The long-anticipated iPhone 5 did not surface last month, instead replaced by the updated Phone 4S, but the next-generation iPhone expected to debut in 2012 may carry a significant redesign.
According to a Business Insider industry source who claimed to have access to an iPhone 5 prototype, the device’s specifications include a 4-inch screen, a brushed-aluminum back similar to the iPad 2, capacitive touch-based Home button as opposed to a physical press button, flatter form factor, 10-megapixel rear camera, and accelerated hardware, but shoddy battery life.
It also, according to the inside source, included Siri, but is called Assistant, which was the rumored name for the feature until its October introduction on the iPhone 4S.
“We've been told this by an industry source who has been right about future Apple products in the past,” said Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider. “We have not been able to verify what he told us with a second source. So we're still treating these details as rumors.”
Claiming that the 4S is a stopgap, the industry mole revealed that Apple allegedly wants to construct the iPhone 5 with “liquid metal,” the paint-like, color-saturated, scratch-resistant aluminum it uses to make colored iPods.
“The phone our source played with was not production quality. It was made in-house, out of prototyping material, just like this model,” Carlson said.
According to the source, the primary objection the iPhone 5-prototype design came from Steve Jobs, who argued the larger screen, would result in fragmentation of the iOS, something Apple had worked hard to eliminate.
Fragmentation occurs when applications coded for a lower native screen-resolution are stretched to fit a higher screen-size.
According to the source, Jobs scrapped the iPhone 5 in 2011 on grounds it was not ready, and Apple instead put some of its features into the iPhone 4S.
Even with the rumored supercharged specifications, some iPhone hopefuls are not impressed.
“I can't wait to get my Samsung iPhone Galaxy V. Seriously, this thing is starting to sound like any new Android phone coming out in the next 6 months,” said one MacRumors message board poster.
“I hope it will be a 4" screen. I could not decide on the 4S, and one of the main reasons was screen size. I will be pissed if I hold out for the 5 and it ends up being the same old size,” said another MacRumors forum user.
However, tech experts take the speculation with the usual raised eyebrow.
“Business Insider does not have a particularly solid track record on Apple product rumors, and is also including its own warnings about taking the report with a grain of salt,” said Eric Slivka of MacRumors.
“But the claims are certainly of some interest given the curiosity surrounding what happened with the claimed leaked design that resulted in significant numbers of cases being produced for a device that failed to appear,” Slivka added.