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iPhone 5: What’s the latest?

When the rumour mill first starts churning ahead of a product launch, any speculation doing the rounds has to be taken with a pinch of salt, or indeed a good hand-full of the stuff. With releases as big as the next-generation iPhone, leaks and whispers can circulate over a year in advance of its actual launch so it’s little wonder those ‘company insiders’ and ‘sources familiar with the matter’ serve up predictions pretty wide of the mark.

But we are now very much at the business end of the iPhone 5 build-up meaning the latest reports are coming our way with a little more substance and credibility. With the manufacturing process surely nearing completion if it hasn’t finished already, leaks emerging now often deserve more than a cursory glance. Collectively, they can help us build a decent picture of what Apple has produced with the iPhone 5 – even if the silence from Cupertino means this very name remains unconfirmed.

So, with just two weeks to go until its expected launch on 12 September, what is the very latest news telling us about the phone? The hottest off the press relates to the integration of NFC technology in the device, with good-quality images (above) depicting a feature that has been purported for some time. NFC, standing for near field communication, does as its name suggests, enabling devices to establish connections simply by touching one another or being within close proximity. Google has used the tech for its Google Wallet service, allowing phone’s to make fast, easy payments, and it will be interesting to see what features may transpire from the iPhone having NFC capability.

Other parts of the phone have also been exposed in the past few days, including its front casing which gives us one of the clearest indications yet of the size and form of the phone. The images below, originating from a respected source, offer an excellent dimensions comparison with the iPhone 4S, and the “quality, build and markings" of the shells "suggest that they are accurate," says repair company SmartPhone Medic. The longer, slimmer design seems closer to the look of the Samsung Galaxy S3 than the previous iPhone, but we won’t go into crossovers and similarities of products belonging to those particular firms here.

In terms of launch dates, it was most intriguing to see that Everything Everywhere’s 4G network rollout is due to arrive the very day before that 12 September iPhone unveiling, given we’re all expecting the phone to have 4G LTE connectivity. Yes, the timing may be a happy coincidence, but a number of people in the industry have said the iPhone will indeed run on Everything Everywhere’s new network, in what would be a huge boon for the company and its subsidiaries T-Mobile and Orange.

One further matter being distilled as we approach the big day is the ‘iPad Mini’ launch, widely-reported to be taking place on the same day as the new iPhone. But just this morning, we brought news to the contrary, suggesting the tablet will not actually arrive until October. As has been argued, why would Apple dilute the fervour surrounding the new iPhone with a product that will draw much fanfare in its own right?

So it seems the rumour focus may well be iPhone-only for now, and ITProPortal will keeping tabs on the most credible reports every step of the way before 12 September.