iPhone 5

While the iPhone 5 release date is yet to be announced by Apple, there has been no shortage of crystal-ball gazing in the tech press. Backed up by varying levels of evidence and credibility, reports have suggested an iPhone 5 launch anywhere from August through til the end of October.

Around this time last year iPhone 5 rumor mongering had truly reached epic proportions with the release of the iPhone 5 a foregone conclusion. Except it didn’t happen. Instead, we got the iPhone 4S. In the days and weeks that followed, the web issued a collective groan of frustration – but rushed out and bought one anyway.

Fast forward a year and here we are again – rumors of an iPhone 5 release date have been swirling with ever increasing frequency. Pulling together all the dominant threads amongst the hearsay and speculation, here’s just about everything we know so far about Apple’s sixth generation iPhone.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Release Date

Some rumors had suggested that the iPhone 5 release date would be as early as the WWDC in June, but it was always unlikely, with the software-heavy event focusing on iOS 6 as well as the launch of the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air ranges.

A recent rumor has suggested that an announcement on the iPhone 5 release date could come next month, but the sensible bet is on a 12 month refresh based on the launch of the iPhone 4S, which would place the iPhone 5 release date somewhere in October.

Comments yesterday from the Verizon CFO that the iPhone 5 would launch in Q4 of 2012 appear to back this up, but it’s possible that the announcement could come sometime in September with a launch to follow thereafter. However, rumblings from the Asian supply chain assert that the iPhone 5 has entered production and is on schedule for a September release.

iPhone 5 Design

The last few months have seen a huge amount number of iPhone 5 design rumors appear, with general consensus supporting an increase in the overall size of the device to support a larger 4-inch screen.

The change in dimensions appears to only affect the ‘tallness’ of the iPhone 5, with the increase in screen size being achieved by a change in vertical height only.

iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S

Last year’s reports of an elongated ‘teardrop’ design do not appear to have come to fruition, with detailed iPhone 5 design schematics and leaked images of the iPhone 5 backplate showing a remarkably similar design to the iPhone 4/4S.

iPhone 5 Design Schematic

The images show that the prone-to-crack glass backing of the iPhone 4/4S has been replaced with a two-toned brushed aluminum, and the speaker grills on the bottom of the iPhone 5 are notably larger. While the accuracy of the photos cannot be confirmed, Chinese case suppliers have already begun producing iPhone 5 cases based on the design.

iPhone 5 Render Based on Case Leaks

While the assumption is that the body of the device will be fashioned from aluminum, Apple may actually use their proprietary LiquidMetal alloy for the chassis of the iPhone 5. However, the unique alloy has only been implemented in an Apple product once thus far – the SIM card ejector of the iPhone 3G.

The front-facing FaceTime camera on the iPhone 5 appears to have been relocated from the side of the device to a central position above the ear-speaker. In addition, the headphone jack has been moved from the top to the bottom of the iPhone. Recent images of the front bezel from a white iPhone 5 model demonstrate and support some of these changes.

White iPhone 5 Backplate and Black iPhone 5 Bezel

One other major departure from the design of all past iPhone models is the introduction of a completely new iPhone dock. The current 30-pin connector appears looks to have been replaced by a 19-pin ‘Mini Dock’ connector, which is rumored to be micro-USB compliant.

iPhone 5 Mini Dock Connector

As the iPhone 5 release date approaches we’re likely to see further leaks which will give a better indication of the final design.

iPhone 5 Screen

As detailed above, multiple reports and images give credence to the consensus that the iPhone 5 will feature a larger 4-inch display. In addition, a report from the Wall Street Journal has suggested that the iPhone 5 screen will utilize in-cell technology to yield a display which is both lighter and thinner than the current iPhone screen.

iPhone 5 Tech Specs, 4G LTE

A Qualcomm quad-core A6 processor is expected to power the iPhone 5, delivering speed improvements and a big jump in graphics performance. Like the iPad 3, the iPhone 5 will be a 4G LTE device able to deliver super-fast download speeds – provided compatible 4G networks are available in your area.

The iPhone 5 is also likely to feature new nano-SIM cards, with reports coming in that European mobile carriers are stockpiling nano SIMs “like crazy” in anticipation of the iPhone 5 release date later this year.

iPhone 5 NFC

As the iPhone 5 release date nears, it’s unclear at this point whether the iPhone 5 will incorporate NFC (Near Field Communications) technology for wireless payments. However, reports have indicated that Apple engineers working on the iPhone 5 are “heavy into NFC”.

It’s worth noting that several Android handsets already have NFC on board, and while the iPhone 4S would certainly have been too early, the timing may now be right for NFC on the iPhone.

iPhone NFC

iPhone 5 Camera

The iPhone 5 will undoubtedly feature upgrades to both its front and rear-facing cameras, with a report suggesting that we’re likely to see the front-facing camera bumped up from VGA to HD video quality. The rear camera may remain at 8MP resolution, however improvements are expected in both the aperture and sensor quality.

What features are you expecting to see when the iPhone 5 is announced? When do you think the iPhone 5 release date will be? Let us know in the comments below.