It’s been a busy week or two for those hoping to catch the latest intel on what the 6th gen iPhone will pack. We’ve had everything from release dates through to leaked casing and mockups. Almost every angle of the “iPhone 5″ has been scrutinized, as we all desperately try to gain some kind of grip on Apple’s – as yet mythical – smartphone. (Spoiler: If you want to skip all the reading and go straight to the pics and videos of leaks and mockups, scroll down to the bottom of the post.)
iPhone 5 release date
The most recent speculation, supposedly confirmed by three different sources, is that the iPhone will be announced on September 12th. Many blogs including the likes of iMore, AllThingsD and 9to5Mac are practically certain that this will be the chosen launch date. They’re that confident in their sources. To top it off, the Yerba Buena center often used for iDevice launches is mysteriously free between the 10th and the 13th of September, despite having a packed schedule for the surrounding days. If it turns out to be true, you can expect the iPhone to hit shelves around 9 days later, on September 21st (the very beginning of fall, just about scraping in to Apple’s announced iOS 6 release plans.) There was talk of a secret Apple keynote happening on August 7th. Speculation was that Cupertino could announce the next generation iPhone at that event. Needless to say, nothing materialized there.
Likelihood: The iPhone was released at the beginning of October last year, and if Apple is doing its old-school 12 month cycle thing, there’s no reason not to believe that we could see a device announcement in the middle of September. If I’m honest, I think it’s far more likely that the keynote will happen in the last week of September (Wed 26th) with a release on October 5th. But, with so many sources telling different tech sites the same thing, it’s hard to ignore, and certainly not speculation that can be easily dismissed.
Next iPhone’s design
Now this is the biggy. Any technology enthusiast should already put behind them any thoughts that Apple will ever radically change the front face of the iPhone. It’s an instantly recognizable brand trade finish. The simple, uncluttered face with single button at the bottom. If you’re bored with it, or really want Cupertino to come up with something new in that area: go buy another phone, it’s never going to happen.
What can and should change is the rest. The shape, the materials, perhaps even the colors. Sadly, what we’ve heard all year is that it’s going to be a similar shape except with a longer 4-inch display. That will keep the same, easy to hold width, while adding some length for the purpose of gaining screen real estate.
In terms of looks, it’s the same flat back, flat sides and rounded corners. Sadly, the rumors and leaks do not point towards a comfortable curved back like what we saw with the original iPhone and the 3G and 3GS. The one design aspect that is taken from the original iPhone is the rumored two-tone back. The Aluminum panel supposedly acts as the external antenna while the glass top and bottom ensure that radio signals still get in and out of the phone for other types of connectivity: WiFi, BlueTooth and possibly NFC.
It just has to be bigger. Right? If it’s not, I’m going to cry while I’m standing in line on launch day waiting to buy one. Thankfully, virtually every single leak, every rumor and each strand of speculation is all pointing to one thing: a 4-inch (or 3.999″) display. With a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, it’ll most likely be the same width as the current iPhone’s screen but an extra row of icons longer. Not only will it allow Apple to continue using the Retina trademark, but it also becomes an aspect ratio much closer to Widescreen 16:9 instead of the current 3:2. This points towards Cupertino focussing even more on video watching.
The one worrying part is that with all those extra pixels (113,000 approx) the iPhone would surely need a much bigger battery. Sadly, the only physical evidence of a new battery is one with a capacity of 1440mAh. That’s only 10mAh more than the current one. Either we’re going to see a dramatic decrease in battery life, or Apple has found a way to make a much more efficient display. Perhaps we’ll finally see Sharp’s IGZO displays in use within an Apple device?
iPhone 5′s processor, connectivity, camera?
Virtually every reporter, writer and sane tech savvy consumer is assuming that the 6th incarnation of the iPhone will have 4G LTE connectivity. The new iPad has it, so there’s no reason why the iPhone shouldn’t. Let’s hope this time around that Cupertino learns from its mistakes in Australia and the UK not to promote it in incompatible countries as being 4G.
There’s been little, to no talk about the processor. In the past, whatever is powering the latest iPad makes its way (in a slightly restricted form) to the iPhone. For instance the 1GHz A5 processor from the iPad 2 was clocked to 800MHz and put inside the iPhone 4S. The interesting conundrum is this: will Apple bother putting the A5X inside the iPhone 5? The “X” part denotes that the chip has quad-core graphics, essential to keep the huge 9.7″ Retina display looking snazzy. The iPhone has had Retina for years, and an extra half an inch (diagonally) isn’t going to warrant a battery sapping chip with quad-core graphics onboard. Maybe will see a boosted A5, or the same chip as what’s in the 4S. Who knows.
Again, details are sketchy to say the least regarding a new snapper. The 8MP backlit sensor was groundbreaking in October, and is still regarded as most as being the best camera on any smartphone. Perhaps the only exception is the Nokia pureView (overkill?) They don’t need to do much to it. We don’t need any more pixels, instead Apple should focus even harder on the lens/filter technology and see if we can get an almost-DSLR quality lens squeezed in to a smartphone’s body.
Gallery of leaks, mockups
There have been a number of component and part leaks over the past few months, all pointing the same way. We’ve also feasted our eyes on some really great renders and mockups designed by some fantastic digital artists. Here’s a selection of the best (click to enlarge).
And some videos to keep you entertained: