iPhone 5 – The Next Generation
Written by: Sam Cheung
Can’t be bothered to sort through all the iPhone 5 rumors to find the truth? Want to know enough about the iPhone 5 so you know what you’re talking about the next time your friends bring it up over a pint? GizmoInsider has you covered. We’ve combed through the depths of the internet to bring together a collection of iPhone 5 rumors, myths, and possible specifications of the iPhone 5.
The iPhone is one of most recognized and well-loved smartphones of our time, and likely earns hundreds of millions for Apple Inc. each year. With 37 million iPhones sold in the past three months alone, the iPhone is one of those products that constantly generates buzz, whether it be for the latest entry in the hardware line, or simply a software upgrade.
Just a few months after each iPhone release, speculation begins buzzing regarding the next and newest model, with existing iPhone owners lamenting how quickly their favorite gadget becomes virtually obsolete. Those without iPhones are always eagerly awaiting the newest Apple offering, hoping to wait until the last moment to buy the latest and greatest from the Apple family.
Some industry watchers and consumers were disappointed when the iPhone 4S debuted this past October, as it had been expected that Apple would have announced the iPhone 5 instead. Now that the 4S has settled into most first-world markets, the world once again awaits the iPhone 5 with bated breath. Volleys of rumors regarding the iPhone 5 continue to be fired by innumerable sources, obscuring whatever scant information existed in the first place.
iPhone 5 Rumors
iPhone 5 Design (Screen Size Change)
Let’s start by looking at the iPhone 5 with the usual basic design. If every generation of the iPhone were laid side by side, the casual observer would notice little difference in dimensional changes. Each iPhone has been roughly 4.5 inches high and 2.5 inches wide. On careful examination, one might find that each generation of iPhone differs slightly from these general measurements, although only by a few millimeters. Unless Apple introduces a radical design change with the iPhone 5, we can expect it to remain roughly the same size as previous iPhone models.
Some rumors, however, are claiming that the iPhone 5 will have a bigger screen. Obviously, a bigger screen could point towards a slightly larger iPhone, and one that would compete with the likes of Samsung-Google’s highly touted Nexus S. An alleged Apple leak late last year hinted that the iPhone 5 would have a 4.2 inch touch screen. This rumor began circulating in August of 2011, and obviously came before the release of the iPhone 4S. Examination of the iPhone 5 rumors from 2011 indicate that many rumors circulating about the iPhone 5 were actually design details about the iPhone 4S. But the 4S didn’t have a 4.2 inch screen, which means they could have reserved it for this years’ refresh instead.
Apple filed a patent application that depicts a touch screen which would allow the traditional bezel space surrounding the screen to be filled completely. The removing of the “frame” and the implementation of additional touch screen space would add roughly 5 millimeters (measured on an iPhone 4) of interactive real estate for developers to play with. So will the iPhone 5 have a larger screen? Possibly. Nothing has been set in stone, and there are numerous reports floating around the web that contain contradictory information.
iPhone 5 Concept
Slimmer, Longer Body
Then, of course, we have the rumors regarding changes to the body around the screen. There are stacks of rumors claiming that the iPhone 5 will be redesigned, while other speculators claim that the iPhone 5 will simply be a slightly overhauled iPhone 4S stuffed with new, improved, faster guts.
One of the sturdiest signs pointing towards the iPhone 5 being a complete redesign are the aftermarket cases that have been promoted ahead of the actual phone launch. Accessories manufacturer “Case-Mate” briefly released a gallery of images promoting a new line of cases for the iPhone 4S…and the iPhone 5? The gallery was taken down shortly afterwards, but has been reproduced widely across the tech-loving web. The most significant development? It appeared that the alleged iPhone 5 had some sort of metal backplate. It is not known if the phone appearing in the gallery was a prototype of the iPhone 5, or simply a place holder.
Other aftermarket case producers in Asia have released a plethora of iPhone cases that seem to be slightly thinner and wider than existing iPhone models. The mute switch on the cases have been reportedly moved to the opposite side of the phone, and it is alleged that the edges of the case are rounded, similar to the corners of fourth generation iPod Touches. Industry insiders are speculating that many of these aftermarket manufacturers have already received specifications and basic building molds of the production iPhone 5, so that a variety of aftermarket accessories will be available at launch. Of course, it could just be that Apple has a new iPod Touch coming down the pipe soon, with a button where the reported “mute” button is. Are aftermarket accessories makers groping around in the dark, hoping to get ahead of the competition? Or do they really have their hands on the general specifications of the iPhone 5 prior to its release?
The iPhone 4S featured a stainless steel antenna for reception. Dual antennas alternated between sending and receiving signals, depending on each individual antenna’s performance. The iPhone 4S shifted the external positioning of the antenna from the iPhone 4, which is most evident when the 4 and 4S are examined side by side. The antennas are located in the steel frame that wraps around the phone. Unless there’s something fundamentally wrong with the design of the iPhone 4S antennas, it is probably safe to say that they will make a return on the iPhone 5, unless Apple introduces a brand new design for increased reception of course.
Larger Home Button / Square Home Button
A rumor circulating from “spyshots” and aftermarket case manufacturers seem to indicate that the next generation of iPhone will feature a square home button, rather than the rounded button that has become a recognizable symbol of the phone. As the only “pressable” button on the front face of the phone, the shift from a rounded shape to a square would certainly count as a major cosmetic revision. But wait, isn’t the iPhone home button a circle with a rounded square in it? What happens when the button is changed to a square? Will the inner symbol shift to to a circle? Or will the inner square remain? Some reports even suggest that Apple is considering removing the home button entirely!
A Curved Display
Taiwan-based DigiTimes reported that Apple has purchased over 200 glass cutting machines. These machines are incredibly expensive, and not something an Apple design team would buy 200 units of just to experiment with. This has led to rumors that the iPhone 5 will have a curved display, similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Of course, the machines could simply be used for iPods, but if the iPhone 5 is to be a significant step forward, a curved display coupled with the removal of the frame around the screen (edge to edge) could mean a significantly enhanced viewing experience. We hope Apple also strikes up a deal with Corning to provide the display in Gorilla Glass too.
iPhone 5 Specs
iPhone 5 Camera
Images claiming to have been leaked from the iPhone 5 production line show a tiny gizmo which is alleged to be the iPhone 5’s camera. When compared to the iPhone 4S’ camera, it appears that the two are similar. The iPhone 5’s camera seems to be marginally larger, and current rumors suggest that the camera will offer 8 megapixels. Allegedly, the camera supplier will be Sony, but obviously, nothing is confirmed just yet. There also seems to be no reason why the iPhone 5 won’t receive a camera upgrade of some sort. Interestingly, the camera upgrade would likely mean that the iPhone 5 could compete with cheap point-and-shoot cameras.
Like all other rumors associated with the iPhone 5, there is serious contention as to what the LED flash system will be like. The camera system described above does not feature a front-mounted integrated LED flash. This could mean that the flash is completely missing, or for some reason, detached from the camera. Of course, the cameras leaked photos could be a hoax. LED manufacturers in Taiwan have been singled out by analysts as potentially being the suppliers for the iPhone 5 LED flashes. All of the manufacturers have denied that they are beginning production of dual flashes. Rumors continue to fly that the iPhone 5 will have double LED flashes which means the companies could be safeguarding themselves against a lawsuit. For now, it seems that the physical evidence points towards a single flash system.
iPhone 5 Processor
The iPhone 4S and iPad are powered by Apple’s A5 chip. The chip began production in early 2011. Before the release of the iPhone 4S, there was much speculation that the A5 would power the iPhone 5. Now that the 4S has been released, it’s unclear as to what the iPhone 5 could be powered by. Apple’s A4 chip lasted only a year, before being replaced by the A5. Come March, it could be that Apple will roll out the A6 Processor to replace the seemingly outdated A5 processor. It is very likely that we could see the iPhone 5 being the first Apple device to feature the A6 Processor which is rumored to be increasing to 4 cores (quad-core) rather than the dual-core A5.
Storage Size and Cloud Storage
Rumor has it that the iPhone 5 has already entered Apple’s digital inventory. The alleged iPhone 5 is to come in three different storage sizes: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. This massive storage capacity increase will benefit users who heavily enjoy the multimedia functions of the iPhone, as videos tend to eat up a lot of the storage space. As this rumor circulated in early September, shortly before the release of the iPhone 4S, it seems likely that the rumors referred to the 4S rather than the iPhone 5. But if iPhone 4S could come in a 64GB model, what’s to say that the iPhone 5 won’t? In fact, there is even speculation that the iPhone 5 might be the first in the iPhone family to feature cloud storage only. Apple’s iCloud is certainly a step in the right direction, but a cloud-only iPhone presents a number of technical challenges. Can Apple overcome the technical hurdles of a cloud-data-only phone? Is it possible? It might be. Will Apple do it? Only if they’re feeling particularly ambitious and fully confident in the technologies offering.
The iPhone 4S currently has an internal memory size of 512 MBs. If the 4S were a personal computer, it would be considered agonizingly slow. As it is, the iPhone seems to perform well under normal-use conditions, and it doesn’t struggle with most of the apps available on the iTunes store. Obviously, more random-access memory couldn’t hurt, and the next predicted speed boost will come in the form of at least a gigabyte of RAM. Between the iPhone 3 and the iPhone 3GS, the RAM was increased from 128 MBs to 256 MBs. The iPhone 4 brought twice the power with 512MBs of RAM. The next logical step would be for Apple to upgrade the iPhone 5 with a full gigabyte (1GB) of RAM to remain competitive. A more ambitious dreamer would likely hope for 1.5 gigs, or even 2 gigs of RAM which would put the iPhone 5 well ahead of the competition. A cynic would be inclined to think that the iPhone 5 will only receive one gig of RAM, in order to allow Apple to continue milking the market with minor revisions every few years. Each model could have marginal RAM upgrades in order to keep repeat- buyers impressed. Is this just smart marketing, or is Apple just rolling out advances in technology whenever it actually can?
iPhone 5 Release Date
Most rumors, analysts and industry insiders agree that the iPhone 5 release date will be sometime in late 2012. What no one can seem to agree on is what month it will be released. Industry analysts have pegged September, October, and November as possible release dates for the iPhone 5. Almost everyone seems to agree that the iPhone 5 will hit shelves ahead of December, to take advantage of the holiday shopping frenzy each year.
iPhone 5 Refresh…Finally
Many people were disappointed last year when the iPhone 4S debuted instead of the iPhone 5. Many of the rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 turned out to be attributed to the iPhone 4S. Although generally well received, there will always be those who blast the iPhone 4S simply for not being a 5. The iPhone 5 is expected to be a huge step forward, technologically speaking. There are rumors circulating that the iPhone 4S will continue to exist alongside the iPhone 5 as an entry model. The 4S is likely to become a cheaper substitute for those unwilling to cough up the upwards of $700 for the iPhone 5 (assuming you don’t purchase the phone through a wireless carrier via an upgrade, of course). It is speculated that the iPhone 4S will be rolled out in cheaper variations, in order to appeal to cell phone owners in developing markets. The iPhone 5, however, will overtake most of the supply chain production, and still make up a large bulk of Apple’s sales. The developing market idea sounds perfectly reasonable, but will Apple truly be able to lower the price of the iPhone 4S enough to break into the developing world? What will the iPhone 4S’s coexistence signal for the price of the iPhone 5?
Apple is posting record sales numbers , despite the death of icon Steve Jobs, the most well-known name behind the brand. Jobs is frequently hailed as a visionary at Apple, although others blasted him for his fearsome reputation among employees. How Jobs performed as a boss, we may never truly know, but many fear that Apple may run aground without him. Apple is obviously still riding the wave of success with the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, but the iPhone 5 will be released completely without Jobs. The future of Apple will be determined by the next few product launches, and the iPhone 5 is expected to be one of the biggest. Has Steve Jobs left a structured ecosystem good enough to continue cranking out industry-defining products? Apple fans are on the edge of their seats and the iPhone 5 will be a true sign of what’s to come in Jobs’ absence.
There are many rumors circulating around the internet regarding the iPhone 5. The amount of misinformation is enormous, to say the least. Finding information regarding the iPhone 5 is particularly difficult, since many of the rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 from the previous year were attributed to the iPhone 4S. GizmoInsider wen through great lengths to track down, collect, and analyze the most pertinent information available and we hope that this article brought you up-to-date with the latest iPhone 5 news out there.
Share your thoughts and iPhone 5 Wish Lists in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to ‘like us’ on Facebook, and ‘follow us’ on Twitter for more updates as the iPhone 5 release date approaches.