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iPhone 5 rumours: what you need to know

New iPhone 5 release date, specs, features and more

       iPhone 5 release date
This year's WWDC was about software, not hardware, with Apple focussing on iOS and Mac OS

A new report from China later stated that Q3 (which still includes July) is now the earliest we will see the iPhone 5, after the disaster in Japan pushed back supply of key components.

On 20 April 2011, it emerged that the iPhone 5 release date may be September 2011 rather than June/July. This date was cited by three sources who spoke to Reuters. As iOS 5 is set to be out in the Autumn, it's a safe bet that the iPhone 5 will make its debut sometime then.

On 17 May, we reported that Phones4U outed the iPhone 5 release date as 21 November 2011. We're not sure how Phones4U would know the release date at this stage, though, so take this particular snippet of information with a pinch of salt.

Rumours which surfaced on 21 June suggest that the iPhone 5 is set for anAugust 2011 release. Speaking to BGR, a source claimed that thew iPhone would feature a "radical new case design" and a release date of the last week of the month.

On 6 May it was reported that Apple manufacturer Pegatron has reportedly been given a massive order by Jobs and co to produce 15 million handsets ready for the phone's autumn launch.

The iPhone 5 will debut alongside iOS 5 in the Autumn

iOS 5 will ship in the Autumn, says Apple. Could this coincide with the iPhone 5?

On 1 July, Digitimes reported that Taiwanese-based component suppliers were gearing up for production of iPad 3 and iPhone - adding weight to the theory that they will appear in September.

iPhone 5 will be iCloud-based

Apple says it is "cutting the cable" with iOS 5 - just as well, as it claimed the iPad 2 was the first post-PC device earlier in the year. OS updates can be delivered over the air - you'll just received what's changed rather than the usual 600MB download - and devices can be activated without plugging them into iTunes.

You can also now create and delete iOS calendars and mailboxes too, so you really can devolve your device from your PC or Mac.

"You can activate on the device and you're ready to go," explained Apple's Scott Forstall.

"Software updates are now over the air. So you no longer need to plug in to update your software. And they're now Delta updates. Instead of downloading the whole OS, you only download what's changed," he continued.

iPhone 5 form factor

The Wall Street Journal reported that: "Apple is also developing a new iPhone model, said people briefed on the phone. One person familiar said the fifth-generation iPhone would be a different form factor than those that are currently available… it was unclear how soon that version would be available to Verizon or other carriers."

This has since been backed up by reports from Engadget, which state the design will be a 'total rethink'.

Of course, since the iPhone 3G was followed by the 3GS it's possible the new iPhone won't be a total refresh and we'll see an iPhone 4S (or iPhone 4GS) before an iPhone 5.

An iPhone 4S looked more likely on 16 May 2011 after analyst Peter Misek wrote: "According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support."

However, earlier reports from China backed up the larger-screened, metal chassis-sporting iPhone 5 rumours, so the redesign still seems firmly on the cards.

On 22 March 2011, China Times also reported that the iPhone 5 will feature a 4-inch display.

A rumour we covered on 7 March 2011 suggests that the new iPhone will do away with the glass back and opt instead for a metal back which will act as a new iPhone antenna.

And an Apple patent that we reported on on 7 April 2011 suggests that we could see the bezel put to good use on the new iPhone. The patent describes how visual indicators and touch-sensitive buttons could be incorporated to the space around the iPhone screen.

Rumours that we covered on 3 May 2011, suggest that there may even be two versions of the new iPhone: a 'standard' iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5 'pro'. Apparently, Apple is buying in components of differing quality, and those parts wouldn't be required for a single phone.

A cheaper, smaller iPhone 5 - an iPhone nano

A prototype version of a smaller iPhone is said to exist, built to ward off competition from cheap Android handsets.

Rumours around an iPhone nano picked up again on 13 February when the Wall Street Journal claimed that the so-called 'iPhone nano' exists and may even be on sale later this year.

Those iPhone nano rumours may hold little truth, though. As we reported on 18 February, the New York Times cites an anonymous source who says there will be no smaller iPhone from Apple. "The size of the device would not vary," says the source.

A white iPhone 5

The Economic Daily News is reporting that white iPhone 5 glass is being shipped, with a supplier called Wintek being the sole touch panel vendor for the white iPhone.

iPhone 5 will support 1080p HD

It's fairly likely - given that the iPad 2 supports Full HD - that the new iPhone will do the same.

iPhone 5 specs

According to the Chinese Economic Daily News (via AppleInsider), with the exception of Qualcomm chipsets - which would replace the current Infineon chipsets in the iPhone 4 - Apple's sticking with the same suppliers for the 2011 iPhone 5G components.

We'd expect the basics of the iPhone 5 specs to get a bump - more memory, faster processor, and more storage. The A5 dual-core ARM processor from the iPad 2 is extremely likely to be included.

The specs? A new antenna, 1.2GHz processor (possibly dual-core) and a larger screen: 3.7" instead of 3.5". The iPhone 5 may also be made from a new kind of alloy, or maybe meat.

iPhone 5 screen

In other rumours which surfaced on 15 February 2011, Digitimes is reportingon information supposedly leaked from component suppliers that claim the iPhone 5 will feature a larger, 4-inch screen. Digitimes quotes the source as saying that Apple is expanding the screen size "to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market."

On 23 May, we reported on rumours that the iPhone 5 could feature a curved glass screen. These rumours also came from Digitimes, which said that Apple has purchased between 200 and 300 special glass cutting machines because they're too costly for the manufacturers to invest in.

The iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S will also get a massive graphical boost as it moves to a dual-core GPU - this could herald true 1080p output from the new device, according to our news story on 18 January.

iPhone 5 digital wallet

There's been some speculation that Apple might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5G, turning it into a kind of credit/debit card. However, as notes, "Apple has looked into NFC before" so this might not be imminent.

However, with the tech being inside the Google Nexus S, the time for NFC may finally be here.

UPDATE: On 24 February 2011, we reported that an Apple patent has revealed an e-wallet icon on the iPhone homescreen. This adds credence to the rumour that iPhone 5 will feature NFC.

However, on 14 March 2011, reports in The Independent cited sources from 'several of the largest mobile operators in the UK', who said that Apple told them not to expect NFC in the iPhone 5. So perhaps we'll have to wait for iPhone 6 for that.

But who to believe? On 22 March 2011 China Times reported that the new iPhone will include an NFC chip.

On 24 June it was reported that the Google Wallet mobile payment platform could feature on the new iPhone. Eric Schmidt admitted that Google is looking to port the software to other manufacturers.

LTE support

At least one analyst thinks the iPhone 5 will support LTE, super-fast mobile broadband, in the US. That would make the iPhone 5G a 4G phone, which won't be confusing at all. LTE is certainly coming - AT&T plans to roll out its LTE service in 2011 - but an LTE iPhone has been rumoured for a while. USA Today floated the idea of an LTE iPhone on Verizon last year.

iPhone 5 camera
Speaking at a live Wall Street Journal event, Sony's Sir Howard Stringer was talking about the company's camera image sensor facility in Sendai, a town that was recently ravaged by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

According to 9  to5 Mac, he said something along the lines of, "Our best sensor technology is built in one of the [tsunami] affected factories. Those go to Apple for their iPhones… or iPads. Isn't that something? They buy our best sensors from us."

Other sources have also said that the new iPhone could have an 8MP camera.

iPhone 5 price
If the iPhone 5 is an evolutionary step like the move from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS then we'd expect the price to stay more or less the same, although in the UK higher VAT rates may well mean a higher price tag.

iPhone 5 pictures

A spurious photo of an iPhone 5 front case has been unearthed by a Chinese reseller, suggesting that the next Apple handset will feature an edge-to-edge display. We're not convinced it's a genuine Apple part, though.

On 17 March 2011, we reported on another supposed set of leaked iPhone 5 cases, this time looking remarkably similarly to iPhone 4 cases.

Whatever the iPhone 5 looks like, it appears Samsung wants to see it.

Apple has accused Samsung of trying to harass it, as the Korean company demands to see top secret future iPhone and iPad devices including the new iPhone and iPad 3.
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