Forecast

4 ways that Apple's iPhone 5 might disappoint customers

The most anticipated gadget of the year makes its long-awaited debut Wednesday morning. And it'll have to be awfully good to live up to all the hype

If you've been frothing at the mouth for months hoping to get your hands on the next iPhone, rest easy: The seemingly interminable wait is almost over. Apple is expected to unveil the most anticipated phone of the year, the iPhone 5, in San Francisco on Wednesday morning, less than a year after the company pulled the curtains off the iPhone 4S. Of course, frenzied Apple fans are hopeful that the company's new handset will be the "best phone ever." But what if it's not? Here, four ways the iPhone 5 announcement could leave hungry Apple fans feeling less than full:

1. If it's the same size as the iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S, despite industry-changing innovations like Siri, was initially met with a collective sigh — largely because the device looked exactly like the iPhone 4. If Apple "wishes to retain its title as the king of smartphones," the company will "finally have to admit that its 3.5-inch display is too small," says Sebastian Anthony at ExtremeTech, and that the larger screens of Androids are the future. Expect at least a 4-inch display that's slightly taller, but not much wider, says Erica Ogg at GigaOm. "The result may mean an extra row of apps on the home screen, and an overall larger area to view apps, ebooks, web content, and videos." 

2. If it doesn't run on 4G LTE
Implementing a faster 4G LTE data network has been a huge headache for Apple. That's why Verizon's iPhone 4S still enlisted the standard 3G network. "Apple frustrated some would-be buyers by failing to include [4G LTE] in the iPhone 4S built for Verizon," says Chris Davis at Slashgear. But because 4G LTE is now an option on the latest iPad, says GigaOm's Ogg, we all assume that it'll be offered on the new iPhone, too. If it's not, expect some angry customers.

3. If the battery still stinks
Everyone wants longer battery life, says Charles Arthur at Britain's Guardian. But for some reason, the iPhone 4S demonstrated shorter standby battery life than the iPhone 4. Already, rivals like Samsung, RIM, and Nokia do a better job than Apple of managing their devices' power capabilities, and the new iPhone's larger screen and 4G LTE network would put a huge strain on the gadget's battery life. Let's hope that a couple of hours of use doesn't leave the new iPhone "gasping across the threshold as you arrive home." Indeed, a better battery is a "necessity" for this year's model, says Ogg.

4. If there isn't "one more thing" 
Steve Jobs used to love ending his keynotes with a surprise — "one more thing" to whip the crowd into a frenzy. (In 2008, the first MacBook Air was introduced this way.) But to the dismay of many fans, Apple has been restrained with this tactic of late, says Michael J. Miller at PC Mag. Well, many "tech pundits — even some with a good track record — say that the iPad Mini is coming and that it could be Tim Cook's 'one more thing'" on Wednesday, says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. But I'm not so sure. Announcing a new tablet along with the iPhone 5 could put a "severe dent in iPhones sales," as Apple fans will face an "either-or decision" when figuring out which gadget to purchase.

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