As the 2012 Apple product cycle draws nearer, the rumors about what we can expect from the newest collection of iDevices are beginning to pick up steam. Most recently, BGR is reporting that they have learned several details of the next-generation iPhone. Citing “a close source” they predict a fall launch date. The current generation iPhone 4S launched later than normal – instead of the usual June/July launch, the 4S launched in September. A fall 2012 launch will maintain Apple’s usual one-year gap between device launches.
The report also says that the next iPhone will have an aluminum back, like that found on the iPad, and will feature a complete redesign of the antenna system. Finally, they expect the phone to have a bezel made of either rubber or plastic, like unto what is found in the iPhone bumper cases Apple sells now.
This early in the game, any report about the next generation iPhone should be taken as rumor. This is no different. An aluminum-backed iPhone has been expected before, and never materialized. That is not to say that the next iPhone won’t have it; it may well, but we shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t. One thing is fairly certain: the iPhone is due a significant redesign. So far, Apple has followed a two year cycle on iPhone body designs. While the first generation iPhone got a significant redesign with the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS was externally identical to its predecessor. Then, the iPhone 4 was a significant redesign, while the iPhone 4S is externally identical. If the pattern holds, the next generation iPhone should get an external redesign. An aluminum back – and even a rubber/plastic bezel – is not out of the question for such a design.
Another thing is highly probable about 2012’s iPhone: contrary to what many in the blogosphere are saying now, it will almost certainly not be called the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S is the iPhone 5 in all but name. Next year’s iPhone will be Apple’s sixth phone, and will likely be named the iPhone 6, accordingly.
Beyond that, we can expect the rumors to continue flying for the next several months. While a clearer picture will probably emerge as launch time (whether summer or fall) approaches, it’s still early days yet, and we should probably be taking everything with a hefty helping of salt, just to be safe.