People smarter than I have been digging through the code for Apple’s iOS 5 operating system and found lots of references to devices that could be on their way in the coming year.
According to a story from 9to5Mac, references to a number of new devices have been found in iOS 5.1, namely, an “iPad 3,1,” an “iPhone 5,1,” and an “iPad 2,4.” There are also references made to a new version of Apple TV, “AppleTV 3,1.”
The code is found in a section of iOS 5 that Apple uses to test new devices before they’re released, 9to5Mac says, which suggests that at least Apple TV 3 is being tested internally with the company. The numbers also give a little information about what we might expect from these iterations of new devices. The bigger the number shift from devices already available, the bigger the changes.
The iPhone 5 mentioned in the code is already the device we expect to see in June as Apple releases a new, redesigned iPhone. If the internal coding for the iPhone had been preceded by a 4, as in “iPhone 4,x,” we could have expected another iteration of the currently available iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S without much changed. The fact that the number has moved to a whole new version suggests big changes to the device. We don’t know what those changes are of course, but there are plenty of rumors of a redesigned outer casing, possible 4G LTE support and the inclusion of near-field communication technology.
In the case of future iPads, there are two interesting coding numbers to mention. The first is the iPad 2,4, which suggests a new version of the currently available iPad 2. Likely this will be a Sprint version of the tablet, seeing as Apple recently brought the No. 3 U.S. telecom company into its iPhone fold with the iPhone 4S.
The code also mentions an iPad 3,1, which we can expect to be the next version of the iPad. If history is any indication, that device will likely be announced somewhere around March 2012. Rumors suggest it will include a high-definition Retina screen with four times the resolution of the iPad and iPad 2.
Then there’s Apple TV, the company’s set top box that links to iTunes over Wi-Fi and allows for the renting of TV shows and movies. The numbers attached to the next version of Apple TV suggest a brand new version of the device (since it’s going from 2,1 to 3,1), and given the availability of Apple’s new hardware, it’s not too surprising. You can probably expect to see an upcoming Apple TV that’s faster than its predecessors thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s A5 dual-core processor. That’s the chip first introduced in the iPad 2 and included in the iPhone 4S, and is responsible for the boosts in power for both.
Although all these devices are enticing, this is Apple we’re talking about, so not only is anything possible, it’s likely we won’t hear anything about any of them for some time. Although the Sprint iPad 2 may be close to release, in terms of redesigned iPads and iPhones, expect to be well into 2012 before those become available. Still, it’s nice to believe (at least for now) that we’ll be seeing new versions of Apple’s devices, rather than incremental updates.