iPhone 5 rumor roundup

Will the iPhone 5 resemble its predecessor, the iPhone 4?

Editors’ note:

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.

August 29

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.

August 24
T-Mobile, too
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.”

August 23
Sprint gets its turn
According to The Wall Street Journal, Sprint will start selling the iPhone 5 alongside Verizon Wireless and ATT in 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.

August 22
A dual-mode iPhone 5
A source tells TechCrunch that at least one variant of the the iPhone 5 will be a world phone with support for both CDMA and GSM networks.

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.

August 19
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.”

August 17
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.

Related links
• 8 great iOS 5 tips
• A brief tour of Apple’s iOS 5
• How to keep your Web browsing private on iOS 5
• iPhone 5: 20 most-wanted features
• On Call: 5 tiny things the new iPhone needs


August 16
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.

August 12

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.

Apple prepping iPhone reveal for September 7 event?

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.

August 4
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.

August 3
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)

August 2
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.

August 1
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.

July 28
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.

4 million iPhones in September
China Times reports that Apple will produce 4 million new iPhones for release in the second week of September.

July 27
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.

July 26
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.

July 13
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.”

July 6
Suppliers get their orders
Anonymous sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple has asked suppliers to build 25 million units of its next iPhone by August for a third-quarter launch.

July 5
15 million in September
DigiTimes reports that Apple has placed an order for 15 million iPhone 5s for a September release.

July 1
Both an iPhone 4 and an iPad 3
DigiTimes says that suppliers are gearing up to help Apple produce millions of units of both an iPhone 5 and an iPad 3 for an October release.

June 29
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.

June 27
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.

June 24
A brighter flash
DigiTimes says the iPhone 5 will have a dual-LED flash.

June 22
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.

June 21
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 ‘tear drop’ design
Photos of a brand-new tapered or “tear drop” design also resurface that day.

May 23

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.

May 19
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.

May 18
An iPhone 4S
DigiTimes chimes in on the iPhone 4S side with a report that Apple will release an upgraded, but not redesigned, handset in September.

May 13
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.

April 19
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.

A September release
Reuters follows a different track with a report that Apple will begin production of the phone in July for a September release.

April 13
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.

April 11
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.

April 7
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.

March 28
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.

March 22
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.”

NFC confirmed
The same day, The New York Times confirms that future iPhones will have an NFC chip.

March 14
The Independent says that NFC won’t make it into the new phone. Instead, the newspaper says, Apple plans to introduce its own mobile payment system next year.

March 11
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.

March 9
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.

March 7
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.

February 28
A bigger display, part two
iDealsChina posts a photo of an iPhone 5 front bezel that shows a larger display.

February 15
A5 processor
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.

February 14
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.

Slide-out keyboard
We also hear that the iPhone 5 could offer a slide-out keyboard or that it could just offer longer battery life and a better camera.

January 14
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.

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