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Given the pattern of Apple`s iPhone launches, we`re expecting the next-gen iPhone 5 to debut in mid to late 2012. We reckon it`s most likely to be shown off at Apple`s Worldwide Developer Event (WWDC), which usually takes place in early June - even if the focus of the 2011 event was software.
However, we reported in February that the new iPhone would be launched in October, falling into line with the same release schedule from last year, and Macotakara `sources` confirming the Cupertino brand would be honouring the same upgrade cycle from now on.
Rumours keep appearing that the iPhone 5 release date is June 2012. It seems Foxconn is even gearing up for that date.
iPhone 5 screen
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Various sources claim the iPhone 5 will feature a larger, 4-inch screen. Digitimes quotes the source as saying that Apple is expanding the screen size "to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market."
On 23 May 2011, we reported on rumours that the iPhone 5 could feature a curved glass screen. These rumours also came from Digitimes, which said that Apple has purchased between 200 and 300 special glass cutting machines because they`re too costly for the manufacturers to invest in.
In March 2012, new reports suggested that the new iPhone 5 would come sporting a larger 4.6-inch retina display, while April rumours even suggested the next iPhone will use new touch technology and will be encased in something called "liquidmetal."
iPhone 5 digital wallet - NFC
There`s been some speculation that Apple might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5, turning it into a kind of credit/debit card.
Read our in-depth iPhone 4S review
However, with the tech being inside the Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as well as a host of other top smartphones, the time for NFC may finally be here.
On 24 June 2011 it was reported that the Google Wallet mobile payment platform could feature on the new iPhone. Eric Schmidt admitted that Google is looking to port the software to other manufacturers.
However, on 31 January 2012 9to5Mac claimed to have spoken with a well-connected developer who disclosed information received from Apple iOS engineers saying they are "heavily into NFC".
The developer in question has not been named, but is working on a dedicated iOS app which includes NFC reading for mobile transactions. When questioned how confident he was on the information he had received his reply was "Enough to bet the app development on".
On April 30 2012 an Apple patent filing reinforced the idea NFC in iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 camera
Sony makes the camera for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Speaking at a live Wall Street Journal event, Sony`s Sir Howard Stringer was talking about the company`s camera image sensor facility in Sendai, a town that was recently ravaged by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
According to 9to5Mac, he said something along the lines of, "Our best sensor technology is built in one of the [tsunami] affected factories. Those go to Apple for their iPhones or iPads. Isn`t that something? They buy our best sensors from us."
Sources have also suggested the new iPhone could have an 8MP camera. Indeed, Sony announced in January 2012 that it had developed new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors which are smaller in size.
iPhone 5 price
If the iPhone 5 is an evolutionary step like the move from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S then we`d expect the price to stay more or less the same, although in the UK higher VAT rates may well mean a higher price tag.
It`s pretty much nailed on that the new iPhone will cost around £500 for a 16GB / 32GB model (depending on the capacity Apple whacks in there) and unless the iPhone 5 comes with some truly next generation technology that pricing model should hold firm.
iPhone 5 review
TechRadar is renowned for its detailed phone reviews where we look at every aspect of a handset, and we`ll be bringing you a full, in-depth iPhone 5 review when we get our hands on one.