iPhone 5: What we think we know

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The next iPhone may follow in the iPad's footsteps and become known as simply "the new iPhone"

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As the fifth anniversary of the original iPhone's launch approaches later this month, the Apple rumor mill has been particularly active and everything from a larger screen, radical case design and all-new dock connector have been cited as forthcoming alterations to Apple’s flagship mobile device. While nobody outside Apple’s inner circle can be sure exactly what the famously tight-lipped company has planned for the iPhone, a skeptical reading of rumors makes it possible to build up a picture of what we know, or rather what we think we know, so far.

Hardware specifications

The reports coming out of Apple rumor website 9to5Mac appears to cement the notion of a modest CPU upgrade, with the website reporting that they have access to a prototype iPhone 5 running an early beta of iOS 6. It reports that the iPhone 5 will come with a Samsung 5L8950X ARM processor, representing, it asserts, an iterative improvement over the S5L8940X of the 4S and the S5L8945X of the new iPad.

The same report asserts that the next iPhone will ship with 1 GB RAM, in line with the the new iPad: feasible given Apple's propensity for sharing hardware between iOS devices.

Screen size

Ever since the original iPhone was released back in 2007, there have been whispers of a larger screen due sometime soon. It has long been thought that Apple has experimented with screen sizes and found the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen to be the optimal size for one-handed use.

As we reported last month, the rumors have increased significantly in authority and volume, with many sources confidently stating that the next iteration of iPhone will ship with a new screen size. Among them The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which reports that iPhone 5 will have a screen at least 4 inches in size.

WSJ is not alone in its opinion that the iPhone shall soon receive a larger screen and sources as varied as Reuters and 9to5Mac also concur.

Body design

Several images of possible iPhone body designs have been reported on various websites including 9to5Mac which received a supposed prototype part from a Chinese iPhone parts supplier named iFixyouri. It suggests a taller iPhone (in both black and white models) with metal sides and back much like the iPhone 4 and 4S. Its images also indicate the smaller dock connector, redesigned speaker grills and a second aperture next to the rear camera lens which 9to5Mac guesses is a relocated secondary microphone for video capture.

Crucially this sketchy sounding intelligence is also backed up by fellow Apple rumor website MacRumors which received an iPhone design from another parts supplier named uBreakiFix. Both sources seem to have a matching body design. The fact that there are apparently independent sources coming up with the same iPhone 5 design is, at the very least, suggestive.

Release date

Historically, Apple used to announce the latest iPhone at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference with a release following within weeks. This year the event will kick off in San Francisco on June 11. However, the iPhone 4S broke with this tradition last year and wasn't released until October 14. The general consensus seems to be that Apple will stick to the new schedule, and the WSJ reports a release around October, give or take a month.

As always, such rumors should be taken with a healthy dose of salt. And as always, we're interested to hear your thoughts on what form the iPhone 5 might eventually take.

Sources: 9to5Mac: May 22, 29 and 31; Wall Street Journal; Reuters; and MacRumors

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