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Apple Picking: Before the iPhone Launch

Here's what to look for ahead of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s launch event Tuesday:

It is not even clear whether the next Apple phone will be called the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 4S, or if Cupertino is planning to launch a more standard smartphone along with something cheaper for developing markets. Nonetheless, there is some consensus on forthcoming features...

Faster chip: UBM TechInsights is expecting the Apple A5 dual-core processor from the iPad -- made by Samsung Corp. -- to juice up the latest iPhone.

Better 3G: A Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) chip should make it easier for Apple to add faster HSPA+ 3G to the iPhone.

Larger screen: China Times and others have been reporting since the spring that the iPhone 5 will sport a 4-inch screen rather than the 3.5-inch screen common to the range.

Near-Field Communications (NFC): Many are anticipating the next iPhone will have a chip on board that will allow it to act as a wireless wallet for users who want to point and buy over-the-air. (See Orange: NFC Won’t Make Us Rich .)

Carrier cash cows
The Wall Street Journal says Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is paying through the nose to get the iPhone on its network for the first time. CEO Dan Hesse and company have agreed to buy 30.5 million iPhones, spending billions that won't be recouped until 2014.

Facebook friends with benefits?
Facebook is expected to announce its iPad app at the Apple event. Mashable is predicting that the two will extend their -- sometimes frosty -- partnership.

Get on iCloud
Shawn Carolan, managing director at Menlo Ventures , writes on AllThingsD that Apple may unveil a "Virtual Personal Assistant" that will work via the cloud to allow users to book food and travel online via speech commands, amongst other features.

Changing heads
Of course, CEO Tim Cook will head up the launch of the iPhone 5 now that Steve Jobs has stepped down as head of Apple. Watch for more news from Light Reading Mobile on the launch Tuesday. (See Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO.)

For more
Read up on the iPhone 5 below.



— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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