up around the microphone icon during processing. Assistant will apparently open up “endless possibilities” with voice commands that make our lives easier.
Gurman explains Assistant in more detail:
“Assistant taps into many aspects of the iPhone, according to people familiar with the feature and SDK findings. For example, one can say make appointment with Mark Gurman for 7:30 PM and Assistant will create the appointment in the user’s calendar. On noting events, Assistant also allows users to set reminders for the iOS 5 Reminders application. For example, a user could say “remind me to buy milk when I arrive at the market.” Another example would be integration with the iOS Maps application. A user could ask: “how do I get to Staples Center?” and Assistant will use the user’s current location via GPS and provide directions.
Another interesting Assistant feature is the ability to create and send an SMS or iMessage with just your voice. For example, you can say “send a text to Mark saying I’ll be running late to lunch!” – and it will send. This is a super compelling feature for people who cannot physically or safely take the time to type out a text message. Users can also choose to have Assistant read back unsent text messages to ensure the system interpreted the speech correctly. If the text is written correctly, the user simply says “yes;” if not the user says “no” and Assistant will ask the user to speak again. Apple is also working to allow users to ask for a specific song to be played. Voice Control only allows albums, artists, and playlists to be chosen with your voice.”
One of Assistant’s most compelling functions will be conversation view. You will essentially hold a conversation with Assistant until it determines what specific task you need to complete. Think of Assistant as your own personal.. well, assistant.
Imagine sending an email by speaking it to your iPhone. You will create the email by tapping the home button and saying, “Email Alex about coffee next Thursday.” Assistant would fill your email details by asking you questions like, “Which address for Alex would you like to use? Home, office, or work?” What Assistant says to you will also be displayed in a text bubble on your iPhone’s screen. If you’re creating a new text message with Assistant, your dialogue with Assistant will be recored in conversation view on your screen as well. The same goes for any task you decide to perform.
9to5Mac also noted that Assistant will work with Apple’s new “Find My Friends” network to locate your friends around you. Assistant will also integrate with Wolfram Alpha to help you answer math questions or other knowledge queries. If you need to calculate a tip at a restaurant, just ask your iPhone. Brilliant.
Not to be left out, Nuance speech-to-text functionality will also be present in the next iPhone. This feature will most likely be limited to the iPhone 5 with Assistant, as Nuance’s voice queries require more intensive processor involvement.
Assistant is the evolution of the digital experience. You don’t have to speak like a robot for it to understand you, and the feature will undoubtedly just work. We’ve all been wondering how Apple will leapfrog the competition again this year, and Assistant looks like it will be the “x” factor that the competition can’t touch.