Will the iPhone 5 resemble its predecessor, the iPhone 4?
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)
After unveiling a marginally improved iPhone 4S in 2011 instead of a radically different iPhone 5, Apple has returned to its development labs to cook up (no pun intended) the next iteration of its popular phone. In 2012, we’re fairly certain that the real iPhone 5 will roll out of Apple’s gates and that the device should be a bigger leap forward than the 4S was.
That’s why after taking some time off at the end of last year, we’ve resurrected CNET’s iPhone 5 rumor roundup to cover the new tidbits from 2012. So join us again in watching the rumor mill churn. We’ll add to it until we get the real thing, and please let us know if we’ve left any gossip out.
April 9, 2012
Different chip, different body
Several iPhone rumors from varying media sources suggest that the iPhone will be more robust, both inside and out. Business Insider reported that it’ll have a 4-inch screen and have a unibody case, and 9to5Mac claims it’ll be equipped with an A5X chip.
Foxconn has no idea when it’ll come out, now guesses an October debut
Oh, Foxconn, manufacturing as many rumors as it does iPhones. According to the head of HR at its Taiyuan facilities, the iPhone 5 will be released in October, despite the fact that a week ago, a Foxconn hiring recruiter said it’ll come out in June. Kotaku translated an article in South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper that reported this bit of news, and as always, we suggest you take this October estimate with a large ounce of skepticism.
April 2, 2012
It’s going to take a lot of labor
In a recorded conversation aired by TV Tokyo, a Foxconn recruiter said that the reason the company needed to hire 18,000 new workers was because the iPhone will be due out in June. This extra manpower further supports the idea of the device’s summer release.
March 23, 2012
Perhaps it’ll be equipped with a new dock plug
Aside from more LTE rumors (this time coming from iMore), new iPhone 5 rumors are surmising that the upcoming device will come with a new dock plug. This time, it may be smaller to make room for the device’s other components.
March 21, 2012
It might get a 4.6-inch screen
For those who have been dissatisfied with the iPhone’s usual 3.5-inch screen, Reuters reported that the new iPhone may get a bigger display, as a South Korean media outlet says Apple is putting in orders with suppliers for a 4.6-inch Retina Display. This may allow the company more room to update the chips inside the new iPhone, perhaps adding the A5X, for example.
February 3, 2012
It’s still going to be expensive
Citigroup analysts who met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer reported that Apple did not feel the need to make cheaper phones. During the meeting, Oppenheimer suggested that the company will keep making “great products,” and believed customers will still be willing to pay for them. Furthermore, the iPhone 5 is rumored to offer both LTE and TD-SCDMA, which is a 3G standard used in China.
Apple has its sights on June?
As reported by the Chinese newspaper Commercial Times, Apple may be going back to June as its go-to release month. Last time, the iPhone 4 was released in October, but rumor has it that the iPhone 5 may be coming to the Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled for June 10 through the 15.
It could be the summer
A source at Foxconn leads 9to5Mac to report that Apple is readying an iPhone with a 4-inch (or larger) display for release this summer. Apparently, the new device will retain the shape of the iPhone 4 and 4S, while being longer and wider. The blog also says that Apple has a few sample devices “floating around.”
Or maybe the fall
Analyst Tavis McCourt of Morgan Keegan says that the iPhone 5 will arrive in the fall of this year and that it will be a “significant revenue and earnings growth driver.” Keegan doesn’t say how the handset will differ; perhaps it could be slimmer or have a metal back.1-2 of 15Scroll Left Scroll Right
September 30, 2011
Double the storage?
The same 9to5Mac source who spotted new iPhone models in Apple’s retail system says that a 64GB iPhone could also be in the cards. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard talk about a higher-capacity iPhone. In mid-April, Vietnamese site Tinhte posted a video of a white iPhone boasting 64GB of storage–the same site that got ahold of the iPhone 4 ahead of its official announcement.
New iPhone spotted in Apple’s inventory
As a follow-up to the September 28 story, both 9to5Mac and SlashGear report that a phone with the code-name N94 has been discovered in Apple’s inventory system and is believed to be the iPhone 5. Information on the label also points to it being a dual-mode CDMA/GSM phone.
iPhone 5 to have bigger screen, HSPA+
A pair of stories from PC Watch in Japan and CNET France resurfaces rumors that the iPhone 5 will offer HSPA+ support, which will allow for theoretical download speeds of up to 21Mbps, and feature a larger (4.2 or 4.3 inches) 960×540-pixel qHD touch screen.
New iPhones, iPods in Apple’s retail system
There is debate over whether Apple will introduce more than one iPhone on October 5, but if 9to5Mac’s tipster is right, it will be more than one. According to the source, there are two new iPhone models floating around Apple’s retail system, with one possibly being an entry-level 8GB version of the iPhone 4. In addition, three new iPod Touch models were also spotted in the system.
A defect in iPhone 5 panels?
Taiwan’s DigiTimes says Apple supplier Wintek is finding a “delayed bubble” defect in some of the iPhone 5 panels it has produced. According to the publication, though it’s unknown what the defect does to the screen, it appears after touch-panel lamination and during assembly.
Even Al Gore says there will be more than one
At the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in South Africa, former vice president and Apple board member Al Gore said, “Not to mention the new iPhones coming out next month.”
Two iPhones by the end of the year
J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz tells Fortune that he expects Apple to release two new iPhones before the end of the year. One will be a brand-new model with a different appearance, and the other will be a souped-up iPhone 4 model called the “iPhone 4-plus.”
Possible iPhone 5 cases emerge
Accessory maker Case-Mate briefly posts renderings of a line of cases for a new iPhone. They suggest that the forthcoming handset will have a rounded aluminum backing, similar to the iPad 2’s design. The images are quickly replaced with a generic notifications page, but Boy Genius Report managed to post them on its Web site.
A Sprint iPhone by October 15
A leaked Sprint memo informs the carrier’s employees of a vacation blackout from September 30 through October 15 due to the “possibility” of a major phone launch.
Sprint iPhone with unlimited data?
Bloomberg predicts that Sprint will not only have the new iPhone in mid-October, but also that the carrier will offer the handset with an unlimited data plan to “distinguish” it from the AT&T and Verizon models.
150,000 iPhones a day
Taiwan’s DigiTimes cites anonymous industry sources to report that China’s Foxconn Electronics, which has manufactured iPhones in the past, is currently producing 150,000 iPhone 5 units a day.
Sprint and the iPhone 5
Beatweek says that Sprint is installing network repeaters at Apple retail stores to ensure that potential iPhone 5 buyers can find a strong signal for testing the device on the carrier’s cellular network.
Battle of the Best Buy leaks
Boy Genius Report says a leaked internal document from the retailer puts the iPhone 5 launch date at sometime during the first week in October, with preorders beginning as early as the first full week of September. Sprint, too, will get the device, according to the BGR story. But wait–This Is My Next has its own leaked Best Buy info: a mysterious “Apple fixture Installation” at an unnamed Best Buy location suggests an October 21 debut for the gadget, according to the blog.
Thinner, longer, wider
Tech enthusiast site M.I.C. Gadget claims that new iPhone cases being sold by online vendor Alibaba and other Chinese retailers show a slimmer design for the next version of the handset. Not only will it be as thin as an iPod Touch, but also the mute switch is moved to the other side, the overall design is wider and longer, and it will have tapered edges.
Accessory maker Ideal Case posts a photo of what it says is the new antenna design for the iPhone 4S/iPhone 5. Exactly what those differences are, however, is unclear and the photos were posted without a back story.
DigiTimes rebuts earlier rumors that the iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display. Instead, DigiTimes says that the new handset will keep the current touch-screen size of 3.5 inches, or will grow slightly larger to 3.7 inches. Apple will, however, adopt a design with a thinner bezel for the display panel, which would make it appear larger.
Citing “a contact within T-Mobile,” Apple-tracking blog MacTrast says the U.S. carrier will be getting a version of the iPhone 5 that will run on the company’s 3G network sometime in “early to mid-October.”
AT&T expects a busy October
According to Boy Genius Report, the next iPhone will launch in early October. The blog says an AT&T vice president has reportedly warned employees to “expect things to get really, really busy in the next 35 to 50 days, so prepare your teams accordingly.”
An October 7 release
9To5Mac says that Apple is considering an October 7 release for the iPhone 5 with preorders starting September 30. If that date is correct, the company would hold an unveiling event in early September.
LTE in Apple stores
Citing an anonymous source, Engadget reports that LTE equipment is being installed at a major Apple store. The equipment supports the 700MHz band of spectrum, which could be used by AT&T or T-Mobile.
iPhone 5 mockups
Apple news and rumor site MacRumors commissioned CiccareseDesign to create mockups of the iPhone 5 based on the original leaked case designs. The renderings show a sleek handset with a 4-inch display and elongated Home button.
Apple prepping iPhone reveal for September 7 event?
According to Japanese Web site Kodawarisan, Apple is planning a media event for September 7 where it will unveil its new iPod lineup and perhaps the iPhone 5. But before you clear all appointments for September 7, another report by AppleNApps says the company will hold a separate event for the occasion, where Apple will not only introduce the iPhone 5 but also a cloud-based iPhone.
China Telecom to get two new iPhones?
A report by China-based Sohu.com says Apple and China Telecom have reached a “preliminary agreement” to start selling the iPhone before the end of October. And it’s not just any iPhone, it’s rumored to be the iPhone 5 alongside a “simplified” iPhone 4.
10 million handsets in September
DigiTimes says that Pegatron will produce 10 million iPhone 5 units. According to an unnamed source, the handsets will ship to Apple in September, which would pave the way for a release any time after that.
No vacations for you
Gizmodo cites an e-mail allegedly from an AT&T employee, which says that the carrier is denying any vacations requested during the last two weeks of September “due to an event blackout.” According to the employee, the only other times vacations were denied in the past were during iPhone release periods.
Or maybe in October
Going the other direction, a story on AllThingsD quotes a source “with knowledge of the plans” who says, “I don’t know why AT&T’s calling for all hands on deck those weeks, but it’s not for an iPhone launch.” Instead, the source says that the next iPhone will come in October.
A white iPhone 4S
In a rather convoluted tale, MacRumors highlighted a forum post from Vietnamese site Tinhte that claims to have a new version of the iPhone 4. Differences between the new version and the current handset are few, but Tinhte says it’s a bit faster, it weighs less, and it has a plastic shell instead of glass.
A new case for a new design
U.K. blog Mobile Fun receives new iPhone case designs from two manufacturers. They point to a major redesign that includes a larger screen and home button, and a curved back.
AT&T and Apple get to work
MacRumors reports that Apple is bringing back former employees to work part-time between August 15 and September 15. Though that time period coincides with the back-to-school season, it also falls within the long-rumored early September iPhone release window. Also, according to Boy Genius Report, AT&T is preparing its employees for more foot traffic at its stores in September. A source told the blog that the carrier has asked its managers and employees to finish any current training as soon as possible.
Now hiring for an August iPhone
After some clever detective work, CNET UK finds a job posting repeated throughout the United Kingdom that asks for “Apple iPhone Sales Specialists” to work in Apple retail stores. The temporary positions would last from mid-August through the end of October and would be for what the recruiter describes as “an exciting project.”
A modest update
BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman claims in a note to investors that Apple will introduce just an iPhone 4S model in September. The iPhone 4S would include only modest feature upgrades and the design would be unchanged.
Two new iPhones to come
Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore predicts that Apple will introduce two iPhones later this year. The first will be a full next-generation handset (most likely an iPhone 5), while the second will be a revamped iPhone 4 (probably called an iPhone 4S) that Apple will target to customers on prepaid cell phone plans.
A third-quarter release
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said that Apple will start “aggressively” making the next iPhone in August and launch the handset late in the third quarter of this year. Huberty made the remarks after a trip to Taiwan where she presumably met with Apple suppliers.
Again, in September
Bloomberg reports that the new iPhone will have a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and support for iOS 5. The new handset will sport a design similar to the iPhone 4’s and will be released in September to coincide with iOS 5’s debut. On a related note, Bloomberg’s source also repeats a rumor that Apple is developing a cheaper iPhone for developing countries.
An iPhone 5 in full September
The Boy Genius Report predicts that Apple will announce the fully revamped iPhone 5 in early August with a release date later in the month. If true, that timing would bend from tradition, given that Apple usually holds an iPod-themed event in September.
A curved display
DigiTimes suggests that the iPhone 5 will have a curved glass screen like the Samsung Nexus S‘ “Contour” design. DigiTimes also says that Apple has bought 200 or 300 glass-cutting machines to be used by glassmakers.
A global iPhone for Verizon
While speaking at the Reuters Global Technology Summit, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo says that Big Red will carry the next iPhone and that it will “operate in as many countries as AT&T’s global iPhone.” Shammo’s comments also suggest that the device won’t have LTE.
Small changes, but on all carriers
Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek says the next iPhone will show only incremental changes and will lack support for 4G LTE networks. Besides a few cosmetic tweaks, he predicts better cameras, an A5 dual-core processor, and support for HSPA+ networks. Though he says the new device could land at all four major U.S. carriers beginning in September, Misek likens the upgrade to what we saw from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS.
A5 processor and a bigger camera
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the device will get an A5 processor and a much-improved 8-megapixel rear camera and that it will be released in October or November.
Suppliers still in the dark
DigiTimes writes that part suppliers in Taiwan still don’t know Apple’s needs for the handset. What’s more, the outlet also says that production of iPhone 4 displays is still going strong.
Trouble with suppliers
AppleInsider quotes an Avian Securities note to investors, which suggests that production will start in September. According to the note, the latest information is “consistent with other findings the organization has heard in recent months.” What’s more, another rumor mentions that Apple is taking its time finding enough parts suppliers.
A bigger display, part four
A new Apple patent application depicts a screen that’s built into the area surrounding the traditional touch screen. This could free up space on the main display, and open up new directions for developers.
An October release
A Japanese blog reports that because Apple is behind schedule on securing parts, the iPhone 5 launch could be pushed to October. The blog also says the company is deciding whether to change the back of the iPhone from glass to metal.
NFC, larger display, and a new antenna
China Times claims the iPhone 5 will have a slightly larger screen, a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip, an A5 processor, and a tweaked antenna design to address attenuation. The release date is only set as “later this year.”
A bigger display, part three
Reseller iDealsChina posts a “mold engineering” drawing that vendors use to develop iPhone accessories. The drawing shows a handset with an iPhone 4-like design but with a larger display.
A5 processor, part two
In a deep dive of the new iOS 4.3 code, Apple developers found signs that Apple may add an A5 dual-core processor in the next iPhone version. That would put the handset on par with the iPad 2’s processing power.
Looking like the iPad
Design is the focus of this rumor, which suggests that Apple will ditch the glass backing on the iPhone 4 for a metal backing, revamp the antenna, and add tapered ends. The end result will be something like the iPad.
A bigger display
Speculation builds that the new handset will offer a 4-inch, “edge-to-edge” display. The reports suggest that the move would be a direct response to the display design of many Android devices.
No home button
An anonymous Apple source told the Boy Genius Report that both the iPad 2 and the next-generation iPhone would lose their home buttons in favor of gesture-based commands that would be part of iOS 4.3.
Editors’ note: This roundup was originally published June 24, 2011, and is updated regularly.