iPhone 5 rumor roundup: Everything we know, or don’t know, so far

The iPhone 5 is coming. Maybe it’ll land in September, maybe October, maybe some time after that, but sooner or later Apple is going to release a sequel to the wildly successful iPhone 4. That successor might have a larger screen, NFC, a slimmer design, or any number of other features… if the rumors are to be believed. Before every launch we hear all sorts of rumors/leaks and some of them inevitably end up being true, so while we take everything we hear with a healthy dose of skepticism, it’s still worthing pay attention.
With that in mind, and anticipation of the iPhone 5 building, let’s review the rumors we’ve heard over the past months.
New Design vs. Old design
Though most tech pundits believe the iPhone 5 will feature an updated design, there are still some who believe the phone will keep the same body as the iPhone 4. Prior to each iPhone launch, we’ve seen a slew of third-party case leaks showing the new, revolutionary design. Either Apple has done an exceptional job at making sure the third-party case manufacturers don’t spill the beans, or the phone will actually keep the same design as the current model.
New Design: Tapered, bezel-free, metal back, and/or curved back
Suppose the iPhone 5 does have a new design–what will it feature? Some reports say that the iPhone will revert back to the a design similar to that of the iPhone 3G with a curved, ergonomic back that would eliminate the Death Grip that plagued the iPhone 4.
Other rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 will feature a tapered design, where the bottom would be thinner than the top part of the phone, angling the device when sits on a flat surface. This would be good for watching video, cut down on size, and give it an ID that matches the acclaimed MacBook Air.
The phone may have a metallic back, and not a black or white glass one like the iPhone 4. That noted, we ‘ve read rumors that Apple had also bought 300 glass cutting machines which suggests a curved glass panel for the iPhone 5.

Screen
An update that’s been talked about since early in the rumor spree is a larger screen. The current 3.5-inch screen is said to grow to 4 inches and also become edge-to-edge, eliminating the bezel. Some say the Retina Display’s resolution will stay the same and some say the resolution will be increased, but you can bet the iPhone will retain its high dpi count. It’ll be interesting to see if a larger display can maintain the same dpi levels though.
If an edge-to-edge display happens, it’s rumored that the Home button will be removed. And while that’s seems unlikely, there’s still a chance that we could see the physical Home button disappear.
The Components
The iPhone 5 is rumored to be getting a dual-LED flash and could accompany the also-rumored 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The iPhone 4 took a big step forward with its cameras and it’s possible Apple saw the significance and is following up on those changes.
Talk about the A5 chip going from the iPad 2 to the iPhone is old news–it’s one of the rumors that is most likely to be true. Still, it is a rumor, so we won’t accept it was fact until the iPhone 5 ships with that sweet dual-core SoC.
Sprint and T-Mobile?
Although we have yet to hear any talk about a T-Mobile iPhone, Sprint seems to be in the running as the next carrier after AT&T and Verizon to get an iPhone. It may not be the iPhone 5 though. Reports of an iPhone 4 being tested on Sprint were circling around in June which means maybe Sprint could be getting an iPhone… maybe the “S” in the rumored iPhone 4S stands for Sprint!
One Phone to Rule All
When Apple first released the Verizon version of the iPhone, it launched on the Verizon CDMA network as AT&T’s version works on a GSM network. Verizon’s Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo said at the Reuters Tech Summit that when Apple does release the iPhone 5, there will only be one version. Shammo said Apple will be producing one world phone that will function on both networks.
NFC, 4G, and Bluetooth 4.0
The debate about whether Apple will include NFC technology is an ongoing one. So far, it’s not looking likely, as Apple may need more time to perfect the technology before releasing it in an Apple product. However, according to one Apple employee, the phone will have NFC.
As we mentioned back in April, Apple’s Tim Cook also made it clear that the iPhone 5 won’t be 4Gsince the LTE chipsets require a number of design compromises which Apple is apparently not willing to make since it would affect the guts of the iPhone too much.
As for Bluetooth 4.0, the iPhone 5 may be using that to completely bypass the need for an NFC chip. Bluetooth 4.0 would split Bluetooth communication in two Bluetooth high-speed and Bluetooth low energy. The high-speed version relies on Wi-Fi for its high data transfer rate, but more power. Apple obviously has an interest in using Bluetooth technology, which is an established and cheap secure communication solution that’s already installed in a lot of other devices.
iPhone 4S
It’s been rumored that Apple may be waiting a bit longer to release the iPhone 5 and in the meantime will release an iPhone 4S in September. It will have the same body as the iPhone 4, but with a few upgrades, such as an A5 processor and better cameras. But don’t get too upset… There’s also talk that the iPhone 4S would be released in additon to the iPhone 5 and will be marketed as the budget iPhone.
Release Date
If they were to put money on it, most people would say the iPhone release date will be sometime in September 2011. However, if you asked us to pick a day, most would be shooting blind. The crew over at CNET UK apparently spent 16 hours crunching numbers in order to determine what they think the exact date will be, and they think it will be September 7. Apple has generally chosen Wednesdays to make its product announcements and the 7th is indeed a Wednesday.
We’ve heard rumors that the phone could be announced in August. Reports sprung up back in July that Apple was looking to hire iPhone Sales Specialists for an “exciting project” to start August 16 and work through October 29. Knowing that Apple’s retail training is a five-day process, this gave some people cause to believe that the iPhones may be released on August 22. However, August 22 is not that far from September, so it’s possible that Apple was just looking for some time to get the new employees up to “Genius” status before launching in September. Some outlets have reported an October release date as well, which is looking more likely than August at this point.
So, those are the rumors so far. Have you heard of any others?


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