New iPhone 5 rumour round-up [Updated]
Which? rounds-up all the latest gossip, rumours and speculation on Apple’s much-anticipated new iPhone 5.
With the latest version of the iPhone operating system iOS 6 announced back in June, speculation about Apple’s new smartphone has intensified as people clamour for any clue about what will be new.
We must stress that the below rumours are just that – rumours. Apple has currently said nothing official on the iPhone 5 and hasn’t even confirmed that it exists.
But – unless Apple just decides that’s not interested in making money anymore – a new iPhone will almost certainly be announced later this year, and while many of the below rumours may be red herrings, we’re sure that at least a few of them will hold true.
If you’re looking for a new smartphone, read our guide to choosing the best smartphone.
iPhone 5 rumour round-up
The iPhone 5 won’t be… well the iPhone 5
Like the latest iPad, the ‘New’ iPad, Apple is likely to drop the numbers and letters and switch to calling its latest smartphone simply the iPhone or new iPhone.
This will make it pretty difficult to know which one is being talked about, but it will bring it line with the rest of Apple’s products such as its Macbooks and, after all, this is the sixth version of the handset so 5 would have been a bit silly anyway.
However, the invites to the next iPhone event do prominently show a 5, so it looks like the iPhone 5 will arrive after all.
Likelihood: Unlikely, the invites seemingly put an end to this rumour.
iPhone 5 release date
We didn’t see the new iPhone at Apple’s WWDC, where Apple has previously launched iPhones before but we did see the new operating system, iOS 6.
For more information read our round-up of the new features in iOS 6.
Instead, Apple has sent out invites for a September 12 event where the new iPhone could be unveiled alongside an iPad Mini.
Current rumours are suggesting the phone will go on sale on September 21.
Likelihood: Likely, Apple wouldn’t want to wait too long between the event and the launch.
The iPhone 5 will be 4G
While the 4G iPad turned out to be missing its fourth G, the next iPhone is likely to be fully compatible with 4G networks.
Orange and T-Mobile parent company Everything Everywhere has been given permission to roll out its 4G network on September 11 and the other networks will follow early next year so it looks like the UK is finally ready for 4G.
For more information about 4G read our guide to what is 4G LTE?
Adding 4G will make the iPhone much faster at web browsing and downloading content – although it could potentially have a negative affect on battery life.
What will the iPhone 5 look like?
There have been lots of leaked pictures of what the iPhone 5 might look like and surprisingly lots of them have looked pretty convincing.
9 to 5 Mac published the picture below which suggest the new smartphone will come in a two tone design but will look fairly similar to the last iPhone. The pictures also suggest that the charging socket will be shrunk and Apple has moved the headphone jack to the bottom of the handset.
Likelihood: Very likely, multiple convincing shots have been leaked, although the design of the colours and tones may change in the polished final version of the smartphone.
There’s been a few rumours flying around concerning the iPhone 5’s screen size. The more ambitious reports suggest it will cover the almost the entirety of the phone’s façade, removing the bezel. The other, more conservative, rumour is that it will increase from 3.5 inches to 4-inches. We don’t know if Apple will provide a resolution boost to maintain the same pixel density as the iPhone 4S, but it would be a shame if they didn’t.
Likelihood: A bigger screen is almost certain, although don’t expect a huge jump to the massive screens found on competitors.
One rumour – based on Apple buying up a load of glass cutting machines – is that the iPhone 5 – like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus – will feature a curved screen. We haven’t yet heard any whispers of what shape it will be – whether it will bulge out or be concave like the Galaxy Nexus – but some are suggesting it will make the phone fit the face better or stop pesky snoopers reading your phone over your shoulder.
Likelihood: Unlikely to see something as curved as the Galaxy Nexus.
Unibody cases are made from a single piece of metal like a canoe carved out of the trunk of a tree. This makes the cases stronger, as well as being able to make them thinner and lighter than the usual.
The latest Macbook Pro has been changed to a unibody case so we know its something Apple likes to introduce, and if it is going to change the screen size it might as well change the case around it.
Likelihood: Very likely, especially if the leaked photos appearing on the web are anything to go by.
What will be under the hood?
Like the other big smartphones around at the moment the iPhone 5 is likely to feature a quad-core processor boosting the smartphone’s speed and ability to multi-task. There are also strong rumours that the Ram memory will be doubled to 1GB – which wouldn’t be a big shock as most people were surprised the iPhone 4S only had 512MB.
These improvements should improve performance and allow the handset to run more complicated and demanding apps in the future.
Likelihood: Almost certain, Apple won’t want the iPhone’s hardware to continue to lag behind competitors.
The iPhone 5 Nano
One of the most audacious rumours surrounding the iPhone 5 is that it will be much smaller than previous models and forgo a hard drive, with content being stored almost entirely on ‘the cloud’ (i.e. ‘the internet’). So you’ll have to stream music or video content over the internet onto your handset.
The rumour comes from a (now quite old) Wall Street Journal article, which cites an Apple source (excuse the pun), lending it some credibility. However, it was followed a few weeks later by a New York Times story claiming that Apple was looking at various prototypes and an ‘iPhone Nano’ isn’t happening.
We must admit a cloud-based iPhone 5 sounds a wee bit off-the-wall, especially given what it would mean for the App Store – one of the iPhone’s biggest selling points. Just how many developers would be happy about re-jigging their app to run off the cloud? Not many we’re guessing…
Likelihood: Very unlikely, Apple is still selling old versions of the phone to appeal to other price points and a smaller screen would make it harder to use.
Near Field Communications(NFC) is technology that allows smartphones to act a bit like credit cards, so you can make in-store payments by simply touching your device on a reader.
For more information read our blog post on what is NFC?
If all the pundits – including us – are to be believed NFC is going to become ubiquitous on the high-street in two to three years, with many Android smartphones already featuring the technology and Orange launching the first enabled device in the UK. So it makes sense that Apple would be looking into NFC to keep up with the competition.
The new Passbook app that will appear in the latest version of the operating system iOS 6 could also benefit from NFC functionality.
Likelihood: Possible, although if Apple does include it expect a new whizzy name for it like Apple ‘Convection’ or something
The future will be Sim-free
There was a rumour last year that claimed the iPhone 5 would feature an embedded Sim-card, rather than one you can freely remove.
This would mean you could theoretically change operators at the press of a button without the need to switch Sims around. Great news for consumers, but a prospect that supposedly had network operators shaking in their boots.
Newspapers such as the Telegraph and Metro suggested that operators were so incensed at the idea of consumers easily switching that they privately threatened to end subsidised iPhone contracts if Apple went ahead with its plans, forcing a retreat.
However, the reality is that Apple can’t introduce an embedded Sim card (in Europe at least) until the GSM Association (the body that regulates these sort of things) agrees on a standard (which it’s only just started to discuss). So while embedded Sims are probably on their way, we won’t see them for at least another couple of years.
Likelihood: Very unlikely, as much as Apple would like to get rid of the Sim card, it will have to stay for the time being.
Multi-touch gesture control
The iPhone brought touch control to the masses, so it’s certainly plausible that Apple would want to innovate further in this area with the iPhone 5. Multi-touch gesture control is basically a more sophisticated form of touch control, allowing more gesture recognition with up to four fingers. So, for example, you could use a four finger gesture to bring-up your phone book, or three fingers to access the iPod. There’s also rumours of ‘hover gesture control’ that doesn’t even require you to touch the screen. The presence of gesture control in the iPhone 5 may support another rumour that it won’t feature the familiar ‘home’ button.
Likelihood: Possible, Apple could add new touchscreen capabilities, although the rumours of these have died down recently.
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