The iPhone 5 release date still looks good for this fall, but the rumors keep changing as we approach September and October.
The next generation iPhone is Apple’s sixth iPhone, but analysts and press are calling it the iPhone 5.
Apple is counting on the iPhone 5 to take on the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One series. This year the competition has stepped it up, so we expect more than a fresh coat of paint on the iPhone 4S body.
Check out the latest iPhone 5 release date, design, display and feature rumors with the most impressive iPhone 5 videos and mockups.
iPhone 5 Release Date
The iPhone 5 release date is still on track for fall, with late September or early October as the most likely time for the iPhone 5 announcement and launch. Typically Apple announces a new iPhone, offers a pre-order shortly after the event and ships the iPhone within 2 weeks.
Apple is releasing iOS 6 this fall, which typically comes after the iPhone announcement but would happen a few days before the iPhone 5 release date.
Analysts expect that Apple’s holiday iPhone 5 release date will set the company up to sell 65 to 70 million new iPhone 5 devices by the end of the year, catapulting Apple to the most profitable publicly traded company.
iPhone 5 Design
Apple cannot release a rehashed iPhone 4 design this time around thanks to pressure from Android handset makers and the Nokia Lumia 900.
We expect a brand new design for the iPhone 5, which rumors say includes a taller 4-inch display, metal back and a thinner design. The iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4s size comparison below shows how the two devices may size up when the iPhone 5 launches.
Taller iPhone 5 with 4-inch display
Analysts with connections to companies that supply Apple with displays say that the iPhone 5 will have a taller display with a widescreen ratio suited for watching movies.
Apple has not confirmed any of this, but the artwork for Siri on the Apple iOS 6 website hints that Apple is preparing Siri artwork for a taller iPhone this fall.
A taller iPhone would cause issues for developers making apps for yet another screen size, but Apple slipped a feature into the iOS 6 announcement that could help.
Apps on 4-inch Display
Auto Layout is a new iOS 6 feature that would ease the burden on developers. Instead of creating elements for each resolution and screen size, Auto Layout allows developers to set the design elements and have the system scale them to the proper screen size.
This new Auto Layout feature would allow apps to conform to the taller iPhone 5 display as well as to a 7-inch display on an iPad Mini.
Apps that don’t support Auto Layout may run with black bars on the sides, rather than scaling to a display with a different aspect ration. Odds are popular apps will be updated to support Auto Layout by the time the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 launches this fall, but other swill take time to update, just as we saw a delay in updating to support the Retina display on the new iPad.
Multiple iPhone 5 Designs?
One possible wild card is a wider and taller iPhone and a faster iPhone 5 that keeps the same 3.4-inch display.
Sumocat reasons that Apple can meet the needs of users who want to use the iPhone with two hands and desire larger touch points without alienating users who want a small iPhone 5 with the latest technology.
This iPhone 5 Jumbo would still come with a Retina Display, but it would use the same processor found in the iPhone 4S to keep costs down.
Apple has diversified many product lines including the iPod line and most recently the MacBook Pro line so this is not out of the question.
iPhone 5 Design
The iPhone 5 design is all over the charts, but the best look we have comes from the leaked iPhone 5 back, leaked iPhone 5 front panel and leaked iPhone 5 schematics.
These pieces come together to from the iPhone 5 shown in the video below from TechnoBuffalo.
Others envision a more futuristic iPhone 5 with a laser keyboard and a transparent display. While this iPhone 5 mock-up is fun to look at and lust over, don’t expect to buy it anytime soon.
The iPhone 5 will likely look like these life like iPhone 5 renderings, and arrive in black and white.
Apple has locked down the exclusive use of Liquidmetal for another two years, but we don’t expect a full Liquidmetal iPhone 5 this fall, instead expect a few Liquidmetal parts.
Features and iOS 6
The iPhone 5 won’t just pack a new look, but it might also pack a long list of new features. From a given technology like 4G LTE, to the possibility of NFC for payments, Apple can pack a lot of features into the hardware and software of iOS 6.
At this point 4G LTE is almost a given for the iPhone 5. Apple needs to nail the battery life of the iPhone 5 with 4G LTE, as the high-speed connection blazes through battery life on Android phones.
The new iPad with 4G LTE lasts as long as 24 hours as a 4G LTE hotspot thanks to a massive battery, so it is possible that Apple will dedicate almost all the iPhone 5’s internal space to a battery. Like the new MacBook Pro this could limit our ability to service the iPhone 5 and or recycle it.
4G LTE delivers download speeds up to 10X faster than 3G, and in early testing Sprint’s 4G LTE network is 25X faster than the carrier’s 3G network.
NFC with Passbook
Passbook is one of the new iOS 6 apps that Apple says will hold our, “boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more,” all in one app.
The exciting part is what Apple could do with the “and more” statement, especially if the iPhone 5 arrives with NFC support. NFC is a technology that allows a device or a credit card to pay wirelessly. Google Wallet uses this technology as do MasterCards with PayPass, and it’s found in McDonald’s and many stores.
The latest iPhone always has at least one feature not announced as part of an iOS update or kept as a secret, and it might be the ability to use the iPhone 5 to make PayPass payments.
Apple already has 400 million credit cards on file and is capable of processing countless transactions on a daily basis.
Of course there’s always the secret iPhone feature in iOS 6 that only select developers know about. This is the juiciest iPhone 5 rumor, but it’s the one we know the least about.
[REDACTED] is going to enable all kinds of new apps in iOS. This is incredibly exciting. #wwdc #mission
— Steve Streza (@SteveStreza) June 13, 2012
Better User Experience
The iOS 6 beta already shows many small user improvements like control over Siri’s audio source, tweeting and posting to Facebook from the Notification Center, Do Not Disturb and much more.
The video above shows a collection of new Siri features in iOS 6, including sports scores, opening apps and much more.
Stay tuned for the latest iPhone 5 news and rumors.