NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Apple ( AAPL) reported disappointing third-quarter earnings, but investor attention is shifting to the company's most important product, the iPhone 5. Apple sold 35.1 million and 26 million smartphones, respectively, in its recent fiscal second and third-quarters, and many are predicting this release will be the biggest product launch Apple has ever had. CEO Tim Cook alluded to the coming "fall product transition," suggesting the iPhone 5 will be announced then. The iPhone 5 will have a slew of new features, said Channing Smith, portfolio manager at Capital Advisors Growth Fund. "We expect it to have Near Field Communications (NFC), a larger screen, and a better camera -- we expect it will be done without conceding battery life," he said in a recent phone interview. "Apple needs to continue to improve the competitive advantages it already has -- the way Apple has built its ecosystem is brilliant. They've locked so many users into their ecosystem -- I think that gives them an enormous advantage." Apple is Smith's largest holding in the fund.
There are tons of rumors about what the new iPhone will look like and what it will be called. Half of the fun of an Apple product launch is speculating what will go into the product as the rumor mill churns out report after report about the latest and greatest gadget from Cupertino, Calif. It's not clear, though, what Apple will even call its new iPhone. The gadget maker has typically numbered its latest offerings, but ditched this nomenclature for the new iPad. Nonetheless, here's a list of features that might be in the phone, which could be called the iPhone 5, and is expected to be released later this year. What It Will Look Like Apple's past two releases, the iPhone 4S and the new iPad, were more evolutionary than revolutionary. This could be Apple's big opportunity to push the envelope in terms of innovation. Apple has kept the iPhone's design fairly stable, with a 3.5-inch screen size, tweaking it slightly, as it refines the five-year old product. Many now believe the next iPhone will have a 4-inch screen, as it competes with offerings like the Samsung S III Galaxy and other 4-inch phones. The iPhone's screen size has not changed since inception, so this is a slight strategy change for Apple, perhaps a direct result of Tim Cook running the company now.
The next iPhone may also be slightly thinner than its predecessors, as Apple utilizes in-cell technology. This technology will allow Apple to integrate touch sensors into the LCD, eliminating one layer of the phone. It could also help cut costs and simplify Apple's supply chain even further, according to The Wall Street Journal. The casing of Apple's next smartphone could be aluminum, as Apple looks to abandon the glass backing of the current form-factor. There have been problems with the glass backing scratching, so Apple may look to alleviate that.