The Next iPhone: Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu

star-trek-john-cho_lThe iPhone is still hands-down one of the best 5 tech purchases I’ve made over the past decade — actually, it’s probably the best. I use it every day to do a variety of things that I still find incredible that I’m able to do in something so portable. That said, over the past few months, I’ve been getting frustrated at the speed of the device. Some of the applications built for it, notably the games, are simply resource hogs. And that’s made applications like FreeMemory (which, yes, frees your phone’s memory), a necessity. But a much greater pain reliever is on the way if Daring Fireball’s John Gruber is correct (and he usually is on such things). A new, much faster iPhone.

The new iPhone will feature a processor that will be more than 1.5 times faster than the current iPhone, according Gruber citing information from informed sources. While at first glance, that may not seem like a huge jump up, Gruber compares the speed bump to what it was like to upgrade an old 486 PC to a Pentium variety. In today’s world of computer upgrades, you’re usually upgrading from a processor that is already fast enough for most tasks, to one that is slightly faster — it’s the RAM, video cards and Bus speeds that seem to matter just as much. But back in the day those jumps processor specs alone were huge. And as someone who vividly remembers upgrading a 486 SX 33 to a Pentium, this potential iPhone jump greatly excites me.

And that’s not all the new iPhone will feature. You can also expect a doubling of the iPhone’s capacity to 16 GB and 32 GB. And the RAM should be doubled as well to 256 MB, though Gruber is less sure about that. While the device will largely look the same, it will gain a better camera that features auto-focus and yes, video capturing. These video capabilities will be highlighted on the new device, as it will include software to manipulate video as well, which goes along with earlier rumors. All of this has been rumored in the past.

picture-124It always seemed a little lame to me that the iPhone 3G featured the same 400 MHz processor that the original iPhone did. In fact, the second generation iPod touch actually received a processor spec bump, while the iPhone did not. This new iPhone should feature a 600 MHz processor.

Unfortunately, with this new horsepower, Gruber doesn’t expect the battery life of the device to get any better — let’s just hope it doesn’t get worse. And we should still see this new version in two colors: White and black — while the same price points are maintained: $199 for the 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB. This is no word on the rumored to be improved 3G speeds, using a new HSDPA chip.

This new iPhone is expected to be unveiled at the WWDC event on June 8 (we’ll be there, covering it live). But the device would launch in July — same routine as last year. There’s still no word on what this new iPhone will be called. It’s the 3rd iteration, but “iPhone 3” wouldn’t make a lot of sense given that the 2nd iteration was the “iPhone 3G.” “iPhone Video” or some such is certainly possible, but I’m still betting on Apple keeping it simple and going with the plain, old “iPhone.”