Saturdays with Stephen: ‘iPhone 5′ Leak Roundup

Saturdays with Stephen is an interesting and equally opinionated weekly series that provides a closer analysis of news related to both Apple and the wider technology industry. So turn off the weekend cartoon marathon and join Stephen each Saturday for detailed insight on a trending topic. Be sure to leave your own opinion in the comments and get involved in the open, healthy discussion.

Apple has historically been fairly good about keeping their products secret all the way up to the second they announce them at the Moscone center, their headquarters, or wherever the press event is planned to happen. However, despite Tim Cook’s promise to double-down on secrecy, they have not had very much success in this with the latest iPhone, and with the big unveiling almost exactly a month away, I thought it would be a good time to pull all the rumors and leaked designs together.

In the last few months we’ve seen 19-pin dock connector rumors, NFC rumors, a possible quad-core processor, a front panel, a leaked full-model build, a video comparing new and old iPhone displays, a subtle hint in iOS 6 supporting a possible 9-pin dock connector, more photos of the internals, what applications would look like, and pictures of what is likely the new battery. That’s a lot of leaks, and for the most part, these rumor and prototype reports support each other, leading most to believe that the above pictured device is indeed the next iPhone, and that it will indeed be unveiled on September 12th, 2012.

One of the first things you notice about the purported iPhone 5 model is the smaller dock connector. We’ve been hearing about a smaller dock connector since February, but it remains unclear how many pins it will have. Will it have 19 pins as suggested by TechCrunch in June, or will it have the more recently rumored 9 pins, which have been somewhat supported by a reference in iOS 6? Either way, the port will almost definitely support I/O that is similar to Apple’s Intel co-invented Thunderbolt technology.

We first saw the insides of the next iPhone when Chinese supplier iLab Factory released photos of their purported full model build. Since then, we have seen more photos from French publication Nowhere Else showcasing the internals of the iPhone, as well as what they believe will be a MagSafe connector, similar to the ones found in current MacBooks. The photos include the front display panel showcasing a centered FaceTime camera, the SIM card tray, home buttons, cables and other external buttons.

Photos of what may be the upcoming battery were submitted to 9to5Mac by iOS hacker Sonny Dickson. There is no doubt that the battery will be larger, having to support the larger screen, the rumored quad-core processor, and other new technologies. The battery pictured has a higher capacity of 1440 mAh,  is 3.8V, and 5.45 watts-per-hour, all of which are increases over their predecessors.



With the introduction of Passbook in iOS 6, which aims to compete with Google Wallet and Windows Phone 8, it would be logical for Apple to include NFC technology in its next-generation iPhone. But what is NFC? Most of us who have never ventured out of our Apple bubble have never used the techonology and may not even know what it is. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, which is a standard for short-range wireless connections between devices. This can be used for many things, but in this context, we’re referring to the technologies’ ability to do contactless transactions. It is essentially a form of wireless payment, and many countries have trialed this technology for easy transactions for public transportation. The technology is quickly becoming more supported, and it would allow Apple to compete with products offered by its competitors.

Finally, the visual appearance is definitely somewhat odd at first glance. When I first saw it, I had no idea what to think. I didn’t think it was “bad,” but it didn’t “awe” me like Jonathan Ive’s designs typically do. At first glance, the design didn’t have the traditional sleek Apple look that I’m used to.

There is no doubt that it has grown on me, though. Like most, I wondered at first why there were two plastic/glass sections at the top and bottom, but it quickly became obvious that they are for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/NFC antennas. The middle of the phone is now a unibody design that will theoretically allow less components, and therefore less weight. The design actually seems quite stylish and professional to me now, and I hope for it to become my first iPhone.

The next iPhone is almost certainly going to be unveiled at Apple’s officially announced September 12th event, but we will just have to wait and see. Even if every single one of the rumors, prototypes, and mock-ups are completely false, there is one thing for certain: we will be seeing more rumors and speculation over the coming month. Be sure to be following the iFans front page for breaking stories regarding the next iteration of Apple’s handset.

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