Updated Features, specs and more on the new iPhone 5
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 rumours on the new iPhone 5 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 new iPhone 5 rumours video first?
iPhone 5 release date
IPHONE 5 RELEASE DATE UPDATE
Apple has finally gotten round to sending journalists an invite to the launch of its new handset, with the iPhone 5 release date officially pegged for September 12. The shadow on the invite shows a 5, which almost definitely means Apple is to call its latest handset the iPhone 5 – so, no more ‘new’ then.
Given the pattern of Apple’s iPhone launches, we’re expecting the new iPhone 5 release date to be mid to late 2012.
At Apple’s WWDC 2012 event in early June we learnt a lot more about iOS 6, but there was no hardware (well, apart from new Macs). Check out the launch news as well as iOS 6: everything you need to know.
While early reports pegged the new iPhone release date for October, landing closely to last year’s schedule, it seems we’ll be seeing the phone in September this year as Apple looks to take on Samsung’s new phone sooner rather than later, with multiple sources claiming we’ll see Apple take to the stage on September 12, although claims we’ll see it launch alongside the iPad Mini seem a bit outlandish.
Don’t take our word for it though: our crack TR news team has a special iPhone 5 bulletin to give an ‘alternative’ view on what should be coming:
Adding more fuel to the September iPhone 5 release date fire is the rumour which says pre-orders for the new iPhone will start on the same date – something we’ve seen Apple do with other products – with stock expected to ship on September 21.
According to analyst Shaw Wu, the Cupertino firm has reduced the number of iPhone orders by 20%-25% for this quarter, ahead of the release.
It seems that Foxconn will again be manufacturing the handset. It’ll put the Samsung Galaxy S3 “to shame” according to the CEO of Foxconn, Terry Gou – though he didn’t say how.
According to reports, networks in both the UK and US are clearing stock and schedules ahead of the iPhone 5 release date falling in September – with German carrier Mobilcom Debitel advertising for the new iPhone in September, although this may be just guesswork.
This rumour has been further exacerbated by news that both AT&T and Verizon have reportedly told staff to forget taking holiday around the 21 Sept, which is often the biggest sign of an impending iPhone launch.
iPhone 5 name
We reckon iPhone 5 is still the possible name of the new iPhone, but it could follow the new iPad and end up being called, simply, the new iPhone. We really hope not. One thing is for sure, Apple has already filed a complaint over the ownership of the iPhone5.com URL.
Apple is apparently testing two versions of the next iPhone, which are known as “iPhone5,1” and “iPhone5,2” – so could handset number six for Apple actually be called number five?
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.
Interestingly, someone who claimed to have seen a larger iPhone 5 prototype said in 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.
[Image credit: 9to5Mac]
A new iPhone 5 backplate leaked in early May – they were acquired by 9to5 Mac, but look like the combination of a lot of the other rumours we’ve heard about the shape and size of the new handset. These feature bigger speaker grills as well as a four inch screen and a two-tone back with brushed aluminum .
And a picture of the front has been leaked too, with a lovely side-by-side comparison with the iPhone 4S for good measure, courtesy of KitGuru:
The two-tone back was also spotted in a video from eTrade Supply, which again showed the relocation of the headphone jack as well as a smaller connector and redesigned speaker grills.
A detailed video render of all the iPhone 5 rumoured/leaked images was also uploaded to YouTube in early June.
Another video claims to show off the front panel of the new iPhone, and confirms a similar width to the iPhone 4S but will be taller and thinner. The SIM trays will also be smaller than the previous microSIM options, with the new nanoSIM style the default now for even tinier component – which is backed up by news of mobile operators stockpiling nanoSIMs.
The new iPhone may touch down at a svelte 7.6mm in thickness, making it one of the slimmest smartphones on the market, and 1.7mm thinner than the iPhone 4S.
We’ve also seen a Chinese site claim to have a fully assembled iPhone 5 chassis – bringing together all the design aspects mentioned in previous leaks, including a smaller dock, relocated headphone jack, centralised front facing camera and two-tone back.
Credit: iLab Factory
We’ve also seen another ‘complete’ iPhone 5 from another site, posted side-by-side with the iPhone 4… but let’s be honest, these mock-ups are appearing all over the place now.
iPhone 5 connections
If you’re a fan of your current iPhone dock, then look away now: rumours surrounding that famous Apple 30-pin connector on the base of the iPhone have flared up again, with Reuters reporting that the dock connector is getting smaller to make room for a 3.5mm headphone jack on the base of the new iPhone 5.
Some rumours are even claiming Apple will opt for a smaller 8-pin option over the current 30-pin port or rumoured 19-pin version – or a slight change to a 9-pin offering that will appear on the base of the device.
The latter seems to have been confirmed by a USB cable set for the new range of Apple products – although it looks a bit dull compared to the iconic 30-pin connector of yore.
Well, it had to happen sometime didn’t it?
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 new iPhone 5 will be the same.
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.
According to a tip to 9to5Mac, the CPU will be the S5L8950X. Again this could be a derivative of the A5, but as 9to5Mac points out, Apple is probably working on a low-power 32nm version of the processor. As we could well have guessed, that processor will be manufactured by Samsung but designed by Apple itself.
New photos have shown what some believe to be the new internal chipset, which features an A6 power unit, which may up the level to quad-core power – or could be more to allow things like NFC on board too.
Alternative other pics have hinted that we’re just going to see a dual-core power unit, which would fit with previous Apple strategy of not always going for specs…many believe dual core chips are still powerful enough, and Apple could definitely follow suit.
The same report suggests 1GB of RAM, which seems right to us. Other recent reports suggest that Apple is trying to ditch Samsung as a supplier for the iPhone 5’s DRAM and NAND chips – but it’s nothing to do with the two companies’ patent battle, honest.
Images of a range of internal gubbins, all claiming to be parts of the iPhone 5, have made their way onto the internet – possibly revealing more about Apple’s sixth generation handset.
These are interesting for a number of reasons: the battery size update is only 10mAh, which hints at not much increase in processor power, nor screen size. However, it’s perfectly plausible Apple has managed to make a more efficient version of its chipset ahead of a flagship phone launch.
The antennas inside the motherboard are updated too, so once again signal performance should be enhanced… and really does make it seem likely that we’ll see some sort of 4G support.
- Sensors, buttons and covers leaked
- New, smaller 8-pin dock connector spied, reveals double-sided port
- iPhone 5 battery leak shows minor increment which suggests dual-core processor
- New iPhone motherboard gets leaked, showing antenna changes
iPhone 5 will have 4G/LTE support
After the new iPad’s launch brought 4G (of sorts) 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 there isn’t 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 to the US entirely, although this is unlikely, since Apple would rather keep the production costs down through manufacturing only one model.
- 4G mobile broadband and LTE explained
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 he was working on something pretty special before his death.
The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that: “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.”
According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with Apple’s plans said Jobs “had worked closely on the redesigned phone before his death”.
iPhone 5 screen size
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.
During May, The Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying the device will definitely sport a 4-inch display – which seems to be the broader consensus as well – other prototypes are similar in size.
However, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to dampen the ‘larger screen’ speculation at the recent D:10 conference, saying the company has “one phone with one screen size, one resolution”.
Those of you who are keen Apple watchers will, however, know that he is wrong – the currently-available 3GS does not have the same resolution as the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Whatever, it seems Sony is involved with the display and it has been making the screen since February, ramping up production from May. A larger screen will also be welcomed by developers, as Mobilebloom points out.
The consensus now is that the new iPhone 5 will sport a 4-inch screen, which is merely lengthened to enable older apps to run with black lines above and below. It will also use new in-cell technology to produce a thinner, lighter screen.
Sharp has confirmed it will start shipping displays for the next-gen iPhone in August – although it didn’t reveal what size, the scoundrel, but does back up the September launch – and the company has since apparently run into supply problems (along with its fellow supplier LG) as the ramp up to the new iPhone continues.
We’ve seen what looks like the front panel of the new iPhone through an online video, suggesting a larger screen, 4.06-inches in size and with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The fact that the beta version of iOS 6 has a scalable option to increase the OS to fit a 640 x 1136 resolution has added more fuel to the larger screen fire.
Which retina is the best? We compare the high-res displays on Apple’s new iPad, iPhone 4S and 2012 MacBook Pro up-close:
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 credit/debit card substitute.
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.
The two tone back of the new iPhone 5 is perfect for the NFC antenna as well – plus the fact that Passbook in iOS 6 is very similar to the likes of Google Wallet and Microsoft’s Windows Phone Wallet – which both use NFC.
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.
And 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 – and leaked code from something purporting to be the new iPhone also contains a lot of information on NFC in the new iPhone.
We’ve also seen a pic of the internals for the new iPhone (pinch of salt and all that) that shows a space perfectly formed for the contactless technology.
However, hopes were seemingly dashed on September 6 2012 when new photos of the iPhone 5’s innards revealed that the space in question is probably meant for the front-facing camera. Of course, it’s not definite but things aren’t looking too good for NFC fans.
Apple would be a big name to add into the NFC ranks, and would help push the technology more firmly into users’ pockets. The likes of Visa and Mastercard are working hard on making contactless payments a part of every day life, and while our conversations with these companies haven’t yielded concrete information, they’re very hopeful Apple will be coming on board soon.
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 again. Indeed, Sony announced in January 2012 that it had developed new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors which are smaller in size. It’s also been reported that the new iPhone will have an HD front-facing camera as well.
An interesting titbit via MirrorlessRumors is that a removable iPhone back panel that would include the camera lens has been spotted in a patent document. It seems to show that the device would work either by swapping the panel, or rotating the panel to change lenses – but don’t expect this to be used in the new iPhone, since Apple very much likes to keep things simple.
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 in the UK for a 16GB or 32GB model (depending on the capacity Apple whacks in there). Unless the iPhone 5 comes with some truly next generation technology, that pricing model should hold firm.
In the US, the iPhone 4S came in at $199 for the 16GB model, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399 on a two year deal – and the same will likely appear again, although there’s a chance we’ll see a 128GB capacity for an even higher price.
Will the iPhone 5 be Liquidmetal?
Apple has added a further two years onto its exclusivity deal for the Liquidmetal technology, which also includes future updates to the tech.
Liquidmetal is a metal alloy which is super strong and boasts a range of unique properties, apparently making it perfect for consumer products.
Apple has only used the technology once so far, and that was for the small SIM card tray ejector tool for the iPhone 3G. There are rumblings that iPhone 5 could sport a Liquidmetal chassis – although it’s something the inventor of the technology was quick to eschew.
The reason it would be so cool is that it would give the iPhone the same ‘premium’ feel while offering a new style of design. We might not see it yet, but there will likely be an iPhone based on this material in the future.
iPhone 5 review
its detailed phone reviews where we look at every aspect of a handset, and we’ll be bringing you a full, in-depth iPhone 5 review when we get our hands on one.
So whether you’re reading our new iPhone 5 review or the more standard iPhone 5 review, you’ll know that you’re getting a knowledgable and fair take on Apple’s latest device. If it’s worth upgrading to we’ll let you know, and we’ll be heavily comparing it to the best on the market… which just happen to be from Apple’s courtroom adversaries, HTC and Samsung.