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iPhone 5: Everything We Don't Know

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Well, it's rumour time again. While the world's tech companies fall over themselves to get their PR right, Apple just does it by keeping mum. They won't comment, they won't answer questions, and they won't engage all warm and fuzzy with you on the social networks. And that, of course, turns out to be the perfect way to keep the world talking. Over time, this seems to have spawned off an entire Apple-rumour industry. It's made up of the tech media, "sources" who make components that go into Apple devices, and just plain avid Apple-watchers. So, what they're saying is that the iPhone 5 is coming soon. But is it the iPhone 5, really?

What Is It?
One school of speculation has it that the next iPhone to launch will be in September, and it will be called the iPhone 4S. Rather than going for any makeover, the smartphone will have enhancements, including a better camera (perhaps 8 megapixel) a dual-core A5 processor, and support for HSPA+ connectivity. There may also be a cheaper and smaller version of the iPhone, called the iPhone Mini, by those talking about it. There are certainly some noises from Apple about reaching out to emerging markets - I suppose that includes us. Other news sources, like The Guardian, Bloomberg and the Boy Genius Report say that while some developers have had Apple access to an improved iPhone that   be considered the iPhone 4S,  it's the iPhone 5 that will launch.
When Is It?
Bets are on the iPhone 5 releasing in September (a specific date, the 7th, is floating around) though some even say August. Apple holds an annual developers' conference in September. It's thought that Apple will change its release and selling cycle to take advantage of holiday sales in the US. Most people agree that it wouldn't be a good idea for Apple to wait any longer to launch the iPhone 5, and certainly not as late as January 2012 because this would give plenty of time to Android and other competition phones to consolidate and increase their reach.

What Will It Look Like?
Most intriguing of all is the rumour that the iPhone 5 will be in a new "teardrop" shape, a sloped and curved like the MacBook Air. The rumour mill calls it "radical". The 8 megapixel rear camera will sport an LED flash. There will be better-than-before resolution and sensitivity to touch. What size, is not clear.

Obviously the device will run on iOS 5 and will be more powerful and make for a better experience. Tasks like messaging are said to be enhanced. Cloud based sharing will probably become quite intrinsic to the device, seeing Apple's focus on cloud services and its recent launch of iCloud.

Who Wants It?
Despite the amount of noise made over the iPhone, it is by no means everyone's first choice. Android devices have the larger market share, in part because so many companies are involved. Despite the troubles of RIM and Nokia, their phones shouldn't be written off either, especially in India. But die-hard Apple fans are chomping at the bit and have a wish list ready - not that it matters. A spot survey by T3 about two months ago showed iPhone fans wanted at least an 8 megapixel camera, TV streaming, flash - and Flash, Facetime that works with other phones, and NFC or Near Field Communication.  Others say a bigger edge-to-edge screen and a new design wouldn't be bad either.
Little is known and much is said. But that's Apple's fans for you.

Mala Bhargava is a personal technology writer and media professional. Contact her at and @malabhargava on Twitter