A lot's happened since the last time we put all the iPhone 5 rumors in one place for you. So here's an up-to-date look at what we're expecting from Apple's next iPhone.
We're going to tackle the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S rumors separately, since they're often at odds with each other and very well might be talking about two completely different pieces of hardware.
Some time in July, an iPhone 5 prototype reportedly went missing. There are some questions left unanswered, but Apple has been actively trying to recover the handset, with at least some form of assistance from the SF Police Department.
iPhone 5 Hardware Rumors
Let's get this out of the way first: We still don't think that the next iPhone is going to have LTE. But there have been a few rumors about Apple testing LTE tech on iPhones and in their retail stores, so it remains an outside possibility. More likely is that they're running a typically long product cycle and this is early testing for next generation.
An icon in Apple's Photo Stream app has sparked a fresh round of wider screen/tinier iPhone design talk. Our best guess is that the icon translates into an iPhone 5 that is shrunk significantly, with a screen that's a scoche (3.7 inches?) larger, but with the same resolution and proportions. We've seen a number of cases and informed renderings that suggest the phone is skinnier, shorter, and wider, so that seems like a good bet.
And for what it's worth, a new round of 3rd party case analysis from MacRumors backs up ThisIsMyNext's earlier "teardrop" renders, and sizes the screen at a bigger-than-expected 4 inches. Yet somehow their rendering came out smaller than the cases we've already seen. Interesting.
We're pretty sure that the iPhone is going to be available on all four major carriers, or at least on Sprint, even if they don't want to talk about it just yet. Verizon's changed its mind on 3G Facetime, no longer swearing it off completely, but now saying it only wants it to be available to customers on a tiered data plan, which could be a harbinger of how carriers try to force users off of grandfathered unlimited data plans.
iPhone 4S Hardware Rumors
The iPhone 4S is the name the tech blogosphere has bestowed upon a less-than-hoped-for refresh of this year's iPhone, and more recently, a rumored budget-friendly 8GB iPhone 4. The best evidence that we've seen for this phone being a reality has come in the past few weeks, when leaked images of purported iPhone 5 (or 4S) parts have surfaced. Some of the model numbers and much of the design suggest an incremental refresh to the iPhone, and they are convincing (and numerous) enough to be taken seriously.
Launch Date Details
BGR has its hands on Best Buy docs that detail iPhone 5 pre-order and launch week information. According to the docs, leaked from an insider, preorders could begin as early as this week with an official launch slated for the first week in October. It should be noted that Best Buy also states in the slides that even these hazy date ranges are subject to change.