Apple’s iPhone 5: Rumor Roundup

29 Jul

With the iPhone 5’s October launch date inching closer and closer, tech enthusiasts and casual consumers alike are no doubt anticipating the details that are set to be unveiled for the new handset. Unfortunately, considering Apple’s tendency to be extremely secretive about its unreleased products, little, if anything, can be reliably confirmed at the moment. What we have at the center of the whole iPhone 5 affair, instead, are a multitude of wild rumors, semi-plausible speculations, and suspicious photographs that may or may not be indicative of the final product.

To get a general idea of what to expect during October, we have assembled a list of possible rumors that have been reported by various sources. Due to the varying credibility of the speculations, the new iPhone’s alleged features have been ranked based on their validity and have been grouped into one of the following three categories: “Very likely,” “Somewhat likely,” and “Unlikely.”

Very Likely to Happen (80% to 100%):    

1. Bigger, taller screen
From what appears to be an authentic series of leaked photos, it seems that the iPhone 5 will sport a much larger display compared to the 4S, and will assume a somewhat elongated figure. The current speculation is that we will be seeing a screen that measures to 4-inches and features a 16:9 aspect ratio (which is the standard ratio seen in films, minus the bars). Considering the current trend in which smartphones are increasingly getting bigger, we are convinced Apple may indeed be serious about sizing up the new iPhone.

2. Light-weight, slimmer body
In addition to larger size, a series of reports from Wall Street Journal suggest that Apple will take advantage of an “in-cell display technology” and may attempt to create a smartphone body that is a tad thinner than its predecessors. Rather than using two different panels for the iPhone 5’s LCD and touch sensors, Apple will supposedly apply a single touch enabled LCD panel instead. With this component, analysts from KGI Securities predict that the overall thickness of the iPhone 5 will decrease by approximately 1.3mm, in result giving the device a slightly lighter mass. At the moment, that are a number of pictures out there –some showing convincing side by side comparisons of the 4S model and a suspected iPhone 5– that provide a lot of credibility to the speculations about the iPhone’s reduced thickness.

3. 4G LTE support
Though not officially confirmed yet, it is widely believed that the iPhone 5 will, similar to the new iPad, begin featuring 4G support. Such feature will allow for significantly faster download speeds in addition to a number of network related benefits. Since a handful of smartphones and network carriers out there are already taking advantage of 4G LTE, it is not unreasonable to assume Apple too will seize such an opportunity and provide iPhone 5 consumers a key network feature that was sorely lacking in the 4S model.

Somewhat Likely to Happen (50% to 80%):

1. Mini-dock connector
For the past couple of months, various sources close to Apple, along with a number of leaked online pictures, are suggesting that the dock connector on the new iPhone 5 may be a lot smaller than the ubiquitous 30-pin connector that appeared on all the previous models. According to CNET and ibiTimes, the smaller dock could either end up as a thunderbolt port or, as many are hoping, an industry-standard Micro USB connector. While a changed dock connector size is sensible for the purpose of redesign, the switch would be a risky move considering that much of the company’s existing accessories will end up being incompatible with the new iPhone. As such, even if shrinking the dock connector is a rational design choice, it is hard for us to be certain whether Apple will truly opt for such a risky, radical change.

2. A Liquidmetal Body
A particularly interesting rumor that has also been spreading around is that portions of the new iPhone will be composed of Liquidmetal (Vitreloy), an amorphous metal alloy known for its sturdy properties, corrosive resistance, and the ability to withstand extremely high temperatures. Years ago, Apple has been granted exclusive rights to Liquidmetal technology and, since then, has been toying with the idea of using the material in a “breakthrough product.” As it remains unclear whether the company has mastered the technology enough to apply it on a massive scale, many believe that it is only moderately likely that we will see a liquidmetal iPhone released this fall.

3. Quad Core Processor
By now, one might not perceive the use of the quad core CPU as anything new, considering that the processor has already appeared in a variety of mobile phone devices and tablet computers out there. In the case of Apple, though, things are a little less predictable. While it was expected the Apple would be working on its quad core CPU following the acquisition of PA Semiconductor, the Cupertino firm surprised a lot of people when it decided to release the new iPad using only the A5 dual core processor. While it is by no means impossible that the next iPhone will launch with an embedded quad core processor (allegedly called the “A6”), sources like 9toMac believe that we are equally likely to see just another variation of Apple’s A5 dual core CPU.

Possible, but unlikely (under 50%):

1. Significantly Increased Battery Life
“Dramatic battery life” is amongst the few phrases that will almost never appear in the same sentence as “iPhone.” To this day, unimpressive battery hours remain a nagging issue that continue to disappoint many casual users as well as loyal iPhone customers. Whether Apple will turn things around with its next iPhone and bestow upon the device a much needed long battery life remains highly debatable.

2. Flash Support
Like the case with battery life, flash support is a feature that Apple consistently avoids for its tablet and mobile phone devices. It seems some arduous supporters of the format are still somewhat hopeful that the Cupertino firm may one day include a flash-capable iPhone. Looking at Apple’s current record (along with its apparent dislike for the format), however, the chances of that happening are very low.


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