This roundup was originally published June 24.
As we wait for the official announcement of the next iPhone, we only can guess about what we’re going to see. Apple, after all, always generates a ton of gossip in the absence of real details about upcoming devices. Some of the rumors about the new handset contradict each other–one camp suggests a minor update with an iPhone 4S, while another predicts a big update with an iPhone 5–but disagreement, after all, is often what the rumor mill is all about.
Since all that conflicting information can be hard to track, we offer this handy timeline of iPhone 5 rumors so far in 2011. We’ll add to it as we go along, and please let us know if we’ve left any juicy tidbits out.
Same size display
Taiwan’s DigiTimes rebuts earlier rumors that the iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display. Instead, DigitTimes says that the new handset will keep the current touch-screen size of 3.5 inches, or will grow slightly larger to 3.7 inches. Apple will, however, adopt a design with a thinner bezel for the display panel, which would make it appear larger.
Citing “a contact within T-Mobile,” Apple-tracking blog MacTrast says the U.S. carrier will be getting a version of the iPhone 5 that will run on the company’s 3G network sometime in “early to mid-October.”
Apple’s TV commercials
AppleInsider says that Apple has begun production on television advertisements to promote the iPhone 5 that will run the first week of October.
No flash on front camera
Though previous rumors indicated that the iPhone 5 will have a front-facing LED flash, 9to5mac cites a leak in the parts distribution chain that suggests otherwise.
ATT expects a busy October
According to Boy Genius Report, the next iPhone will launch in early October. The blog says an ATT vice president has reportedly warned employees to “expect things to get really, really busy in the next 35 to 50 days, so prepare your teams accordingly.”
An October 7 release
9To5Mac says that Apple is considering an October 7 release for the iPhone 5 with preorders starting September 30. If that date is correct, the company would hold an unveiling event in early September.
LTE in Apple stores
Citing an anonymous source, Engadget reports that LTE equipment is being installed at a major Apple store. The equipment supports the 700MHz band of spectrum, which could be used by ATT or T-Mobile.
Carriers testing LTE iPhones
Boy Genius Report says that at least one carrier is testing an iPhone with support for LTE networks.
iPhone 5 mockups
Apple news and rumor site MacRumors commissioned CiccareseDesign to create mockups of the iPhone 5 based on the original leaked case designs. The renderings show a sleek handset with a 4-inch display and elongated Home button.
According to Japanese Web site Kodawarisan, Apple is planning a media event for September 7 where it will unveil its new iPod lineup and perhaps the iPhone 5. But before you clear all appointments for September 7, another report by AppleNApps says the company will hold a separate event for the occasion, where Apple will not only introduce the iPhone 5 but also a cloud-based iPhone.
China Telecom to get two new iPhones?
A report by China-based Sohu.com says Apple and China Telecom have reached a “preliminary agreement” to start selling the iPhone before the end of October. And it’s not just any iPhone, it’s rumored to be the iPhone 5 alongside a “simplified” iPhone 4.
10 million handsets in September
DigiTimes says that Pegatron will produce 10 million iPhone 5 units. According to an unnamed source, the handsets will ship to Apple in September, which would pave the way for a release any time after that.
iPhone 5: 20 most-wanted features (photos)
iPhone 5 out for testing
The Guardian (U.K.) reports that wireless carriers have received highly secure boxes containing iPhone 5s that the operators are using to test network compatibility.
No vacations for you
Gizmodo cites an e-mail allegedly from an ATT employee, which says that the carrier is denying any vacations requested during the last two weeks of September “due to an event blackout.” According to the employee, the only other times vacations were denied in the past were during iPhone release periods.
Or maybe in October
Going the other direction, a story on AllThingsD quotes a source “with knowledge of the plans” who says, “I don’t know why ATT’s calling for all hands on deck those weeks, but it’s not for an iPhone launch.” Instead, the source says that the next iPhone will come in October.
A white iPhone 4S
In a rather convoluted tale, MacRumors highlighted a forum post from Vietnamese site Tinhte that claims to have a new version of the iPhone 4. Differences between the new version and the current handset are few, but Tinhte says it’s a bit faster, it weighs less, and it has a plastic shell instead of glass.
A new case for a new design
U.K. blog Mobile Fun receives new iPhone case designs from two manufacturers. They point to a major redesign that includes a larger screen and home button, and a curved back.
ATT and Apple get to work
MacRumors reports that Apple is bringing back former employees to work part-time between August 15 and September 15. Though that time period coincides with the back-to-school season, it also falls within the long-rumored early September iPhone release window. Also, according to Boy Genius Report, ATT is preparing its employees for more foot traffic at its stores in September. A source told the blog that the carrier has asked its managers and employees to finish any current training as soon as possible.
Now hiring for an August iPhone
After some clever detective work, CNET UK finds a job posting repeated throughout the United Kingdom that asks for “Apple iPhone Sales Specialists” to work in Apple retail stores. The temporary positions would last from mid-August through the end of October and would be for what the recruiter describes as “an exciting project.”
A modest update
BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman claims in a note to investors that Apple will introduce just an iPhone 4S model in September. The iPhone 4S would include only modest feature upgrades and the design would be unchanged.
Two new iPhones to come
Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore predicts that Apple will introduce two iPhones later this year. The first will be a full next-generation handset (most likely an iPhone 5), while the second will be a revamped iPhone 4 (probably called an iPhone 4S) that Apple will target to customers on prepaid cell phone plans.
A third-quarter release
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said that Apple will start “aggressively” making the next iPhone in August and launch the handset late in the third quarter of this year. Huberty made the remarks after a trip to Taiwan where she presumably met with Apple suppliers.
Again, in September
Bloomberg reports that the new iPhone will have a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and support for iOS 5. The new handset will sport a design similar to the iPhone 4’s and will be released in September to coincide with iOS 5’s debut. On a related note, Bloomberg’s source also repeats a rumor that Apple is developing a cheaper iPhone for developing countries.
An iPhone 5 in full September
The Boy Genius Report predicts that Apple will announce the fully revamped iPhone 5 in early August with a release date later in the month. If true, that timing would bend from tradition, given that Apple usually holds an iPod-themed event in September.
A curved display
DigiTimes suggests that the iPhone 5 will have a curved glass screen like the Samsung Nexus S’ “Contour” design. DigiTimes also says that Apple has bought 200 or 300 glass-cutting machines to be used by glassmakers.
A global iPhone for Verizon
While speaking at the Reuters Global Technology Summit, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo says that Big Red will carry the next iPhone and that it will “operate in as many countries as ATT’s global iPhone.” Shammo’s comments also suggest that the device won’t have LTE.
Small changes, but on all carriers
Jefferies Co. analyst Peter Misek says the next iPhone will show only incremental changes and will lack support for 4G LTE networks. Besides a few cosmetic tweaks, he predicts better cameras, an A5 dual-core processor, and support for HSPA+ networks. Though he says the new device could land at all four major U.S. carriers beginning in September, Misek likens the upgrade to what we saw from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS.
A5 processor and a bigger camera
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the device will get an A5 processor and a much-improved 8-megapixel rear camera and that it will be released in October or November.
Suppliers still in the dark
DigiTimes writes that part suppliers in Taiwan still don’t know Apple’s needs for the handset. What’s more, the outlet also says that production of iPhone 4 displays is still going strong.
Trouble with suppliers
AppleInsider quotes an Avian Securities note to investors, which suggests that production will start in September. According to the note, the latest information is “consistent with other findings the organization has heard in recent months.” What’s more, another rumor mentions that Apple is taking its time finding enough parts suppliers.
A bigger display, part four
A new Apple patent application depicts a screen that’s built into the area surrounding the traditional touch screen. This could free up space on the main display, and open up new directions for developers.
An October release
A Japanese blog reports that because Apple is behind schedule on securing parts, the iPhone 5 launch could be pushed to October. The blog also says the company is deciding whether to change the back of the iPhone from glass to metal.
NFC, larger display, and a new antenna
China Times claims the iPhone 5 will have a slightly larger screen, a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip, an A5 processor, and a tweaked antenna design to address attenuation. The release date is only set as “later this year.”
The same day, The New York Times confirms that future iPhones will have an NFC chip.
A bigger display, part three
Reseller iDealsChina posts a “mold engineering” drawing that vendors use to develop iPhone accessories. The drawing shows a handset with an iPhone 4-like design but with a larger display.
A5 processor, part two
In a deep dive of the new iOS 4.3 code, Apple developers found signs that Apple may add an A5 dual-core processor in the next iPhone version. That would put the handset on par with the iPad 2’s processing power.
Looking like the iPad
Design is the focus of this rumor, which suggests that Apple will ditch the glass backing on the iPhone 4 for a metal backing, revamp the antenna, and add tapered ends. The end result will be something like the iPad.
The A5 chip rumor is raised again when DigiTimes reports that Apple is outsourcing the production of the processor, which will be based on the ARM Cortex A9 design.
A bigger display
Speculation builds that the new handset will offer a 4-inch, “edge-to-edge” display. The reports suggest that the move would be a direct response to the display design of many Android devices.
No home button
An anonymous Apple source told the Boy Genius Report that both the iPad 2 and the next-generation iPhone would lose their home buttons in favor of gesture-based commands that would be part of iOS 4.3.