All Hail iPhone 5

The iPad 2 was cool, but many in Silicon Valley are already calling it iPad 1.5, since it really didn’t represent any fundamental advances in technology. The iPhone 5 is a different matter

The iPad 2 was cool, but many in Silicon Valley are already calling it iPad 1.5, since it really didn’t represent any fundamental advances in technology.

The iPhone 5 is a different matter.

If Apple follows its pattern, we can expect a new iteration of its best-selling phone in June.

And while no one knows for sure what’s brewing at Infinite Loop Dr., there are some educated guesses. And you can be sure that what pops up on the iPhone will pop up shortly thereafter on the next iPad.

Hollywood, pay attention: There’s plenty here that will affect your lives.

Start with Cloud iTunes. Last year, Apple bought streaming music concern lala.com only to shut it down. Now, unless you believe Apple buys companies for fun, you’ve got to bet that it’s considering: A) a subscription service; B) an ad-supported streaming service; C) an online locker to play your songs from any device; and D) all of the above.  

Then there’s mobile payments. According to ReadWriteWeb, Apple has filed patents for a mobile payments service as well as terms like iPay, iBuy and iCoupons, leading RWW to speculate that the iPhone 5 will ship with a chip enabling users to use their cell phones as digital cash.

The idea is hardly new; I used a Groupon coupon on my mobile phone last week for a $10 lunch for two at Dinah’s. But Apple has a way of taking niche ideas and expanding them to the masses.

Imagine millions of iPhone coupons for movies, music, trips to Disneyland – anything Hollywood produces. Then imagine customers clicking their phones at point of sale to buy, ignoring their credit cards entirely.

That’s already happening in Japan, Korea and parts of Europe.

Finally, there’s the Digital Butler, an idea Apple’s had at least since 1987, when it debuted its “Knowledge Navigator” concept video, which featured a future device that would take spoken orders from its owner.

Last Spring, Apple purchased a spinoff from SRI called Siri, which makes a personal assistant application that responds to verbal commands.

That may not seem to have much to do with Hollywood. Until you reflect on commands like “Tell me what movies are playing Saturday night at ArcLight Hollywood around 7 pm” or “Download all Michael Jackson songs between 1980 and 1985.”

Incidentally, I just flipped to ArcLight and noticed they just launched an iPhone ticketing application. Why wait for iPhone 5?

The idea is hardly new — Google and other mobile players have their own mobile wallet initiatives — but, as always, Apple’s moves carry particular clout. This has big implications.