Rumor: iPhone 4G gets OLED, removable battery, video chat

Korea Times says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones

Those check boxes on your iPhone wish list? The latest rumor says a few of them are covered in the next-generation iPhone.

Korea Times quotes unnamed, high-ranking executives at KT, Apple's exclusive local partner in South Korea, as saying the iPhone 4G will have an OLED screen, support video chat and -- perhaps most surprisingly -- have a removable battery. It'll also reportedly have a dual-core processor, more powerful graphics and an improved camera. The officials say that KT's corporate clients will get the new phones in April as a "litmus test" before they're provided to local distributors in June.

U.S. availability isn't specified in the report, but an upgraded iPhone in June wouldn't be surprising, as that falls in line with Apple's previous annual updates to the popular smartphone, 2008's iPhone 3G and 2009's iPhone 3GS. But let's take a closer look at some of those supposed new features:

An OLED screen seems likely. It was rumored for the iPhone 3GS and didn't happen, but with Google's Nexus One sporting an OLED screen, Apple may have more incentive to upgrade.

I'm somewhat skeptical about the removable battery because, if anything, Apple was moving away from that trend with its unibody MacBook, the latest in its laptop line to adopt a built-in battery. And I doubt Apple would want to mess with the iPhone's sleek and solid design. However, last February, The Register dug up a few battery-related Apple patents, one of which describes a method for removing batteries from mobile devices and charging them in a host computer, so Apple might have a trick up its sleeve.

As for video chat, I don't doubt that Apple could make it available in the next iPhone. But if that happens, U.S. users could have a déjà vu of the iPhone's tethering debacle, where the feature was offered outside of the United States, but not by AT&T due to bandwidth concerns. Still, this feature would also require a front-facing camera, which could be valuable even without video conferencing.

Korea Times says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones, but I don't think these three rumored features will be enough, given that the Nexus One has an OLED screen and removable battery. They're nice features to have, but there's got to be more in store.

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Jared Newman

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