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iPhone 5: What We Can Expect

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The expected arrival of Apple's successor to the iPhone 4 is still some way off but the rumours of what the iPhone 5 (or possibly iPhone 5G) will contain are starting to build up a head of steam.

With competition from Android based devices like the HTC Desire HD and Samsung Galaxy S, Windows Phone 7 handsets such as the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus, and even WebOS on the Palm Pre 2, getting ever stronger, the iPhone can surely no longer rely on simply being 'nice to use' but will have to add some genuine innovations.

Here, then, we present the latest rumours (with new updates at the top) on what we can expect, or at least hope for from Apple's next touchscreen wonder.

The iPhone 5 will return to a metal back

The latest talk is of the iPhone 5 sporting a metal back again, just like the first model, with the antennae transmitting through the black Apple logo on the back. This is an intriguing development as the poor (radio) reception of the original phone was largely put down to its metal back, and of course Apple's had it's issues with playing around with antennae in the iPhone 4. What's more, the glass back of the iPhone 4 has been a roaring success in terms of styling and scratch resistance. That said, we certainly wouldn't complain, when it comes to styling, if Apple returned the iPhone to its roots.
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The iPhone 5 won't simply be a fix of the current model

One of the reasons there's quite so much chat about the new iPhone is simply because many people feel the current model's antennae and cracked glass problems mean it's fundamentally broken and Apple will rush out a fixed version as soon as possible. However, this doesn't seem likely. Quite aside from the fact that there are many other rumours about the new parts that are going into the new phone already being bandied about, the iPhone 4's record sales would suggest Apple has little reason to be worried and can just soldier on with the new design.

There will be an iPhone 4.5 for Verizon

For users of America's largest carrier, there appears to be good news on the horizon as the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working on a version of the iPhone that will be compatible with its network. The current iphone simply doesn't work on Verizon's wireless networks so requires a bit of a redesign. Reports say the phone will arrive in Q1 of 2011 and the phone will otherwise be identical to the current iPhone 4.
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The iPhone 5 may have a completely different form factor

Also revealed by the WSJ is news that the iPhone 5 will be a completely different form factor. Certainly to keep things fresh, a new form factor would be one way to go – maybe we'll see the end of the single front button and that overly large bezel plus a bigger screen as well? Or, maybe we could finally be hearing news of the long awaited iPhone mini or iPhone nano. Certainly there are some that would welcome the move to having a larger version for better enjoying video viewing, ebook reading, gaming, and such like while a smaller lighter version could serve to compete with the more traditional 'dumb phone' market.

The iPhone 5 specs may include support for LTE

LTE is a new mobile broadband technology that has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 160Mbit/s as opposed to the current HSDPA standard of 7.2Mbit/s. So it's clear why this is something to get excited about. However, while over in America, AT&T plans to role out LTE support in 2011, it is hardly likely to be a broadly available service in many parts of the world before the end of next year. Apple may look to get ahead of the curve on this but if history is anything to go by, it won't make such a risky move.

The iPhone 5 specs may include a digital wallet

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the same tech used on Oyster cards and those bank cards you can now get that you just have to swipe on a scanner, and not input a PIN. The rumour now has it that such technology will be included in the iPhone 5. The patent pictures even suggest you'll be able to add multiple accounts so potentially you will be able to replace you bank cards, Oyster card, gig tickets, and possibly even security cards if your place of work allowed you. Now that would be a revolutionary leap!
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The iPhone 5 chassis could be carbon fibre

Other Apple patents to hit the headlines recently include news of the company developing carbon fibre housings, with it even accompanying the application with the words, "For example, certain embodiments may be used to form the exterior surface of a mobile telephone…{or} a tablet computing device,". So are we set to see a carbon fibre iPhone? Well given the issues surrounding the external steel aerial and glass body of the current model, we wouldn't be surprised. Also, given the size and weight issues of the iPad, it wouldn't be completely unexpected to see the iPad 2 use such a construction to save weight. It would arguably be a step back in terms of style from the Aluminium chassis of the iPad but ultimately practicality sometimes has to come to the fore (yes, even for Apple).
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The iPhone 5 screen won't be AMOLED

Many people think AMOLED screen technology is the best thing since sliced bread thanks to its very high contrast, high colour saturation and incredible viewing angles. However, it can have its issues and as such we feel the iPhone 4's Retina Display, which uses LCD technology, is already the best on the market. As such we'd be very surprised if the company ditched such a universally lauded technology for one that some of us find inferior.
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So when will the iPhone 5 release date be?

Apple's set quite a solid routine for its iPhone releases, with them arriving around June and July every year. We have little reason to suspect that this won't be the case for the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 price will be the same

As with the release date, we've seen little to suggest Apple will be moving much from its current pricing models, at least here in the UK. With competition hotting up, it almost certainly won't be able to get away with further increasing prices yet its sure to still have enough tricks up its sleeve to warrant charging a premium over rival devices.

Will you be glad to see the back of the glass and steel iPhone, is carbon fibre the new aluminium, is LTE what really excites you, or do you simply want an iPhone 4 that works? Let us know in the comments.

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