iPhone 5 Buzz Builds
The iPhone 5 is now being tested on Apple's campus. You know what that means... Speculation time!
A source from Foxconn who we believe to be reliable has provided us with some information about Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone. Most of the information lines up with past reports but we have also learned a few new details. Most notably is that the iPhone 5 has already been seen at Foxconn and is soon going into the normal mass production stages. In terms of design, the iPhone 5 is said to look fairly similar to the iPhone 4 except for two very important differences: materials and screen size.
The iPhone 5 will keep a relatively similar size and shape as the iPhone 4 but Apple has decided to move away from the back-glass enclosure found on the fourth-generation device and move to something similar to the back of the first-generation iPhone from 2007. Although some reports claim the iPhone 5 will adopt a curved metal back, our source says models have been floating around with a flat metal back. The material of this metal is unspecified. Our brains say aluminum but our hearts wonder if this could be Liquid Metal.
Several iPhone parts and repair firms reported that they've gained access to parts of an unknown iPhone model, and the web has exploded with excitement. Superficially similar to the iPhone 4's signature metal frame, the internal structural pieces reveal that Apple's evolved the design somewhat. A video of the metal chassis being compared in detail to the iPhone 4's one, was placed on YouTube by GlobalDirectParts.com, but it's since been subjected to a takedown notice, and Google reveals the source of that notice was "Apple Inc."
Not an iPhone 4 Prototype
The YouTube takedown means the intrigue has dialed up a notch--Apple seems to act in this heavy-handed manner only for a genuine leak, whether it's over leaked designs for the iPad 2's protective cases, or the dramatic leak of a prototype iPhone 4 last year by Gizmodo.com. Whatever these new parts are, they are something Apple would prefer not to have in public view, which implies they're not development parts for the iPhone 4 that have found their way into the public domain by accident.
Rear camera gone, evolved, or just moved?
GlobalDirectPart's video revealed a host of tiny design tweaks, but one biggish one too - the new parts don't seem to have a hole for a rear-facing camera. Some commenters have pondered that this means a camera-free version is on the way, for enterprise users. We think it merely suggests Apple has sourced slimmer components for the phone's camera, and worked out how better to build it into the frame. This suggests Apple may not be going for a higher-res unit this time, or one that has neat tech like mechanical zoom--it may stick with 5-megapixels.
Is this the iPhone 5?
What do we think these parts are? We think they're really the iPhone 5. It's consistent with Apple's strategy of refining a design before radically making it over--think of the iPhone 3G and 3GS--and there're too many detailed design tweaks here, implying some big internal changes. The antenna configuration changes could mean the iPhone 5 is both CDMA and GSM-capable, and that would tally with Apple's habit of selling one design to everyone. And we know it's definitely coming to Verizon, with access to millions more customers in the U.S.
PRLog notifies us:
The iPhone 5 will feature a revised notification system
Apple's iOS is behind other operating systems in notifications - in fact, if you use an Android handset, iOS is around 3 years behind with no live widget screen updates. One thing Apple will definitely do with the iPhone 5 is release an updated version to iOS, including a better notification system for messages, social networking and email.
That next iPhone, which analysts and pundits have dubbed "iPhone 5" for the moment, will probably be introduced to the public on June 6, the opening day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the event that Apple has used since 2008 to roll out its newest model.
A completely redesigned handset -- which our sources say is on track for a summer launch. Right now, the device is being tested discreetly by senior staff at Apple (strictly on campus only). We don't have much info on the phone at this point, but our understanding is that the new device will be a total rethink from a design standpoint and will be running atop Apple's new A5 CPU (a Cortex A9-based, multi-core chip). This device, like the iPad 2, will feature a Qualcomm chipset that does triple duty as the CDMA / GSM / UMTS baseband processor -- from what we hear there's no LTE in the mix at this point.
When Verizon launched its long-awaited iPhone in mid-February, customers like Ray Leon of Guadalupe, Calif., said the unlimited data plan was enough to prompt him to switch out of the AT&T network and onto Verizon. It wouldn't be surprising to see Verizon wait until Apple (AAPL) launches its iPhone 5 this summer before instituting a move to tiered data plans for new customers.
More news as it develops....