The iPhone 5 will not only offer a major refresh, but will also expand its appeal around the world, according to one analyst.
The sixth-generation iPhone is expected to sport three big improvements, according to analyst Shaw Wu. Picking up info from suppliers, Wu sees a new form factor, a slightly larger screen and 4G long-term evolution (LTE) support built in to Apple's next flagship phone. These features should help the upcoming iPhone outscore the iPhone 4 and 4S at picking up new customers and enticing existing ones to upgrade.
Other reports and various rumours have pointed to a redesigned body, a 4-inch screen and support for LTE in the next iPhone.
But given China's status as the world's biggest smartphone market, Apple will also make sure that the iPhone 5 will appeal to Chinese consumers, according to Wu.
The phone will work with China Mobile's proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network, said the analyst. Both China Mobile and China Unicom have been testing 4G LTE, but full adoption of LTE is a few years away, so support for 3G is crucial if Apple is to gain further traction in the Chinese market.
iOS 6 has already paved the way for greater support in China, by giving Siri the ability to comprehend and speak Mandarin and Cantonese. The new OS will also offer an easier way to input Chinese characters and integrate with several Chinese online services, such as Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou. Combine iOS 6 with the iPhone 5, and Wu sees Apple as being a few steps closer to a deal to offer the iPhone through China Mobile.