Is this the iPhone 5? A new design and an expanded home area? We’re not so sure.

Fri, Apr 22, 2011

News, Rumors

Some interesting iPhone 5 rumors for a Friday afternoon ya’ll. Joshua Topolsky, who formerly served as the editor in chief at Engadget, writes for This is my Next that he’s received information regarding the next-gen iPhone and its supposed new form factor.

As the mockup above indicates, Topolsky writes that the image was drawn up up based on information extracted from a number of sources. Specifically, the iPhone 5 will reportedly take on a new form factor similar to the recently re-designed MacBook Air. What that means is a tapered style hardware design that gets slimmer from top to bottom.

You’ll also note that the home button area is expanded and now serves a dual purpose – first as the home button we all know and love and purportedly as a gesture area. You might also notice that the screen sports the same edge-to-edge design that we’ve been hearing rumblings about as well. Topolsky’s sources weren’t entirely sure as to the dimensions of the screen, but the sketches supplied to him suggest a 3.7-inch screen while maintaining the current iPhone 4’s resolution, which subsequently means a drop of 13 pixels per inch down to 312, still enough to maintain Apple’s criteria for a Retina Display (anything above 300 ppi).

While the art we’ve seen shows some form of inductive or touch charging, our sources can’t confirm whether or not Apple’s working on its own version of cable-free juicing. There’s also a “swipe area” shown in the drawing which appears to be on the bottom and / or top of the device — that could very well be an NFC point, but that’s pure speculation on our part.

Okay, a few things here.

First, let’s not jump to conclusions. While Topolsky and his Engadget cohorts were quite adept at delivering Apple scoops, their track record is far from spotless. To wit, Engadget’s iPad 2 predictions involving an SD card slot and a Retina Display were nowhere to be found.

Furthermore, while there have been a number of rumors suggesting Apple is busy working on a brand new iPhone design, most reports we’ve seen (and sourced from purportedly more reliable sources than folks supplying sketch drawings) indicate that the iPhone 5 will sport a similar form factor to the iPhone 4. Moreover, the mockup above seems awfully similar to user-generated iPhone mockups we’ve seen floating around the web in the past. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate, but just something to keep in mind.

It’s also worth pointing out that while it’s largely believed the iPhone 5 will come with a larger edge to edge display, all previous reports have hinted at a 4-inch screen. A 3.7-inch screen would be a slight improvement, but with Apple looking to take on many of the Android devices with noticeably larger 4+ inch screens, we dubious that a .2 inch upgrade is all Apple has in mind.

Topolsky notes that the information they’ve received could very well be design prototypes and not production ready phones. Indeed, there are a number of corroborating reports relaying that Apple hasn’t even yet placed orders for iPhone 5 component parts and that mass production on the next iteration of the iPhone won’t even commence until later this Summer. That said, it’s admittedly far too early to take too seriously reports regarding the iPhone 5 design, especially when they seem at odds with everything else we’ve been hearing lately.

Still, enticing fodder for the rumor mill for a lazy Friday evening.



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