Rumor Mill: The iPhone 5

Full Moon by Moroka323

Every once in a blue moon (and apparently tonight’s a full moon too, probably not blue though) I write about things I don’t really talk about much. Today’s one of those days as I will be talking about rumors and speculations surrounding the iPhone 5. I’m no fan of the iOS ecosystem but I do like technology regardless of who makes it. I do own an iPad 2 though and have played around with a few iPod Touch and iPhone devices that my friends own so I have some experience using iOS. Anyway, this is my first ever Apple-specific post so let’s get on with it!

I’m no fan of the iOS ecosystem but I do like technology regardless of who makes it.

Apple has always been incredibly secretive about their products but there has been a lot of leaked information lately that we can probably make an educated guess about what the new iPhone will look like, at the very least. Could the 6th generation of the iPhone be a dramatic departure from the norm? I don’t know much about Apple’s history but could this be the real start of the Tim Cook era?

The rumored iPhone 5

White iPhone 5 renders

The iPhone 5 has been rich with rumors and leaks. So rich in fact that some have been able to create absolutely convincing 3D renders of the device based on the leaked parts and schematics that can be gathered around the web. So how does it look like? Well, you’ve just seen it. It’s up there!

If you look closely at the image above you’ll notice a few things. One, it still looks like the iPhone 4 or 4S except for the two-toned back. Two, where’s the dock connector?

Apple might be thinking about sticking with their current iPhone’s iconic design. Maybe it’s for the familiarity but it could also be because of the lack of ideas given the plethora of phone designs from competitors out there. I just hope it’s not the latter. I think the two-toned back is a nice touch (others might beg to differ) but it does little to change my opinion that the design feels old and dated. Given that most people put their phones in cases, it will just end up looking like the older iPhone 4/4S albeit with a slightly different dimensions – something we’ll talk about later on.

Additionally, I really hope that back isn’t made of glass. Glass looks great – I love glass (given that it’s the material used for most aquariums which I’m totally in love with! I just had to say it! Cough. Cough.) – but I just don’t think the back of a phone is a right place to put something so fragile. Gorilla Glass or whatever scratch and abuse-proof glass it may be, it just doesn’t feel right in my book and it seems to be one of the reasons why people put their iPhones in cases in the first place. I guess I’m just one of those people who despise cases. I prefer to show my devices in their full glory after all.

A taller screen

iPhone 5 design based on renders in white

It may look similar to the old design but when looking from a different perspective you’ll notice something else – it looks stretched and it is! Rumor has it that the new iPhone will be using a larger 4-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The width of the screen seems to be the same but the height is now known to be taller. Some may not like a stretched out iPhone but I think it’s a good thing that Apple is working on an iPhone with a bigger screen.

One of my gripes with the iPhone is that the display is quite small. My HTC 7 Mozart has a slightly larger screen (3.7-inch vs 3.5-inch) but the UI of Windows Phone 7 works well for that size. On the other hand, iOS uses the typical grid of icons UI which makes it look and feel very small especially to someone with large hands like me (personal opinion of course).

One negative about a taller screen is that if a person is upgrading for a current model, his or her cases and covers will not fit anymore. Unfortunately, there’s something much worse for upgraders.

A new dock connector

iPhone 5 render in black showing new dock connector

The old dock connector is gone. In comes something smaller. It has been long rumored that Apple would be changing the dock connector which may seem like an odd thing for them to do given the huge number of accessories that use that connector. Does this mean potential upgraders need to ditch their cables and accessories? Maybe. Maybe not. I can see an adapter being made for this new dock connector to work with current accessories and cables but that just adds another kaching to Apple’s overflowing bank account.

One potentially good thing about this new dock connector is that it could be compatible with the current micro USB charger standard. The European Union is actually pushing phone manufacturers to use the standard – a boon for users and the environment as there will be less cables and chargers in the dump. This will also be beneficial to new users especially if they already have micro USB cables lying around. If Apple is working to support the standard then hats off to them.

Some cosmetic changes here and there

White iPhone 5 render showing front and back cameras

There are some minor cosmetic changes to the design too. Notice that the front-camera is now on top of the speaker grill. This might not seem much but I think it’s a better location as it could make centering the phone to one’s face a lot easier when in video chat.

iPhone 5 render showing speaker grills and 3.5mm headphone jack

Another change is the rather cool looking speaker grills. I like them compared to the mere holes that they once were. Also notice the 3.5mm has moved from the top to the lower end. If the design is legit, this could be to accommodate the aforementioned dock connector adapter to allow audio pass-through.

What I think…

Assuming the leaked designs are legitimate, I think it looks nice despite feeling a little dated. Will I buy it? That’s a tough one to answer. Maybe, if iOS 6 proves better than I already think it is but right now I’m already dead set on a Windows Phone 8 device. Should you buy it? That’s even tougher but, as per my usual advice to others, it really depends on numerous factors such as the apps you use, the comfort of the design in your hands, the familiarity of the operating system, etc. At the moment, it’s best that we wait until Apple officially unveils their new iPhone. Let’s just hope the next announcement isn’t as lackluster as last time.

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