It's safe to say that the Apple iPhone 5 is the most hotly anticipated phone since the Apple iPhone 4. Over the past year, no other smartphone has generated this much buzz or fanciful speculation in the lead up to its announcement.
As per tradition, Apple is keeping tight-lipped about the iPhone 5, refusing to officially confirm the phone's existence (we don't even know if it will be called 'iPhone 5'). Naturally, this lack of hard evidence has only fanned the flames of rumour.
Some of the iPhone 5 rumours are larger than life.
Will it boast a completely new design, or stick to the same aesthetic? Is it going to be revolutionary or evolutionary? What kind of all-new features will it bring to the table? Will it be magic like the iPad?
In the following article, we take a look at some of the iPhone 5 rumours doing the rounds online. Naturally, until Apple makes an official announcement, we'd take most of these with a grain of salt. That said, if even half of these rumours are true, there's going to be a lot to get excited about.
Apple iPhone 5: when is it coming out?
Apple is expected to make a new product announcement at the company’s annual press event in September this year. However, it's not clear whether the announcement will centre on an all-new iPhone, an upgrade to the existing iPhone 4 or something else entirely.
According to some online reports, Apple will make a surprise announcement some time in August, with the phone tipped to hit stores at the end of the same month. Available in August? It sounds unlikely.
An iPhone 5 announcement is imminent, according to the rumour mill.
It's worth noting that all previous iPhones have been released in either June or July (with the exception of the white iPhone 4, which came out in April). It has been speculated that the the iPhone 5 was delayed by Apple to coincide with the release of the new iOS 5 operating system.
To recap, nobody knows for sure when the iPhone 5 will be hitting stores. We're confident that an announcement will be made in the next few months. Then again, with the current iPhone still selling like hot cakes, maybe Apple will hold off the release until June/July next year - stranger things have happened.
iPhone 5: what will it look like?
How similar will the next-generation iPhone look to the current iPhone 4? The rumour mill has been up and down on this issue. Some maintain it will look more or less the same, while others claim that Apple is cooking up something fresh and different.
Some of the fan-made iPhone 5 concept art is unlikely, to say the least. [Image Credit: Readers of the web site iLounge entered a competition submitting iPhone mockups. You can read more about this image and see other mockups at iLounge]
Back in April, Apple were reported to have sent iPhones equipped with upgraded A5 processors to selected software developers. Apart from the new chipset, the phones were reportedly very similar to the current iPhone 4. Could this be the new iPhone, or was it merely a stopgap prototype? Your guess is as good as ours.
If weblog BGR is to be believed, the new Apple iPhone will be a significant departure from the iPhone 4. According to a "reliable source" that spoke to BGR, the new phone will have a "radical new case design" that will set it apart from previous models.
Somewhat conveniently, no actual details were disclosed in the report: "we have not been given any additional details surrounding the design of the new iPhone case," BGR explains. For all we know, the inside source could just be talking about the colour scheme or something equally immaterial.
It has also been speculated that the iPhone 5 will come with a metal back, rather than the glass finish currently used on the iPhone 4. This would give it a similar aesthetic to the iPad 2. Other popular rumours include a larger 4-inch screen, a slide-out keyboard and a button-free interface similar to the Nokia N9 smartphone.
Could a metal iPhone be on the horizon?
[Image Credit: a metal iPhone 4 case sold at the site www.cnn.cn]
Our verdict? Apple would be mad to mess around the iPhone's design too much. It's one of the most recognisable, iconic and highly coveted smartphones on the market. Bar a shaved millimeter or two, you can expect the iPhone 5 to look much the same as the iPhone 4. Rather, it will be what's inside that makes it different.
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