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What will Apple Announce on October 4th? Our Thoughts and Predictions

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October 4th 2011 marks a big day and several firsts for Cupertino Company Apple, but perhaps most importantly they are set to announce the next iPhone to the world, with anticipation rising to reach a fever pitch over the past few months.

Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs as CEO recently, and although Steve has always announced the latest iPhone, tomorrow’s event will be the first time Tim will do a major product announcement.

Tomorrow’s event will take place at Apple’s own huge campus in Cupertino, California, in Apple’s ‘Town Hall’ auditorium – another first for the company, and one that has got people wondering as to why they didn’t use their usual location of the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Over the last month or two we’ve heard hundreds of reports from people all over the industry claiming to know what Apple plans to announce tomorrow. We’ve also seen pictures taken in iPhone part factories, heard of an iPhone 5 prototype which was left in a bar (but actually wasn’t) and various of release dates.

Almost everyone is expecting Apple to make an obvious move tomorrow and announce the iPhone 5 – with an even slimmer design than the iPhone 4, a metal case with curved edges, a larger, wider screen and much more. But we don’t think they will, and here’s why.

We’ve seen and heard a lot about a possible ‘iPhone 4S’ recently – the new product name has appeared in Apple’s stock inventory system, within code in the latest beta version of iTunes and also on Vodafone Germany’s system in 16, 32 and 64GB sizes. It’s this product, we think, that will be the star of the show at tomorrow’s iPhone event.

The iPhone 4S will follow in similar footsteps to the iPhone 3GS – the same form factor as its predecessor, but improved internal specifications. Therefore, the iPhone 4S will look and feel almost identical to the current iPhone 4, but what’s inside will be much, much better.

To start with, the camera module will have been improved from 5-Megapixels to 8-Megapixels, with a wider-angle lens and a lower aperture setting, meaning the phone will be able to snap pictures faster and in much better quality. We know that the next generation iPhone will feature this type of camera thanks to Sony CEO Howard Stringer’s previous confirmation and reports from the part manufacturers themselves.

Apple will also be bumping up the speed and graphics capability of the iPhone by introducing the same dual-core A5 chip that is now found in the iPad 2. This chip is much faster than the current A4 chip used in the iPhone 4 and will improve graphics by a fair jump, making games look even more beautiful on that Retina Display. The iPhone 4S will also feature the same graphics chip as the iPad 2 and 1GB of RAM – double that of the iPhone 4, which has 512MB.

There’s a very big reason for Apple bumping up the processor and RAM, and it’s called Assistant. Assistant will be one of, if not the biggest announcement at tomorrow’s event, and will be Apple’s main selling point for the new iPhone 4S. Assistant will be the product of Apple’s acquisition of Personal Assistant software company Siri last April for $200 million.

We don’t know a huge amount on Assistant just yet, but we do know that Siri was the most advanced Personal Assistant software for smartphones back when Apple bought it in April 2010. Since then they’ve had a good 18 months or so to develop the existing tech into what they wanted it for, and add it into iOS 5 to use with the next iPhone. The co-founder of Siri recently spoke confidently of how Assistant will change the way we use smartphones when Apple does announce it. Speaking to 9to5mac, Norman Winarsky said that he would “go so far as to say it will be a world changing event”, when speaking of tomorrow’s event and Apple’s unveiling of Assistant.

The software will be the next step on from the Voice Control feature you’ll find on the iPhone and iPod Touch now. You’ll be able to speak naturally to your iPhone and request things like web searches, composing text messages and even translating voice calls into text in real time on the iPhone’s screen. We’re extremely eager to find out more about Assistant and what it can do. We also think that Assistant and it’s voice and speech interactivity is what Apple are hinting at when they say “Let’s Talk iPhone”

You might be thinking “well, if the biggest news is a piece of software and the next iPhone looks the same as before, I’ll just install the software on my iPhone 4 and keep it”. Well, that’s where that 1GB of RAM and new, faster A5 processor comes in; Assistant is so powerful that it requires both of these parts to be able to run it – it just won’t work on any previous iPhone. Crafty Apple, very crafty indeed.

With the iPhone 4S aside, we also need to pay attention to the talk of a cheaper iPhone. We’ve heard an awful lot about Apple planning to release a phone that looks like the iPhone 4 but has less storage space (likely 8GB) and lower specifications, in order to be priced competitively and aimed at the Pay and Go market.

We suspect that an 8GB iPhone 4 will be introduced to the market with a fairly hefty price cut from the iPhone 4 16GB. Apple may make changes to the internal hardware to help bring the cost down, but we firmly believe that the main change will be the materials used in the casing. Though this iPhone will look identical, it won’t feature the front and black glass panels that the iPhone 4 was famed for. Instead, Apple will use a lighter, tough plastic or similar material. With these changes made, the cheaper iPhone could be offered either free on contract, or very cheaply, and for around £300 to buy outright and use on Pay as you Go.

As for the iPhone 5? Well, we’re yet to see any pictures of parts or leaks, save for a few fake videos and photos. In fact, all we’ve really seen is a host of case designs that several case manufacturers have mocked up. Our favourites were from Casemate, though we think we’ll need to wait until next year before we see an iPhone 5.

Obviously we’ll have to wait until 6PM GMT tomorrow to find out for sure what Apple will be unveiling, and we’ll be tuned in and bringing you the news as it happens.

Do you agree with our predictions, or do you think Apple might have something else up their sleeves?

Let us know your thoughts on our comments below or via or @Gadget_Helpline twitter page or Official Facebook Group.