Exclusive: iPhone 5 Engineering Sample Photos Direct from China

Exclusive photos of an iPhone 5 engineering sample straight from a factory in China show the new phone will be slightly taller, slightly thinner and about the same width.

A trusted source inside the Apple supply chain sent images of the metal iPhone 5 design sample. The metal block shows the size of the iPhone 5, where the antenna and ports will be be and other design aspects.

The iPhone 5 is the first significant iPhone redesign since the iPhone 4 was introduced in June 2010. It will likely debut alongside iOS 6 this fall.

Update: Check out our iPhone 5 coverage for the latest iPhone news in one spot.

iPhone 5 Design

The new iPhone 5 will follow the iPhone 4S’ general design language. Its display will be larger thanks to the taller dimensions and smaller bezel, but Apple is not following Android manufacturers’ lead and producing a jumbo iPhone. The iPhone 5 will still be dwarfed by the Galaxy SIII and other flagship Android phones.

Front of iPhone 5 engineering sample.

Front of iPhone 5 engineering sample.

The rear-facing camera remains on the top-left of the back of the phone. The camera lens cutout appears to be about the same size as the iPhone 4S’. There is a rear-facing microphone placed between the camera and flash. The microphone will be utilized for video recording and noise reduction to improve call quality.

Read: Apple Planning Biggest Mobile Launch Around iPhone 5

Apple’s iPhone 5 has been rumored to be coming with a metal back. While the engineering sample doesn’t provide any conclusive evidence of the iPhone 5’s backing, it does show that there could be two materials on the back of the iPhone 5.

The middle part could possibly be made of metal, possibly even Liquidmetal, while the top and bottom of the device could feature glass, plastic, or something else entirely.

Read: New iPad Mini Engineering Sample Photos

iPhone 5 Dimensions

The images show the iPhone 5 that’s taller than the iPhone 4S, with the same width.

iPhone 5 engineering sample back

iPhone 5 engineering sample back.

The iPhone 5 is just over 120mm tall, whereas the iPhone 4S is 115.2mm tall. The added height will allow for the taller screen we’ve previously heard of.

The width of the engineering sample is about the same 58.6mm width of the iPhone 4S, which proves that Apple is working with a taller, but not wider screen.

Additional sources claim the iPhone 5 will launch with a smaller dock connector, and that Apple will provide an adapter at launch.

iPhone 5 Display

The iPhone 5 engineering sample doesn’t include indications for a display, but the overall size of the engineering sample is consistent with the leaked iPhone 5 front panel.

iPhone 5 display front panel

This part may be the iPhone 5 front panel.

MyDrivers claims this iPhone 5 front panel shows a 4-inch edge-to-edge display without drastically increasing the overall size of the iPhone 5.

New rumors claim that the iPhone 5 will use in-cell touch technology in the display. This allows for a thinner display and a thinner iPhone, as well as boasts better outdoor visibility.

iPhone 5 Antenna Design

Based on this engineering sample, the iPhone 5 looks like it will maintain the re-designed antenna layout from the iPhone 4S.

The back of the iPhone 5 engineering sample shows separation for the metal back, but these lines may also play a role in an advanced antenna design.

Apple redesigned the antenna after antennagate marred the launch of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone executive in charge left Apple.

iPhone 5 Battery Concerns

The iPhone 5 engineering sample doesn’t deliver a good look at the thickness of the next generation iPhone, which could spell trouble for battery life.

Current 4G LTE smartphones struggle to last a full day, save phones like the Droid RAZR MAXX.

Apple may count on better power management of Qualcomm 4G LTE chips and iOS 6 enhancements.

Apple normally nails battery life on mobile devices, so iPhone 5 engineers could use thinner components, like a thinner camera sensor and a thinner in-cell touch display, to make room for a larger battery without making the iPhone 5 thicker.

iPhone 5 Rumors

Over the past year, iPhone 5 rumors have sprouted up on what seems like a daily basis.

iPhone 5 mock up

iPhone 5 photo rendering shows what the iPhone 5 may look like.

And while Apple has yet to confirm the device’s features or the device itself, the rumors have painted a picture of what Apple might announce this fall.

Read: iPhone 5 Release Date, News and Rumors

Rumored features of the iPhone 5 include:

  • A 4-inch display that will replace the device’s usual 3.5-inch display.
  • A thinner design rumored to be 7.9mm up to the current 9.3mm found on the iPhone 4S.
  • A metal back that might replace the glass Apple used with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4
  • A taller design to accommodate the device’s larger display
  • An improved front-facing camera, possibly HD in quality
  • 4G LTE data connectivity
  • Quad-Core Processor, possibly the A6 chip
  • Smaller 19-pin dock connector

The iPhone 5 engineering sample looks very similar to the TechnoBuffalo iPhone 5 concept in the video below.

The iPhone 5 might also come with NFC (Near-Field Communication) support which could be integrated with the new Passbook feature found in the new iOS 6.

Updated on July 24th 2012 with new iPhone 5 rumors and news.