Although widely expected, there was no iPhone 5 in 2011 after all, though the company did announce the iPhone 4S.
So we'll surely see a total revision of the iPhone during 2012. We've gathered together all the latest iPhone 5 rumours to give us a reasonable picture of what Apple's latest handset might be like.
You'll find all the rumours below, but why not check out our iPhone 5 rumours video first?
iPhone 5 release date
iPhone 5 news
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Given the pattern of Apple's iPhone launches, we're expecting the next-gen iPhone 5 release date to be mid to late 2012.
It could possibly be shown off at Apple's Worldwide Developer Event (WWDC 2012), which usually takes place in early June - even if the focus of the 2011 event was software. We are expecting iOS 6 and more on OS X Mountain Lion this time around so it could be that hardware is further down the list again.
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We reported in February that the new iPhone would be launched in October, falling into line with the same release schedule from last year, and Macotakara 'sources' confirmed the Cupertino brand would be honouring the same upgrade cycle from now on.
According to analyst Shaw Wu, the Cupertino firm has reduced the number of iPhone orders by 20%-25% for the next quarter ahead of the release.
But rumours have persisted that the iPhone 5 release date is June 2012. It seems Foxconn was even gearing up for that date. Production was reported to be very close in late March 2012. iPhone 5 form factor
Unlike the iPhone 4S, the new iPhone will be a completely new design from what has gone before, so that means an entirely new casing as we saw with the iPhone 3G and, later, the iPhone 4. Power up your iPhone
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Interestingly, someone who claimed to have seen a larger iPhone 5 prototype said in November 2011 that Steve Jobs canned the new size and opted for the iPhone 4S. According to Business Insider, it was feared that a new size would create a two-tier iPhone ecosystem.
Beatweek also claimed in November 2011 that the 5-inch was scrapped "because Apple wouldn't be able to do it properly" this year. However, the Daily Mail (make of that what you will) then suggested that a four-inch version was likely and that Sony has already shipped top secret demo screens to Apple.
The Taipei Times reported at the end of May 2012 that Stone Wu, senior analyst at IHS Displaybank, reckons Sony began production of in-cell touch panels back in February, as it readied stock for the next generation of iPhone. iPhone 5 specs
Based on the roadmap of mobile chip design specialist ARM (of which Apple is a licensee), we'll see a quad-core processor debut in the new iPhone 5 - probably called the Apple A6. We've seen other quad core handsets debut in 2012, so it's not too much of a stretch to say that the iPhone 5 will be the same. Game on!50 best free iPhone games on the planet
We had expected some kind of help in terms of predicting the iPhone 5 CPU from the launch of the new iPad, but the announcement of a slightly tweaked A5X processor really didn't help things there.
In terms of other specs aside from the screen (more on that below), rumours are persisting that the iPhone 5 may have a new dock connector. Well, it had to happen sometime didn't it? iPhone 5 will have 4G/LTE support
After the new iPad's launch brought 4G to an Apple device, it's widely expected that 4G will come to iPhone 5. And with many 4G handsets already announced in the US, it can't be long before the iPhone supports 4G technologies - even if we won't even have a UK spectrum auction until late this year or maybe early next.
Because of the 4G fuss over the new iPad in the UK, we'd expect this to be played down in any UK handset - or the UK might get a different version entirely of course.
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Steve Jobs' iPhone 5 legacy
Many sites have reported that Steve Jobs was working hard on the iPhone 5 project, which will apparently be a "radical redesign". We shall see... but the fact the iPhone 4S was so similar to the iPhone 4 suggests that Steve was working on something pretty special before
Check out this handy iPhone 5 video detailing the latest rumours on release date, spec and more - so check if out for a quick fix of next-gen Apple fun:
The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that: "Apple is also developing a new iPhone model, said people briefed on the phone. One person familiar said the fifth-generation iPhone would be a different form factor than those that are currently available… it was unclear how soon that version would be available to Verizon or other carriers."
This has since been backed up by reports from Engadget, which state the design will be a 'total rethink'. iPhone 5 screen
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Various sources claim the iPhone 5 will feature a larger, 4-inch screen. Digitimes quotes the source as saying that Apple is expanding the screen size "to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market."
On 23 May 2011, we reported on rumours that the iPhone 5 could feature a curved glass screen. These rumours also came from Digitimes, which said that Apple has purchased between 200 and 300 special glass cutting machines because they're too costly for the manufacturers to invest in.
In March 2012, new reports suggested that the new iPhone 5 would come sporting a larger 4.6-inch retina display, while April rumours even suggested the next iPhone will use new touch technology and will be encased in something called "liquidmetal."
During May, The Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying the device will definitely sport a 4-inch display. iPhone 5 digital wallet - NFC
There's been some speculation that Apple might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5, turning it into a kind of credit/debit card. Fully testedRead our in-depth iPhone 4S review
However, with the tech being inside the Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as well as a host of other top smartphones, the time for NFC may finally be here.
On 24 June 2011 it was reported that the Google Wallet mobile payment platform could feature on the new iPhone. Eric Schmidt admitted that Google is looking to port the software to other manufacturers.
However, on 31 January 2012 9to5Mac claimed to have spoken with a well-connected developer who disclosed information received from Apple iOS engineers saying they are "heavily into NFC".
The developer in question has not been named, but is working on a dedicated iOS app which includes NFC reading for mobile transactions. When questioned how confident he was on the information he had received his reply was "Enough to bet the app development on".
On April 30 2012 an Apple patent filing reinforced the idea NFC in iPhone 5. iPhone 5 camera
Sony makes the camera for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Speaking at a live Wall Street Journal event, Sony's Sir Howard Stringer was talking about the company's camera image sensor facility in Sendai, a town that was recently ravaged by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
According to 9to5Mac, he said something along the lines of, "Our best sensor technology is built in one of the [tsunami] affected factories. Those go to Apple for their iPhones… or iPads. Isn't that something? They buy our best sensors from us."
Sources have also suggested the new iPhone could have an 8MP camera. Indeed, Sony announced in January 2012 that it had developed new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors which are smaller in size. iPhone 5 price
If the iPhone 5 is an evolutionary step like the move from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S then we'd expect the price to stay more or less the same, although in the UK higher VAT rates may well mean a higher price tag.
It's pretty much nailed on that the new iPhone will cost around £500 for a 16GB / 32GB model (depending on the capacity Apple whacks in there) and unless the iPhone 5 comes with some truly next generation technology that pricing model should hold firm.
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