Although widely expected, there was no iPhone 5 in 2011 after all, though the company did announce the iPhone 4S.
So we’ll surely see a total revision of the iPhone during 2012. We’ve gathered together all the latest rumours on the new iPhone 5 to give us a reasonable picture of what Apple’s latest handset might be like.
You’ll find all the rumours below, but why not check out our new iPhone 5 rumours video first?
iPhone 5 release date
Stay up to date on iPhone 5 with our in-depth coverage
Given the pattern of Apple’s iPhone launches, we’re expecting the new iPhone 5 release date to be mid to late 2012.
At Apple’s WWDC 2012 event in early June we learnt a lot more about iOS 6, but there was no hardware (well, apart from new Macs). Check out the launch news as well as iOS 6: everything you need to know.
We reported in February that the new iPhone would be launched in October, falling into line with the same release schedule from last year – something backed up by the Verizon CFO.
According to analyst Shaw Wu, the Cupertino firm has reduced the number of iPhone orders by 20%-25% for this quarter ahead of the release.
It seems that Foxconn will again be manufacturing the handset. It’ll put the Samsung Galaxy S3 “to shame” according to the CEO of Foxconn, Terry Gou – though he didn’t say how.
However, a “Taiwan-based supply chain source” told DigiTimes in early May that Chinese firm Pegatron Technology has the iPhone 5 order ahead of a scheduled September launch.
According to the report Pegatron has also received orders for a 10-inch iPad, which is due to launch at the end of this year – which sounds equally spurious.
This does fit in with a mooted August 7 launch date for the iPhone 5, as is currently being quoted by Know Your Mobile through an ‘industry source’, but we’ll wait to see if that actually comes to pass – and it now seems impossible given that actual manufacturing has yet to begin.
And that seems to be ‘backed up’ by a report from App4phone.fr that the release date of the iPhone 5 will be September 21… although let’s be honest, a Chinese accessory maker with no name to the source being quoted by a previously unknown site when it comes to Apple launches isn’t the most reliable of sources.
Update: The latest rumour in the huge mill of new iPhone 5 release dates comes from another unknown source (*sigh*) – which claims we’ll see Appletake to the stage on September 12 to show off the next handset, alongside the iPad Mini.
Update:Further suggestions that September 12 will be the iPhone 5 launch date have been made, this time via sources for Reuters and AllThingsD.
Update: Networks could be preparing themselves for the arrival of the iPhone 5, as the 32GB model cropped up in a drop down menu in O2′s online accessory store – although the network was quick to stay it had nothing to do with the next iPhone and was purely “human error”, hmmm…
iPhone 5 name
We reckon iPhone 5 is still the favourite for the name of the new iPhone, but it could follow the new iPad and end up being called, simply, the new iPhone. We really hope not. One thing is for sure, Apple has already filed a complaint over the ownership of the iPhone5.com URL.
Update: Apparently Apple is testing two versions of the next iPhone, which are known as “iPhone5,1″ and “iPhone5,2″ – so could handset number six for Apple actually be called number five?
iPhone 5 form factor
Unlike the iPhone 4S, the new iPhone will be a completely new design from what has gone before, so that means an entirely new casing as we saw with the iPhone 3G and, later, the iPhone 4.
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Interestingly, someone who claimed to have seen a larger iPhone 5 prototype said in November 2011 that Steve Jobs canned the new size and opted for the iPhone 4S.According to Business Insider, it was feared that a new size would create a two-tier iPhone ecosystem.
Beatweek also claimed in November 2011 that the 5-inch was scrapped “because Apple wouldn’t be able to do it properly” this year. However, the Daily Mail (make of that what you will) then suggested that a four-inch version was likely and that Sony has already shipped top secret demo screens to Apple.
A new iPhone 5 backplate leaked in early May – they were acquired by 9to5 Mac, but look like the combination of a lot of the other rumours we’ve heard about the shape and size of the new handset. These feature bigger speaker grills as well as a four inch screen and a two-tone back with brushed aluminum .
And there’s a picture of the front been leaked too, with a lovely side-by-side comparison with the iPhone 4S for good measure, courtesy of KitGuru:
The two-tone back was also spotted in a video from eTrade Supply, which again showed the relocation of the headphone jack as well as a smaller connector and redesigned speaker grills.
A detailed video render of all the iPhone 5 rumoured/leaked images was also uploaded to YouTube in early June.
Update: Rumours surrounding that famous Apple 30-pin connector on the base of the iPhone have flared up again, with Reuters reporting that thedock connector is getting smaller to make room for a 3.5mm headphone jack on the base of the new iPhone 5.
Update: We’ve now seen a Chinese site claim to have a fully assembled iPhone 5 chassis - bringing together all the design aspects mentioned in previous leaks, including a smaller dock, relocated headphone jack, centralised front facing camera and two-tone back.
Update: More dock connector rumours, this time claiming Apple will opt for an even smaller 8-pin option over the current 30-pin port or rumoured 19-pin version.
Update:According to a video which claims to show off the front panel of the new iPhone, the handset will be the same width as the iPhone 4S, but will be taller and thinner.
Update: Apparently the new SIM trays for the iPhone 5 have leaked online, showing that they will be smaller and the ones found in the iPhone 4/4S – pointing towards the use of nano-SIMs in the new iPhone.
Update: The smaller dock connector rumour is refusing to die, and now we’ve been told that the new iPhone won’t feature a 19-, 16- or 8-pin port, but instead a 9-pin offering will appear on the base of the device.
iPhone 5 specs
Based on the roadmap of mobile chip design specialist ARM (of which Apple is a licensee), we’ll see a quad-core processor debut in the new iPhone 5 – probably called the Apple A6. We’ve seen other quad core handsetsdebut in 2012, so it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the new iPhone 5 will be the same.
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We had expected some kind of help in terms of predicting the iPhone 5 CPU from the launch of the new iPad, but the announcement of a slightly tweaked A5X processor really didn’t help things there.
According to a tip to 9to5Mac, the CPU will be the S5L8950X. Again this could be a derivative of the A5, but as 9to5Mac points out, Apple is probably working on a low-power 32nm version of the processor. As we could well have guessed, that processor will be manufactured by Samsung but designed by Apple itself.
The same report suggests 1GB of RAM, which seems right to us.
In terms of other specs aside from the screen (more on that below), rumours are persisting that the new iPhone 5 may have a new dock connector. The leaked 9to5Mac iPhone 5 backplate has this smaller dock connector.
TechCrunch reported in June that the sixth generation of iPhone will come with a 19-pin connector on its base, with Apple ditching the iconic 30-pin port which has graced previous iPhones, iPads and iPods.
Well, it had to happen sometime didn’t it?
Update: According to a report from the Financial Times, mobile operators are stockpiling nanoSIMs, as they expect the iPhone 5 to support the latest, and smallest, SIM technology.
iPhone 5 will have 4G/LTE support
After the new iPad’s launch brought 4G to an Apple device, it’s widely expected that 4G will come to iPhone 5. And with many 4G handsets already announced in the US, it can’t be long before the iPhone supports 4G technologies – even if we won’t even have a UK spectrum auction until late this year or maybe early next.
Because of the 4G fuss over the new iPad in the UK, we’d expect this to be played down in any UK handset – or the UK might get a different version entirely of course.
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Steve Jobs’ iPhone 5 legacy
Many sites have reported that Steve Jobs was working hard on the iPhone 5 project, which will apparently be a “radical redesign”. We shall see… but the fact the iPhone 4S was so similar to the iPhone 4 suggests that Steve was working on something pretty special before
The Wall Street Journal has previously 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.”
According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with Apple’s plans, Jobs “had worked closely on the redesigned phone before his death”.
iPhone 5 screen
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Various sources 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 2011, 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.
In March 2012, new reports suggested that the new iPhone 5 would come sporting a larger 4.6-inch retina display, while April rumours even suggested the next iPhone will use new touch technology.
During May, The Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying the device will definitely sport a 4-inch display – which seems to be the broader consensus as well - other prototypes are similar in size. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to dampen the ‘larger screen’ speculation at the recent D:10 conference, saying the company has “one phone with one screen size, one resolution”.
Those of you who are keen Apple watchers will, however, know that he is wrong – the currently-available 3GS does not have the same resolution as the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Whatever, it seems Sony is involved with the display and it has been making the screen since February, ramping up production from May. A larger screen will also be welcomed by developers, as Mobilebloom points out.
Update:The Wall Street Journal reports that the iPhone 5 will use new in-cell technology to produce a thinner, lighter screen – which looks set to be 4-inches in size.
Update: Sharp has confirmed it will start shipping displays for the next-gen iPhone in August – although it didn’t reveal what size, blast.
Update: Apparently the front panel of the new iPhone has made its way online in the form of a video, and reveals that the iPhone 5 will indeed sport a larger screen, 4.06-inches in size and with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Update: After some digging around in the beta version of iOS 6 a scalable option to increase the OS to fit a 640×1136 resolution version has added more fuel to the larger screen fire.
Which retina is the best? We compare the high-res displays on Apple’s new iPad, iPhone 4S and 2012 MacBook Pro up-close:
iPhone 5 digital wallet – NFC
There’s been some speculation that Apple might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5, turning it into a kind of credit/debit card.
Read our in-depth iPhone 4S review
However, with the tech being inside the Google Nexus Sand Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as well as a host of other top smartphones, the time for NFC may finally be here.
On 24 June 2011 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.
However, on 31 January 2012 9to5Mac claimed to have spoken with a well-connected developer who disclosed information received from Apple iOS engineers saying they are “heavily into NFC”.
The developer in question has not been named, but is working on a dedicated iOS app which includes NFC reading for mobile transactions. When questioned how confident he was on the information he had received his reply was “Enough to bet the app development on”.
On April 30 2012 an Apple patent filing reinforced the idea NFC in iPhone 5 – and leaked code from something purporting to be the new iPhone alsocontains a lot of information on NFC in the new iPhone.
iPhone 5 camera
Sony makes the camera for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Speaking at a liveWall 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 9to5Mac, 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.”
Sources have also suggested the new iPhone could have an 8MP camera. Indeed, Sony announced in January 2012 that it had developed new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors which are smaller in size. It’s also been reported that the new iPhone will have an HD front-facing camera as well.
An interesting titbit via MirrorlessRumors is around a removable iPhone back panel that would include the camera lens has been spotted in a patent document. It seems to show that the device would work either by swapping the panel, or rotating the panel to change lenses.
iPhone 5 price
If the iPhone 5 is an evolutionary step like the move from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S 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.
It’s pretty much nailed on that the new iPhone will cost around £500 for a 16GB / 32GB model (depending on the capacity Apple whacks in there) and unless the iPhone 5 comes with some truly next generation technology that pricing model should hold firm.
Will the iPhone 5 be Liquidmetal?
Liquidmetal: what it is and why you should care
Apple has added a further two years onto its exclusivity deal for the Liquidmetal technology, which also includes future updates to the tech.
Liquidmetal is a metal alloy which is super strong and boasts a range of unique properties, apparently making it perfect for consumer products.
Apple has only used the technology once so far, and that was for the small SIM card tray ejector tool for the iPhone 3G. There are rumblings that iPhone 5 could sport a Liquidmetal chassis.
iPhone 5 review
TechRadar is renowned for its detailed phone reviews where we look at every aspect of a handset, and we’ll be bringing you a full, in-depth iPhone 5 review when we get our hands on one.
As for the name, well it looks like it will be called iPhone 5. Apple has certainly been trying to protect the name iPhone 5 – and has even launched a claim over the iPhone5.com domain name.
There’s a lot of ‘information’ out there on what the new iPhone 5 will look like – be it larger screens, coloured backs or a whole glut of new technology tagged on the back.
However, while there’s (unsurprisingly) nothing in the way of a genuine leak from Apple when it comes to the iPhone 5, there’s a wealth of content from fans trying to guess/hint what the new iPhone will look like.
We’ve sifted through the wheat and dropped the chaff – here’s our gallery of images we think show the most likely design of the iPhone 5 (or just things that would clearly never happen, but come on… it’s cool).
TechRadar has now got on board with the 3D render gang and produced its own video of what the iPhone 5 may look like, taking inspiration from the most talked about rumours.
This is the pick of the bunch – a very impressive render based on all the iPhone 5 rumours collated so far. The two tone back and sleek design fromMartin Utrecht are so on message that a number of sites were fooled into thinking this was THE new iPhone. It’s not though. Don’t get excited.
We’re fans of this design not because it’s likely to happen, but more because it will appeal to the Apple fanboys of the world. It’s basically the unholy fusion of a Magic Mouse and an iPhone (with more than a nod to the much-fabled iPhone HD) from Ciccarese Design.
Although if it did double as a mouse, you’d have to pray that’s going to be the next generation of Gorilla Glass protecting the screen.
This is the most ‘normal’ of all the renders we’ve chosen here, and for that very reason we’re happy to state that if Apple goes in a new direction with the iPhone 5 design, this could very well be close to the mark with a more rounded-yet-industrial design.
However, it does look a bit like a Sony Ericsson Satio, which is a BAD THING. Although we do like the smorgasbord of colours here from NAK.
What’s this?A phone with a smart cover? That makes a lot of sense. The rest of the concept is a little on the bland side (although you should check out the full range over on Concept-Phones) with a more angular design, but we love this cover notion.
We love this concept for one reason: the idea of incorporating the home button into a dock at the bottom of the screen. Would it work in practice? Probably not, as it would only be relevant for the home screen and engineering that into an LCD panel would be a pain in the posterior.
But we’re in concept land here – there are no limitations, so kudos to ADR Studios for a decent range of ideas on the next iPhone.
And to that end, here’s the ultimate in concepts for the iPhone – a video from Aatma that comes up with the idea of projecting a keyboard from the iPhone using a laser.
Make. This. Happen.