HOT FLASH

08.28.12

5 Things We Know About the New iPhone 5 (Maybe)

From its release date to its size and speed, Apple’s eagerly awaited iPhone 5 has been the subject of frenetic rumors. The Daily Beast tries to clear up the chatter by looking at what the new smartphone will offer and when you can get it. Probably.

As the iPhone marks its fifth birthday, Apple prepares to release version No. 5 of its revolutionary, industry-shaking product. The company is notorious for its more-secretive-than-the-KGB culture, and it’s been almost impossible to find out details of its newest products (until someone leaves a prototype at a bar). Over the years, Apple followers have learned that nothing is ever definitive with their favorite brand—sometimes it’s not even possible to find out what the latest product’s name is before the announcement (as was true with the iTablet and iPhone 4S confusion). That said, here’s what we’re pretty sure we know about the latest and greatest iPhone.

When it will be shown and released
Apple devotees: get your tents, lawn chairs, and feet ready for a day of standing in line. The iPhone 5 most likely will be unveiled on September 12, and released on the 21st. When Verizon and AT&T employees who asked days off at the end of September had their requests denied, rumors began to swirl. Previously reliable Apple blogs began citing sources saying the new iPhone’s release was slated for the last week in September, and the media followed. Detectives in the blogosphere pointed out that Apple has planned a press conference for September 12—which is expected to be the iPhone’s unveiling—and the company traditionally likes to release products amid an announcement hype. Since previous iPad and iPhone releases have been on a Friday, this one likely will be as well. As Huffington Post tech blogger Jason Gilbert writes …“there is now more evidence that the iPhone WILL be released on September 21st—or on a date somewhere very close to that—than evidence that it will not.”

It will be really, really fast
Like that overachiever in your high school, Apple has to be the best at everything. So it’s safe to say the new iPhone 5 probably will be the fastest device on the market. A few high-end smartphones already have quad-core processors, and the tech giant will be jumping on the ship, with reports saying the iPhone 5 will have an A6 CPU to make it lightning fast. It also will be 4G LTE, the wireless standard offered by providers that makes downloads whip fast.

It’s getting a physical makeover
Apple’s MO is subtlety, so the newest iPhone 5 won’t have a whole new look, but will boast a bigger screen and thinner body. While there have been numerous “leaked” photos of Apple’s latest projects, only a few have panned out. The techies at Smart Repair Medic acquired what’s allegedly the new screen and cables for the iPhone 5 from a “very reliable source” they’ve worked with for years. The screen size reportedly will be lengthened from 3.5 inches diagonally to 4 inches. And the new iPhone almost definitely will be outfitted with in-cell touch panels, a compacting new technology for touch screens that makes the phone thinner—Apple reportedly has sliced off 2 millimeters, making the iPhone 5 about 7.4 mm. Along with that, the resolution is expected to jump from 960 by 640 to 1136 by 640.

It will have a different casing
Users of the iPhone who have watched their glass-encased phone shatter on impact with the sidewalk might be glad to know that the latest version probably will have a stronger, metal one shell. A video surfaced in June that showed a very probable metal backing for the iPhone 5. Earlier in the year, a Korean news site reported that Apple would be using a blend of materials branded Liquidmetal that’s supposed to be twice the strength of titanium. Mind you, photographs of an aluminum metal-back plate later appeared, so the type of metal the newest iPhone will be sporting remains unclear.

Apple’s MO is subtlety, so the newest iPhone 5 won’t have a whole new look, but will boast a bigger screen and thinner body.

iPhone 5 will have a new dock
A Chinese USB cable-design company posted photos of the new iPhone’s power cord and a smaller dock connector different from the one Apple’s relied on for years. While this isn’t evidence enough to confirm a new docking design, rumors, industry insiders and even an accidental Apple Store leak have all but confirmed a downsized docking cord of some kind, with many saying that Apple might be looking to make the phone thinner—and make it harder for customers to use knockoffs. The smaller dock also would allow for more speaker room at the bottom of the phone, making it easier for Siri to understand your commands.

Granted, secrecy is a breeding ground for false rumors. Some are easily dismissible, but others have stuck around. Just to clear the air, here are a few things the new iPhone 5 will not be:

Super thin
Other companies have jumped ahead of Apple in this realm. While the newest iPhones probably will continue to have “thinner” as a descriptor, the device hasn’t made it down to paper thinness … yet.

Curved
For years, rumors have circulated in the techsphere that Apple would be doing away with its phones’ straight lines and edges in exchange for a curvy or teardrop shape. That would be no.

Buttonless
After Android phones discarded the home button concept, web bloggers expected Apple to do the same. But then a Chinese company briefly posted iPhone 5 replacement home buttons on its website, all but quashing that rumor. Maybe next year.