Rumors on new computer hardware and gaming consoles is a dime a dozen, and like every rumor should be taken with a fistful of salt. Still, it is interesting to see just what the rumors are saying and to have a point of reference once actual specifications are revealed to see just how off (or on) the mark anonymous tipsters were. Sony has long said there is a ten year life cycle for the PlayStation 3, and considering it did not launch until 2006, we are right about halfway into its life. That has not stopped rumors and rumblings on the PlayStation 4 from cropping up, like today. Anonymous (yet "reliable") sources have told Kotaku the PlayStation 4 is in development and is codenamed "Orbis." The PS4 is set to launch during the 2013 holiday season, which fits in line with the PS3 launch season, but again goes against Sony's stance on a ten year PlayStation 3 life cycle.
If you are wondering what will be powering the PS4, or Orbis as Kotaku thinks it will be called, the sources peg it as running an AMD x64 CPU and a Southern Islands GPU. Those two chips working in combination will help the PS4/Orbis run games at up to 4096x2160 resolution and handle 3D gaming at a steady 1080p. The PS3 can only muster 3D gaming at 720p, so already that would be an improvement. The 4K resolution could also be beneficial since Sony, like other TV manufacturers, are slowly moving over to 4K TV sets, and it would be impressive to see a PS4/Orbis game running at that resolution. Developers have reportedly been receiving dev kits of the PS4 already, which would mean a good supply of launch titles if the 2013 release turns out to be true.
A disappointing part of the PS4/Orbis rumor is that all games will be tied to your PSN account. Games will be available digitally or on Blu-ray disc, but the disc versions will be tied to your PSN account, which means no more used games. From the sound of it, you can trade-in the Blu-ray disc, but anyone purchasing it afterwards will have severely limited functionality until they pay the full price. If you recall, the Next Xbox is also rumored to do something similar, but we will just have to see how that all pans out. The PS4 will also require an active Internet connection at all times, and supposedly will not even turn on if no Internet connection is detected. Backwards compatibility is also on the chopping block, so you better hang on to your PS3s if you want to relive "older" games.
Remember, everything here is just a rumor. Whether or not any of it comes true will have to wait, but companies do not typically comment on rumor. We could see something at E3 or one of the later conventions this year (or next), but I would not put any money down on that chance.