Rumours are hotting up as we near the launch of Apple’s upcoming iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5, so we’ve rounded up all of the latest in one place to keep you up to date with what’s expected when the popular smartphone launches.
We’ll regularly update this story as new information comes in about Apple’s upcoming iPhone
When will the next iPhone launch?
It looks likely that the iPhone 5 will launch on the 12 September, and could be available to buy on 21 September. Apple has now officially issued an invitation to a 12 September special event in San Francisco, which you can see below. Several analysts believe that the event will be the biggest electronics launch in history. (If you can’t wait until then, there’s always this knock-off Android powered iPhone 5!)
Apple has been busy preparing the 12 September event’s venue in San Francisco, decortating it with an enormous colourful banner that conceals several iOS icons.
iLounge was first to report that Apple would be holding a special event on that date, citing “sources who have proven accurate in the past,” who also believe we could see an iPad mini and a new iPod launch at the event. However, a survey has suggested that it would be a mistake for Apple to launch both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini at the same event, as 80 per cent of consumers would opt for the iPhone 5, and leave the iPad mini.
Following that report, more evidence of a 12 September event flooded in from publications such as The Verge, The New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg and AllThingsD. Each publication reported that their sources had given the same 12 September launch date for the iPhone.
Reports are suggesting that Apple has purposefully leaked the news of the iPhone 5 launch, and potentially bought the launch forward in the hope of it impacting the next quarter’s financial results.
New iPhone 5 special event
Since the rumours of the 12 September launch, eBay has seen a 70 per cent increase in iPhone 4S trade-ins, as owners rush to sell their devices before the next model arrives. Some third party retailers have dropped the prices of current iPhone models, and Apple is reportedly offering a price match service at its retail stores in the US.
On September 8, Apple’s share price closed at an all-time high, at US$680.44 a share, a surge that most experts attributed to investors’ anticipation of the iPhone 5 launch.
New iPhone 5 on sale date
Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenhiemer said that Apple “could not be more confident” in its new product line, and mentioned a spring “transition,” which is expected to be a reference to the next iPhone’s launch. This transition was brought up in the Q&A after the presentation, which Oppenhiemer responded with: “It’s not something that we’re going to talk about in any level of detail today.”
It is believed that Sharp will begin shipping screens for the iPhone 5 in August, and it has also been reported that Pegatron has begun production of the new iPhone in preparation for a September launch. Japanese Mac blog MacOtakara has agreed that Chinese manufacturers are beginning to ramp up production of the sixth-generation iPhone.
Taobao, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5, listing the device along with purported mock-up images and technical specifications.
According to analyst research, Apple expects to sell more than 263 million iPhone 5 units, and Gene Munster has recently revealed that he believes a September launch of the iPhone 5 will add six to ten million iPhones to Apple’s Q4 results.
What will the iPhone 5 look like?
Phone 5 leaks are cropping up all over the place in the lead up to the expected 12 September launch. It was spotted at IFA, on Chinese websites and in the hands of a popstar within the first week of September.
The new iPhone 5 will have a larger 4in display
The consensus is that Apple’s next iPhone will have a larger display, possibly achieved by making the device taller and allowing space for 24 apps on the home screen.
At the end of July, a fully assembled iPhone was constructed from components leaked from the Chinese suppliers, and photographs of the device were published online.
The iPhone 5 could also be 1.4mm thinner than the iPhone 4S, according to an analyst. This could be achieved through the use of in-cell technology in the touchscreen, combined with a thinner battery. Measurements taken from parts that are believed to have been leaked from Apple’s assembly line reveal that the iPhone 5 could be 18 per cent thinner than the iPhone 4S.
In early August, a detailed hands-on video of the iPhone 5 front panel hit the web. Watch it here.
Images of possible iPhone 5 logic board surfaced on a Chinese forum in August, while iResQ has assembled an iPhone rear-case complete with leaked internal parts.
New iPhone 5 small dock connection rumour
Apple was granted a patent for a smaller dock connector in July. It is expected that Apple will reduce the size from the current 30-pin design to a 19-pin or possibly even 8-pin design. A reference to a 9-pin dock connector was spotted in the coding of the iOS 6 beta.
Some recently leaked iPhone 5 accessories from third-party maker Scosche have also added evidence to the smaller dock connector rumours.
However, it has also emerged that a high school student started one of the smaller dock connector rumours as part of a school project.
Respected Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko is a reliable bellweather for new features and has written a list of new iPhone 5 features he thinks are good bets and ones that are up in the air.
Apple iPhone 5 to have AirPlay Direct
Apple is said to be planning a new type of wireless technology called AirPlay direct that allows wireless music playback without the need for a WiFi network. If so we may see this introduced with the new iPhone 5.
What other features will the iPhone 5 have?
Data from alleged iPhone 5 prototypes has led to the speculation that Apple will implement Near Field Communication (NFC) in the device. An Apple patent also suggests that a NFC chip will be introduced in the iPhone 5, enabling users to quickly send iTunes gifts to one another.
NFC could be used in conjunction with Apple’s new Passbook app, which will arrive with iOS 6 this spring.
Another patent indicates that Apple could use an NFC chip in future iPhones to control digital devices around the home, including other Apple products, games consoles, digital cameras, or even sprinkler systems and thermostats.
On 9 August, Apple was granted an NFC shopping list patent that could also be used in future iPhones.
It is expected that the iPhone 5 will launch with iOS 6, Apple’s next mobile operating system. iOS 6 will introduce a raft of new features to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, including Apple-designed Maps, Siri improvements, 3G FaceTime and Shared Photo Stream.
Apple could also issue completely redesigned headphones with the iPhone 5.
Also spotted in the latest beta of iOS 6 is the introduction of a new ‘WiFi Plus Cellular’ feature.
When Apple launched iOS 6 beta 4 to developers on 6 August, it emerged that the company is dropping Google’s YouTube app from the operating system. This, and the omission of Google’s Maps app, indicates a very public break-up between Apple and Google.
The new iPad has 4G LTE technology, leading to the conclusion that the feature will be introduced to the iPhone too, fuelled by recent discussions in Korea, though the improved internet access is largely redundant in Australia at present.
Of course, it’s largely possible that Apple will not launch an iPhone 5 at all. It’s sure to launch a sixth-generation iPhone but it is expected that the company could follow the naming conventions of its new iPad, dropping the number altogether.