Repost of Original Article
(You can find a german version of this article here.)
Is this the design for the upcoming iPhone 5? Probably. Maybe. Only Apple knows for sure if the iPhone they’re going to announce next week during their press event will look like this prototype.
We currently believe that the iPhone 5 will be thinner than the current generation, it’ll also come with a larger 4 inch display. That being said, the biggest obvious change will be the teardrop design, which already made some news in the past months.
THE DESIGN PROTOTYPE
Based on CAD designs, hardware components, several leaked hints, cases and recent, believable mockups we created a three-dimensional computer model. This virtual model was then used to build a very detailed, true prototype that you can hold in your own two hands.
The process to create this prototype is the same that’s used to create the iPad. The back was machined from a sold block of aluminium, which was later treated with glass pearls to get the same slightly rough touch that we already know from the iPad.
This prototype is only 59.94 mm wider than the current iPhone 4, but with a height of 109.98 mm it’s also just a bit thinner than its predecessor.
We already talked about the teardrop design. We took a really close look at the most recent leaks to gather as much information as possible on how the upcoming iPhone might look like from the side. You can clearly see the teardrop style, with a thickness of 6.86 mm at the top and only 5.33 mm at the bottom.
Even though our prototype is a bit wider than the iPhone 4 (59.94 mm vs 58.6 mm) the design, in combination with the larger 4 inch touchscreen makes it more compact and easier to handle.
Thanks to the rounded design it also feels much nicer while holding it in your hand. Compared with an iPhone 5, the old phone even looks and feels a little chunky.
If you looked closely at the most recent case leaks you might have noticed that the mute switch is now located on the other side of the phone.
Where Apple will place the main camera and the LED flash – and what they will look like – is currently a big unknown. There is little to no knowledge on the design of these components, but it’s likely that they’ll look just the same as they did on the iPhone 4.
Another big design and functional change involves the Home button. It’s no longer a circle but an oval shape. There have been numerous rumors that Apple is moving away from the mechanical to a capacitive button that reacts to a light touch – just like the rest of the display.
The reasons for this change are obvious: a mechanical button takes away valuable space inside the device and, because it’s the most used button, is likely to fail during the lifetime of the phone. Apple’s first generation iPhone already had a metal back, before they moved to a plastic back on the iPhone 3G and 3GS for reception’s sake, which was then once again replaced by a glass back on the iPhone 4. Due to Apples patent portfolio that includes various ways to handle antennas and metal backs while still having great reception there’s no reason not to go with an aluminium back that looks and feels just like an iPad.
Besides the new design and more powerful hardware – more on that later – another big improvement awaits inside iOS 5. The so-called “Assistant” is probably the biggest innovation in this new version. Thanks to a revolutionary speech recognition software the iPhone 5 could become your personal, voice activated assistant. In cooperation with Nuance and based on the work of Siri, a start-up that Apple bought last year, Assistant will enable you to dictate E-Mails, SMS and every other piece of text. We already know other speech recognition software but Assistant is said to be able to understand your words in a very intuitive way. Even sentences like “Meeting with Steve at 7pm”, “How is tomorrow’s weather?” or “How do I get to the nearest Apple store?” will be understood by Assistant.
While Google is providing their own speech recognition in Android, it relies on Google’s servers. Your voice is sent to Google where it’s processed and then send back to your device. This requires an internet connection.
Apple’s Assistant is supposed to work without a network connection. All necessary processing takes place on the device itself. This power hungry feature obviously requires updated hardware. 1 gigabyte of RAM and the dual-core CPU A5 will provide exactly that. Most of the upcoming features of iOS 5 were already shown at Apple’s developer conference WWDC in June or have since been leaked by beta testers.
There have been a variety of rumors that, alongside the already shown Twitter functions, there might also be a deeper Facebook integration. Code snippets provided some hints in recent beta versions, but are so far unlikely to make it into the final version of iOS 5.
As mentioned before the heart of the iPhone 5 is most likely the already known dual-core Apple A5 which is already being used in the iPad 2. While the current iPad only comes with 512 MByte of RAM the iPhone 5 will probably double that to 1 gigabyte.
We also said that the display will get a bit larger this time. While all other iPhones had a 3,5 inch touchscreen, Apple is said to move it up a notch to 4 inches. The resolution should stay at 960 x 540, just like the iPhone 4.
Sony already leaked a few weeks ago what camera is going to find its way into the next gen iPhone, so all bets are on an 8 megapixel sensor made by, well, Sony. This is also in line with other current rumors. Just like its predecessors the iPhone 5 will probably come with 16 and 32 gigabytes of storage. But it’s also possible that Apple might launch a 64 GByte top model on this “Post PC” device.