In 2011 a vast collection of so called “tips” and “leaks” about the forthcoming iPhone 5 were revealed. Since it was such a popular topic, we are going to provide some of the most notable attempts with a mosaic of information that came our way regarding this highly speculated and sought after device.
In all actuality, the iPhone 5 is not expected to be launched before summer, or even fall of 2012 for that matter. If the rumors to be believed, Apple’s iPad 3 won’t see the light of a day before the end of February 2012, and yet nobody could even show a possible mock-up of a next generation Apple tablet (or tablets, if a 7.85-incher is an option still?). Unlike the case with iPad 3 where the launch date is almost imminent, here ,we deal with a device that is designed not just in usual Apple’s secrecy, but there might be even no single piece of it in manufacturing, or supply chains, just to build rumors upon.
So here we go, trying to sieve through all these rumors, hints, and hearsay.
1. Form, shape, and overall design
Apple in its iPhone design has a success stories that have had a tremendous impact on what the company’s next phone designs might look like. In other words, most probably, you won’t see a QWERTY keyboard, or a slider as a design target for the iPhone 5. What is highly expected though, is a screen size of over 4″, or even 4.3″ diagonally.
Case and screen shapes and materials, thicknesses are very speculative matters at the moment, however BGR has chosen to put these quite bluntly: they somehow have learned that Apple is planning to use a rubber or plastic material — similar to the material used in the company’s bumper cases — that will be built into the new iPhone chasis. In all likelihood, this material will be used as a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone (like the iPhone 3GS bezel) and it will serve two purposes. First, it will join the glass of the iPhone face with a new aluminum back plate. It will also cover a redesigned antenna system that surrounds the device, allowing Apple to build the rear case out of aluminum without having to use a large plastic insert above the antennas as the company does on its iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Earlier reports suggested that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will feature an aluminum case similar to the one found on the iPad 2, as well as a larger display around 4 inches. Other rumors for an iPhone 5 back plate include all of these materials: rubberized metal, plastics, aluminum, or even titanium.
To put it in simple words, we don’t know a thing apart from these wild rumors and samples of wishful thinking. So, at this point, Apple designers’ hands are completely untied, so to speak. For a screen larger than 4-4.3″ Apple may even choose a concave glass, and who would blame them for this anti-scratch measure for their Gorilla glass screen? The bezel could be completely redesigned to avoid another “Antennagate” scandal. Weight will be kept as close to iPhone 4′s as possible, yet employing a more powerful battery should result in a prolonged battery life. In the end, lets just hope they dont break as easily as current iPhone glass does. In fact it’s so easy to shatter an iPhone 4 these days, that there’s been an entire economy built around repairing iPhone handsets.
2. Specs and functionality
Rumors persistently have it that just like the iPad 3, the iPhone 5 will have an A6 SoC (System on Chip) in its core. The Tech Journal has this to say about this 28 nm technology, 30 % more poweful than A5 chip:
TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies.
The move to A6 includes dropping Samsung as its SoC designer and manufacturer for A4, A5 models, so it could be just a rumor, again. Samsung was rumored to work on its own version of a quad-core A6, so it’s a mute point for now. We do know Apple’s relationship with Samsung has been deteriorating over time.
Horsepower of the A6 might be needed to better support features that can be found in the existing iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. One example is Siri functionality which, as it is implemented now, puts a very heavy load on Apple’s servers to work properly.
The IGZO technology based display rumored for the iPad 3 may find its way into the iPhone 5 “Retina”, 330 DPI or so, qHD screen. More power-effective, a thinner design of IGZO display may be a decisive factor in employing the technology for the Apple’s flagship phone.
Sure, A5 processors may still be considered (think iPhone 5S, maybe?), but if there’s a need to implement new features for the iPhone 5, the A6 chip that is possibly meant for the high-end iPad 3 might find its way into a new Apple’s iPhone, too.
These new features are just wild guesses today:
- FaceTime over WiFi;
- FaceTime-like owner’s face recognition for unlocking the iPhone 5;
- Siri-based owner’s voice recognition, again, for unlocking the iPhone 5;
- Adding NFC (Near Field Communication) chip here can open many more opportunities to activate passes, purchases and other transactions.
The reality of it all though, is we only know as much as Apple tells us. Or as much as an unsuspecting Apple employee may let us know by losing his device in a bar. We’ll find out if anyone lost an iPhone 5 in a bar on NYE in the days to come, but until then, stay tuned for more rumors as they tend to leak out from various sources.