While many had anticipated that Apple's next iPhone handset would be launching in the summer of 2012, it now seems that the manufacturer might actually hold out until the latter part of the new year, according to a source quoted by rumours site, BGR.
An autumn launch window has been mooted in allegedly accurate speculation, with the insider apparently asserting that the sixth handset in Apple's stellar franchise will feature a rubberised exterior.
This would be a real departure from the design of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, which rely on stylish glass on the front and rear of the phone, as well as a metallic band running around the side which houses the antenna technology.
Of course any iPhone 4S owner will know that these glass elements can smash relatively quickly if you are not careful or if you do not invest in a case, so rubberising the whole of the iPhone 5 would certainly mitigate such issues.
However, given the aesthetic qualities of Apple products and its attention to detail, the rumour does sound like it might go against the grain of the company's track record when it comes to mobile design.
It is being reported that the rubber element of the iPhone 5 will actually be used to attach the glass which covers the touchscreen display at the front, to the backplate, which will be aluminium and thus a good deal more durable than the current smashable rears.
Aside from the protective advantages of such a design, it is also likely that this will improve reception levels and eliminate the enduring antenna problems which have plagued the iPhone since the fourth iteration arrived in mid-2010.
The so-called Antennagate debacle was caused because holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way would cause dropped calls and signal loss. This necessitated users investing in a rubber bumper, which prevented direct contact with the antenna and Apple could well have taken this onboard and integrated it into the standard design of the iPhone 5.
Despite the fact that the iPhone 5 could be nine or 10 months away from launch, there have already been a host of other rumours related to its specification and design that have surfaced in recent weeks.
A larger screen is almost certain, because the 3.5 inch dimensions of the current iPhone 4S display have been consistent since the release of the original iPhone back in 2007. The resolution may have increased but with rival handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus featuring 4.65 inch displays, there is no doubt that Apple's mobile is beginning to look a little titchy by comparison.
NFC (Near Field Communication) technology for mobile payments on the move could also arrive on the iPhone 5, which would finally bring this contactless payment method to the masses in a way that similar systems from Google have yet to match.
It is perhaps a shame that the iPhone 5 will not be available until the latter half of 2012, after disruption to the component industry pushed the iPhone 4S back into the autumn of 2011, but avid fans of Apple will be willing to wait.
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