The wait will soon be over. Apple has sent out press invitations for an event on October 4th in which it's expected to introduce iPhone 5. Apple's new CEO Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs last month, is likely to preside over the "Let's talk iPhone" gathering and indications are that the killer feature of the new smartphone will be an extensive voice control system called the Assistant.
According to 9to5Mac, improvements in the latest iPhone will include dual-core 1GHz Apple A5 CPU (as in the iPad 2), 1GB of RAM (twice more than in iPhone 4 and iPad 2) and a sharper 8-megapixel camera with a backlit sensor. The biggest selling point, however, might be a feature called Assistant.
Assistant hooks in to many features of the phone to allow users to set calendar appointments, ask for directions, and find the location of your friends using voice commands.
Assistant is also integrated with Wolfram Alpha answer engine, which will provide instant answers to questions like "how many inches in one foot"? or "which city is the capital of Argentina?"
iPhone 5 is also said to have Nuance speech-to-text functionality for dictation and there's a promise of extended conversation capabilities in which the system will speak back and forth with the user to provide the most accurate results.
Could it be that the era of practical, useable voice control has finally arrived.
On the downside, it appears that Assistant does require a 1GHz Apple A5 CPU and 1GB of RAM, leaving iPhone 4 and iPad 2 users without the feature.
As for form factor, the jury is still out. It's possible that the iPhone5 will look very much like the current model in terms of its shell, but there are plenty of rumors circulating as to possible changes to its appearance. In any case, all should be revealed on October 4.