There’s been a lot of whispering about the yet-to-be announced iPhone 5. As usual around this time of year the internet is chock full of rumors. Some realistic, others not.

The biggest talking point has been the release date, the most popular belief being that it will be launched around September. Since there’s so much to get your head around I thought I’d do a roundup.

iPhone 5 launch date

While the speculation circling recently suggests we’re more likely to see a fall release than in summer there’s still an underlying suggestion that Jobs and his crew could surprise us in June.

WWDC 11 is due to kick off on June 6th, this much is known. Apple sent out invites, and tickets sold out in record breaking fashion. The invitation lured us in with promises of seeing “the future of iOS and Mac OS X.”

The Loop used appropriately placed sources, plus this tagline to declare that this year’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference would be a purely software focussed event. My rationale in this is that the WWDC each year promises only a glimpse of iOS. Not once has Apple stated “come see the next iPhone!” And yet, the iPhone always appears.

There is the issue that sources in China have stated the iPhone 5 isn’t even in production yet. This is the only “evidence” I find to hold its weight. Analysts can presume, and tech journalists can guess, but the truth is that no one knows.

However much I want the next Apple handset to be released this summer, I have a nasty feeling that it’ll come in this year’s media event. The iPhone 5 is anticipated to stand side-by-side with the fifth generation iPod Touch and its smaller siblings.

The next iPhone’s specs and features

The most recent assumption is that because Apple’s camera supplier, OmniVision, has just released a new 12.6 megapixel sensor with full HD video recording capabilities that we’ll see this built-in to the iPhone 5.

However, Sony’s CEO is quoted to have said that his company will be supplying an 8 megapixel sensor. So, maybe we’ll have an 8 megapixel iPhone 5, and next year’s model could be the 12 megapixel model.

It’s widely assumed that the dual-core custom A5 processor found in the iPad 2 will make its way to the iPhone. This is probably the only rumor that can be taken as guaranteed. Last year the iPad’s A4 made its way across, and so I expect the A5 to do the same. The phone will be faster, and will offer even better gaming experience.

Storage could be available in 3 flavors: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB to match the iPad range. A leaked video showed up not long ago of a prototype iPhone 4 with a 64GB storage capacity. Not only could we expect a higher storage, but a boosted memory to go with it. I still wouldn’t complain if it kept the same 512MB of RAM found in the current model.

This year could also be the year we see Apple stray from its usual 3.5″ screen. Back when the first iPhone was launched this was plenty of real estate, but compared to its main rivals it’s starting to look a little insignificant.

Expect a minimum 3.7″ possibly 4″ edge-to-edge display on the next model. A “source” at Foxconn apparently spotted the iPhone 4 and claimed it had a 4″ screen, no photos have been leaked to add any weight to this alleged spotting.

iPhone 5 form factor

Again, there’s no evidence. Some think the handset won’t be much more than a faster version of the iPhone 4. Similar to the iPhone 3G-3GS step up, this could look exactly the same except with a larger screen.

In complete contrast to this there have been rumors of the device having an aluminum curved back that also acts as an external antenna, without the “death grip” issue. After “antennagate” last year, you couldn’t blame Jobs&Co for attempting something new.

This back could resemble a miniature iPad 2 design. We all know Apple likes a little uniformity when it comes to design. Just look at the MacBook/iMac lineup – all aluminum and black. This would go along with a rumor picked up by Engadget a few months back.

A smaller iPhone/iPhone Nano

Not so likely, since Steve Jobs has mentioned his distaste for Android’s issues with fragmentation. To be completely honest, I see these rumors every single year. “So-and-so, who’s in the know and is well known to be accurate with predictions” says that Apple is in the process of developing a smaller, cheaper model with no onboard storage.

Eliminating storage would mean complete reliance on the cloud iTunes service. Bloomberg states that this is to challenge Android in the lower to mid-range section of the smart-phone market.

iOS 5 predictions

Apple is rumored to be working on a cloud-based iTunes. This would mean access to all your music, movies, TV shows and the such from anywhere you can get an internet connection. Clearly, we can almost assume that Apple is working on this. However, I’m hesitant to jump on the “it’s coming this summer” bandwagon.

I am suggesting though that this year’s software update is going to be a pretty dramatic one. We’ve had virtually the same OS since 2007, and Android, BlackBerry and Windows have all caught up, if not surpassed the iPhone’s slightly outdated UI.

New notifications would be wonderful, and since Cupertino employed WebOS’s notifications developer last year it would make complete sense that we finally see the death of those irritating blue popups.

That’s enough from me though. Which rumors would you most like to see come to pass? What do you want from the next iPhone/iOS update? comment below.

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