Rumor: iPhone 5 will take a page from iPad 2, go thinner

Jul 6, 2011
Tech

Put another point in the “redesigned iPhone 5” rumor column: A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests the next iPhone will go the route of the iPad 2, trimming off a few millimeters and ounces in the process. That may not seem like such a big deal, except that rumors about the next […]

Put another point in the “redesigned iPhone 5” rumor column: A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests the next iPhone will go the route of the iPad 2, trimming off a few millimeters and ounces in the process.

That may not seem like such a big deal, except that rumors about the next iPhone are split pretty evenly into two camps. Some claim that the next iPhone will be something more akin to the jump between the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS, which wasn’t much of a redesign of the phone, but more a slight improvement. The real jump in hardware didn’t come until last year with the iPhone 4.

That seemed to make a lot of sense, given the fact that Apple only released the Verizon iPhone 4 in February and that it has pushed back the release of the new iPhone to the fall from its normal announcement date at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. That change suggested a substantial update for the iPhone wasn’t as big a priority for Apple this year, and rumors that the next iPhone would be a little more 4S than 5 started to appear. The biggest change in the device, it seemed, was the no-brainer inclusion of the A5 dual processor Apple created for the iPad 2.

But while it seemed that an incremental iPhone update was all but agreed upon by the Internet and media outlets, more and more rumors have been surfacing that suggest that Apple really is pushing a big update for the iPhone when it eventually announces it, presumably in September (or as early as August) to go with the release of iOS 5. We’ve been steadily accumulating new rumors that suggest better hardware: the WSJ story pushes the 8-megapixel camera on the phone that we heard about recently, and now discusses actual physical changes to the handset that seem in line with where Apple is going.

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The WSJ’s report comes from “unnamed sources” who apparently work for component suppliers in Taiwan, which supply the parts that go into making Apple’s products. We heard a similar story just a few days ago from DigiTimes that suggested the same thing, although with the WSJ publishing these rumors, they receive a little more credibility.

An iPhone 5 redesign also is supported by what we’ve been hearing about what Apple is expecting in terms of sales. The WSJ report has Apple pegging iPhone 5 sale numbers at 25 million by the end of the last quarter of 2011. That’s a pretty huge order, and while it’s certainly inclusive of Apple expanding to additional overseas markets, it also likely takes into account the fact that many iPhone owners clamor for new editions of the phone. A more incremental update – an iPhone 4S, for example – would likely see many iPhone owners deciding to wait for the real iPhone 5 than upgrade in September.

The mounting evidence seems to suggest that Apple may be looking to deliver a more substantial iPhone this fall, despite the Verizon iPhone crowd being relatively new to iPhone ownership and likely unable to receive a subsidized upgrade this early from Verizon. Of course, with all iPhone rumors, we’re only going by what little information and evidence is available, so there’s a lot of speculation here. It’s probably fair to say that regardless of what the iPhone 5 looks like, the sales figures Apple expects (or at least hopes) to see are about as high as what’s being reported.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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