The iPhone 5. It’s coming, and there’s precious little you can do about it. Not that you’d probably want to of course. Unless you’re very, very anti-Apple, that is. Either way, as with any upcoming Apple launch, there are rumours, leaks and renders aplenty.
Do you wish someone would sort through them all and figure out what’s the most likely crop of features? Alright then, no worries: let’s get cracking. This is the ultimate iPhone 5 rumour roundup.
iPhone 5: Build and materials
iPhone rumours are like getting second, third and fourth opinions from doctors. What you’ve got largely depends on who you ask. If you ask iFixyouri, for example, you’ll get a two-tone design that mixes the glass of the current iPhone’s chassis with plastic tips to cushion drops.
Of course, then there’s word from South Korea that the iPhone 5 will be hewn from ‘Liquidmetal’ – an amorphous metal alloy that Apple’s been toying with since 2010. Liquidmetal, as well as being “smooth like liquid” is incredibly lightweight, yet strong and durable. It has the appearance of metallic glass, but is far hardier than the glass casing found on the current iPhone 4S.
iLounge, meanwhile, maintains that the iPhone 5 will be taller than its predessecor, to make way for a larger, widescreen display with a proper 16:9 aspect ratio. But then the screen thing is a whole other issue entirely…
iPhone 5: Screen size
Will it or won’t it? That’s the question being posed on the web on a daily basis, and it refers to whether or not the iPhone 5 will sport a larger screen than every iPhone before it. The market’s changed enough to suggest that a slight increase in size would be a wise move, but then Apple’s not one for going back on things when it thinks it’s done something right.
“We have one phone with one screen size and one resolution, and so it’s pretty simple if you’re a developer,” said CEO Tim Cook at the start of the D10 developer conference this week. That suggests that the display will keep its 3.5-inch dimensions, but leaks from elsewhere say different.
Numerous supply chain sources claim that the iPhone 5 display will grow to 4 or 4.6-inches. The latter’s a bit of a stretch (in more ways than one), but 4-inches seems about right, for all the reasons we spelled out in this article.
iPhone 5: Dock connector
There’s a genuine consensus on this one, and you won’t like it if you’ve got a million iPod docks littered around the house. If you believe what’s emerging online, Apple’s about to shrink the standard dock connector down to less than half its current size.
The leaked casing from iFixyouri shows what this sort of dock connector might look like – it’s about the same size as a Micro-USB port. The reason for this? While you’ll probably have to buy a few adapters to keep using your existing iPhone docks, Apple’s logic is that every drop of space counts: if the connector port is smaller, that gives you more room to play about with.
Specifically: battery and speakers. More room at the base means Apple’s got scope to improve both of these, simply by handing over that real estate to larger components.
iPhone 5: Colours
We’re not just talking black and white here. Oh no. Recent rumour, mostly garnered from the Chinese suppliers who furnished iFixyouri with that leaked rear casing, points to an iPhone 5 that comes in a rainbow range of colours, akin to the iPod nano.
iPhones available in a range of colours seems like a pretty logical next step for Apple. The company’s started to show versions of its logo splashed with a lot more colour than in previous years, while colourfully-hued handsets such as the Nokia Lumia range have injected a bit more life into phone shop shelves.
iPhone 5: NFC
In January 2012, a developer at Macworld spoke to 9to5Mac, telling them that Apple engineers were “heavily into NFC.” That’s a theory backed up in the same month by Ed McLaughlin, head of emerging payments at MasterCard, who batted away questions about Apple and NFC by wryly saying “I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in the process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.”
Generally, though, there’s not been an awful lot on NFC preached by the iPhone rumour-mongers – but then that’s largely because it’s probably going to happen. Not that Apple likes to be told what to do, but it’d be ill-advised of the company not to stick near field communication tech into its next phone, given that contactless payment seems to be the innovation du jour.
iPhone 5: Launch date
We’re hearing October. Whilst iOS 6 may well appear earlier (see below), supply chain problems may have forced Apple’s hand here, meaning that the once-regular June iPhone update will probably now settle around September, for an October release.
The reason? According to Qualcomm, there’s currently far too much demand for both its Snapdragon S4 chipsets and 4G LTE radios, the latter of which Apple will want to include in the iPhone 5. The demand is causing delays, which means that the iPhone 5 probably won’t be able to launch this side of October.
iPhone 5: iOS 6
The iPhone 5 is, by all accounts, likely to spring from its box flashing iOS 6 – but that next iteration of the software will probably make its debut on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. That’s likely to be announced at Apple’s WWDC conference next month. Want to know what to expect? Head here: The six things we want to see from iOS 6.
We’ll be keeping this post updated as we march closer to the iPhone 5 launch. Seen any juicy news? Let us know below…