iPhone 5 release date, price, specs, news & rumours
15th Jul 2012 | 07:20
Update: New Apple iPhone 5 rumours hint at an August 7th unveiling and release date confirmation
Update: Latest iPhone 5 rumours have suggested that the eagerly awaited Apple iPhone 5 release date will be confirmed during a special launch event on August 7th.
Rumours surrounding the iPhone 5’s release date, potential specs and features, and price have fuelled reports that Apple is gearing up to launch its next-gen smartphone around summer time.
The handset, which is rumoured to be named the new iPhone, is reportedly under construction – and the rumour mill has been busy speculating about what we can expect to see from the device, if and when it lands.
While none of the below have been confirmed by Apple – the company is notoriously good at keeping secrets – we’ve rounded up all the speculation dished out by sources, experts & fanboys to get some clue on what to expect from the iPhone 5.
Apple iPhone 5: Release Date
Handset blog Know Your Mobile has cited a 'reliable industry source' in suggesting that Apple will hold a special keynote speech on August 7 to officially confirm the long awaited iPhone 5 release date, a date that is expected to follow later the same month. It is said that Apple has brought the unveiling of its next-gen handset from the widely rumoured October release in order to quell the rise of the rival Android powered Samsung Galaxy S3.
Previously, respected Japanese Apple blog Macotakara had alleged it had received word from "Asian sources" who claim that Apple will launch the device in September or October 2012 which would fit with last year’s arrival of the iPhone 4S.
"According to Asian reliable source, next iPhone will be released in September or October, and this cycle seems to be kept for years," read a translated portion of the report.
If the article proves to be accurate, it would mean the company is returning to the 12-month launch cycles we saw for the first four versions of the beloved device.
Last year's October iPhone 4S launch was the only time Apple has verged from the summer cycle, making users wait 15 months instead of the usual 12 for a new handset.
While the iPhone 4S was more of an evolutionary upgrade, with a faster processor an improved camera and the addition of the Siri voice control app, the iPhone 5 is likely to bring a more revolutionary approach, perhaps with the addition of a 4G LTE internet and a larger screen size.
Apple iPhone 5: Price
The 16GB iPhone 4S lines up in retailers with a hefty £499 price tag. Prices continue up all the way to £699 for the 64GB edition.
Ahead of the iPhone 4S successor’s announcement, it is believed that the sixth-gen model will simply replace the iPhone 4s in terms of price points and range of models with any 128GB storage option likely to hit the £799 price mark.
Apple iPhone 5: Name
Following the March launch of the new iPad, eports have suggested that Apple is to cease the numbered naming convention of its pocket blowers and move the market leading iPhone range in line with its Mac offerings which see multiple product overhauls occur whilst maintaining the same base name.
“About two weeks ago we got a tip from a reliable source that Apple was going to call the iPhone 5 the new “iPhone,” according to Apple blog 9to5Mac.
“That seemed a little nuts at the time but what a difference a Keynote makes. Apple chopped the suffix off if the iPad as part of a branding makeover that will likely expand.
The report added: “Just like iMac is not called iMac 1,2,3 it looks like Apple won’t be doing the numbering on iOS devices (though it never did with the iPod touch).”
Apple iPhone 5: Display
Update: Apple has reportedly begun manufacturing on its rumoured iPhone 5 handsets. Reports suggest Sony has been working on display components for the Californian company’s next-gen smartphone since February – and will ramp up production on the panels at the end of this month.
According to AppleInsider, the consumer electronics manufacturer is working in conjunction with other firms, such as Toshiba Mobile Display and LG Display Co, to roll out enough panels for the heavily rumoured device, expected to launch later this year.
Stone Wu, a senior analyst at IHS Displaybank, said: “Even for those companies that start mass production in May, they can only reach an average yield of 65 to 70 per cent at present.”
Although there has been no official word on the iPhone 5’s screen size, rumours suggest growing competition and market pressures will see Apple introduce a new plus 4-inch model.
These rumours have been backed up by a selection of industry analysts that have suggested Apple will be forced into the screen size overhaul as competition from rival handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, intensify.
Speaking with T3, industry specialist Daniel Ashdown from tech analysis company Juniper Research suggested Apple may opt for a larger screen for the iPhone 5.
He said: "It will be particularly interesting to see what the size of the display will be given that it has not changed thus far since the iPhone was launched with a 3.5-inch screen.
"Competitors have increased their devices to up to 4.3". We would be surprised if they [Apple] didn't break from tradition this time and increase the size of the next model."
Contrary to these claims, other reports have suggested Apple will retain its 3.5-inch iPhone display for future handsets as a larger screen could disturb the iOS platform’s offering of apps.
Apple iPhone 5: Specs
Update: The key reason for current users to upgrade to an iPhone 5 later this year will be a 'sleek unibody casing', according to an industry analyst.
In a note to investors, Brian J. White of Topeka Capital Markets reckons production will begin on a new 4-inch iPhone in June this year, following a recent visit to suppliers in Taiwan and China, AppleInsider reported.
He says the sixth generation iPhone device will boast a look similar to the single sheet aluminium casings featured on recent iterations of the Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines.
He wrote: "In our view, this will be the most significant iPhone upgrade with a four-inch screen and a new, sleek look that we believe will require a Unibody case.
“This new, sleek look will be the most important reason that consumers decide to upgrade."
Meanwhile, despite the on-going legal battles between the two companies over repeated patent infringements, Samsung looks set to continue its role as a component supplier for Apple’s iDevices.
The Korean firm is reported to be providing the quad-core A6 chips to feature within the iPhone 5.
“Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor (AP) chips to be used in the next iPhone,” sources told KoreaTimes.
They added: “It appears that Apple clearly has concluded that Samsung remains a critical business partner.”
Meanwhile, further reports have suggested Apple is to shave millimetres off the form of its next-generation handset thanks to the introduction of a new streamlined Sony camera sensor.
Whilst handsets and tablets continue to ship with increasingly slim form factors, the lack of cut sized camera sensors has started to slow the possibilities of even slimmer devices.
Sony, however, has announced a new back-illuminated CMOS sensor tipped for inclusion within the Apple iPhone 5 that will allow for increasingly thin designs with improved functionality.
"This image sensor layers the pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels onto chips containing the circuit section for signal processing, which is in place of supporting substrates for conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors," the component's description declared.
"This structure achieves further enhancement in image quality, superior functionalities and a more compact size that will lead to enhanced camera evolution.”
Apple iPhone 5: Design
Update: The next generation Apple iPhone 5 could appear longer and thinner, with a widescreen aspect ratio, reports suggest.
9to5Mac has received word from its sources that the company will launch the device with a 3.999-inch screen (diagonally) with a resolution of 640 x 1136, compared to the existing 640 x 960, 3.5-inch offering.
The width of the screen will remain the same, but the device would be longer, if the article is correct. This contradicts claims that the Californian firm will include a 4-inch screen on the rumoured device.
The Apple news site says it knows of two prototype iPhone 5 devices currently being tested, both of which sport the new screen size.
A key advantage of the new aspect ratio, which is close to 16:9, will be full-screen native video, but 9to5Mac reckons the company is planning to integrate an extra row of app icons on the homescreen, making five in total.
It'll also allow for "extended application user interfaces that offer views of more content," according to the report.
The site added that it also believes current plans will see a smaller, redesigned dock connector, which will eventually graduate to all iOS devices.
Other reports have claimed something similar.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that its 'in-the-know' contact believes the iPhone 5 will feature a “different form factor”, adopting a brand new design following the antennagate issues that resulted in signal problems with the iPhone 4.
Since then Engadget has spoken to multiple sources who claim that a complete redesign of the handset body is on the cards and that the device is already being tested by staff at Apple HQ.
Also on the cards for the iPhone 5 is an all-metal back, similar to that found on the original iPhone, reportedly in a bid to avoid the embarrassing antenna issues experienced on the iPhone 4.
The glass posterior of the iPhone 4 was also prone to unsightly cracks if treated roughly, and was rumoured to be the cause of the delay of the white model - a headache all round for Apple.
An Apple patent also points to the iPhone using smaller conductive nodes beneath the screen, allowing for the overall device to be slimmer.
Apple iPhone 5: Camera
New reports have suggested the iPhone 5 will land with a high-spec 3D snapper.
In fact, Cupertino-based Apple is also expected to include the hardware in all of its upcoming mobile devices, TrustedReviews reports.
In March, the Apple-dedicated site Patently Apple published details of what it claims to be of a patent registered by Apple. The patent outlines a 3D imaging camera that will reportedly allow users to make use of advanced micro lenses to add visual depth to extra-dimensional snaps.
A post on the site reads: “Apple has invented a killer 3D imaging camera that will apply to both still photography and video.
“The new cameras in development will utilize new depth-detection sensors such as LIDAR, RADAR and Laser that will create stereo disparity maps in creating 3D imagery.
“Additionally, the cameras will use advanced chrominance and luminance Sensors for superior color accuracy.”
We’re not sure what to make of a 3D camera, purely because we’ve played with them before and had mixed opinions.
But then again, this is Apple, so we could possibly see something remarkably new (and improved) than the lacklustre 3D kit found in, say, the Nintendo 3DS (please don’t shoot us!).