Apple has sold more than 128 million iPhones since 2007 and inspired dozens of imitators. At 10 a.m. Pacific Time Tuesday, Apple will announce the fifth generation of its game-changing device.
As with every Apple announcement, the rumors, reports and run-away enthusiasm just keeps on coming. Here are the five thing to look for at tomorrow's event in Cupertino, Calif:
Everyone is eagerly anticipating the iPhone 5, but it's possible that this is going to an iPhone 4S. What's the difference? Unclear. The 4S name may signal a less radical leap forward from the current iPhone 4, much like the iPhone 3GS was mostly a sharpening of the iPhone 3G. Or maybe there will be an iPhone 5 AND an iPhone 4S.
Whatever it is called, the phone's new features could include: a faster processor, a bigger screen and a higher resolution camera. Also anticipated is some kind of voice-activated assistant, after Apple bought Siri, a company that speciaizes in that technology, last year.
There has also been speculation about the design changing to a new teardrop shape, but most experts are leaning toward a look similar to the current one.
Lots of folks like to be first in line for these things, so knowing what day to tell the boss you'll be standing in line instead of working online is top of mind. Business Insider analyzed the amount of time between each iPhone announcement and the sale date, and concludes two weeks, tops.
As for what carriers will have service, so far AT&T and Verizon have had a lock on previous iPhones. Now there is talk that Sprint is in line, and even a report that Sprint may get exclusive dibs on whatever the highest end model Apple announces.
There have been reports of product listings for 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB sizes, as well as black and white. What, no pink? And, again, there may be two entirely different phones that get announced.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is almost as legendary for his magnetic product launches as the technology he has created. Wearing his trademark black turtleneck and jeans, he traditionally demonstrated his devices while narrating in a tone at-once calm and dramatic, almost sounding like the voice of God.
But Jobs, who has suffered from cancer, stepped down in August, handing the reins to former COO Tim Cook. Jobs may make an appearance at the launch, but it is not clear who will give the keynote address. If it is Cook, will he imitate Jobs signature style? Will he go in a radically new direction to differentiate himself? Will he wear a turtleneck?
Believe it or not, the iPod is 10 years old. In the past few weeks Apple-o-philes have speculated its time is up, as the iPod touch and iPhone can do so much more, and are now so ubiquitous that the iPod seems beside the point. No one seems to be talking about the demise of the Nano or the Shuffle (and for runners, both are far more portable), but it's anyone's guess whether any or all will be retired at the big Apple event.
Check out Press Here, NBCBayArea.com's blog for complete coverage of the new iPhone launch.