It seems that new iPhone 5 rumors pop up every day, focused on everything from screen size to the quality of the camera. However, one thing everyone is nearly certain about is the iPhone 5 will be a 4G phone.
4G is the term commonly used for the fourth version of mobile internet access, tapping into speeds up to ten times faster than 3G coverage. This technology is already available on many Android powered phones. As of September 2011, more than one in three Android phones in the Unites States were 4G enabled. While the current iPhone 4S is not 4G enabeled, Apple may not be far behind. In fact, cnet.com uncovered code on an iPhone running iOS 5.1 that shows Apple is already working on 4G capabilities for the iPhone.
4G technology can support a much more robust mobile experience. So why haven’t more financial services firms taken advantage of the faster speeds provided by carriers’ 4G networks? The simple answer is that, with the iPhone still tethered to a slower wireless network, developers are hesitant to design features beyond the capabilities of the most popular smartphone. Once the iPhone 5 is released, financial services firms can move forward with more advanced mobile tools and features. Changes users may see include:
- More Videos: Some brokerage and mutual fund firms already offer multimedia via mobile, often in the context of investment commentary. With faster download speeds, video integration could expand to more firms across the financial services.
- Deeper Information: When looking through an account history, the search and filter options provided (if any) are often less detailed than those found on the firm’s private site. A faster connection to the web would mean quicker responses from the firms database, enabling a higher degree of customization when looking at account transactions.
- Interactive Graphs: Some firms are already using graphs in their apps to present account information in a concise, intuitive display. However, with less load time, graphs could become more interactive. For example, a 4G enabled iPhone would provide you the ability to drill down into an industry performance graph to discover stocks you own and how they are performing.
While developing a more powerful mobile experience will be a challenge, a 4G network on the iPhone would only provide financial services with a chance to improve the services they provide their clients. As mobile technology improves, even today’s leading firms in mobile finance will have to continue to develop and innovate.