It's been a long time since we've been able to run a story on the white iPhone 4 without a question mark in the title. Now Bloomberg reports the long-awaited white iPhone 4 will be available by the end of this month. Previous reports have also pointed to an April release, however nobody is counting their chickens before they hatch.
Best Buy leaks pointing to a February 27 white iPhone release have already turned out to be false. Apple continues to stick by its spring 2011 launch schedule although the season officially began on March 20. After a 10-month wait since the iPhone 4 keynote what's a few more weeks?
Thanks to Patently Apple, we recently saw how Apple could be planning a smart bezel on the iPad. Now it seems Apple engineers are also working on a similar concept for a future model iPhone. The iPhone smart bezel patent revealed by Patently Apple details some interesting features that could be added to the area surrounding the main display.
The smart bezel is described as an area outside of the main LCD screen comprising printed segmented electroluminescence displays. Presumably these would be dark until needed, and could be illuminated in different patterns to create buttons or give the user information depending on what the iPhone was being used for at the moment. This would free up more space on the main screen.
Two interesting new rumors have surfaced surrounding future iPhone camera designs. The first involves a leak from Sony regarding an 8 megapixel camera the company manufactures that sounds like it's headed for the iPhone 5. 9to5 Mac reports Sony CEO Howard Stringer explained how their best image sensors are produced at a factory that was affected by the earthquake in Japan.
He noted that this problem will delay shipment of images sensors to companies like Apple. The only thing is that Sony doesn't make image sensors for Apple... yet. The Street reported in April of last year that Apple would be moving away from current supplier OmniVision for the iPhone 5, and going with an 8 megapixel Sony component instead.
China Times reports that the iPhone 5 has entered a trial production phase and will feature a larger screen. Purported iPhone 5 parts have already leaked that seem to match the claim of a four-inch screen. The iPhone 5 itself is expected to have a similar form factor as the current model, with the display reaching all the way to the edge of the device.
The rendering above by Piotrek Photos shows how a larger iPhone 5 screen might compare to the current iPhone 4 display. This news comes as the New York Times has confirmed Apple is working on near-field communication (NFC) technology so that future iPhones can easily make wireless mobile payments at specially equipped cash registers. The NFC hardware would be integrated with the iPhone processor and linked directly to the owner's iTunes account.
iDealsChina has released more iPhone 5 images depicting a larger display on the next generation device. They claim the renderings are mold engineering drawings intended for case manufacturers that detail the design of the iPhone 5. Pictured below, these computer renderings show what looks to be essentially the iPhone 4 profile with a larger screen.
The display comes right up to the edge of the device, whereas with current iPhone 4 models there's a black gap between the screen and silver antenna frame. Reports have speculated that Apple intends to compete with several Android devices recently launched with 4-inch displays. The purported leaked images seem to match photos of a iPhone 5 bezel also showing a larger screen opening.
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told AppleInsider that Apple is getting ready to ship the mysterious white iPhone 4 to AT&T customers starting no later than April. Apple finally solved manufacturing problems plaguing the device and with the help of a Japanese company has developed a new paint material.
Problems with paint thickness and the white iPhone 4 not meeting quality standards resulted in many defective units, although some iPhone users have acquired the white version. Customization kits and modifications that violate the Apple warranty have also appeared on the market to simulate the white iPhone 4 look with replacement parts.
Previous reports have indicated the iPhone 5 will be completely redesigned by Apple. Now Economic Daily News, a Taiwanese publication, cites sources who say the next generation iPhone will have an aluminum back. This would bring the iPhone 5 in line with recent iPod touch and iPad 2 designs and highlight one of Apple's favorite materials.
A move back to aluminum would also reduce durability problems experienced by users of the iPhone 4 and its glass back. The conceptual rendering above by Taiyo-Fujii is unrelated to statements by Chinese manufacturing insiders, however it clearly receives its cues from the iPad 2. The original iPhone featured an aluminum back along with a plastic bottom to help alleviate reception issues with the internal antenna.
Things are not looking good for the mysteriously absent white iPhone 4. With the Verizon iPhone launch six months after the iPhone 4 first became available and an iPhone 5 announcement looming, will Apple even bother? Since the first white iPhone 4 pre-orders were cancelled, the release date for the white iPhone 4 has been moved forward several times.
The latest we heard from Apple was the white iPhone 4 was coming in Spring. The season officially starts in just two weeks and Apple has been silent on the issue. Another white device has dominated the news, with Apple announcing the iPad 2 will ship in white and black next week.
iDealsChina has revealed an image they claim is China's first iPhone 5 photo. Seen below, the part is wrapped in plastic and looks to have a familiar iPhone screen profile. 9to5 Mac explains the part may be a digitizer panel for the next generation Apple iPhone.
The black bezel on the part is noticeably thinner on all sides, matching previous reports from DigiTimes and others claiming that Apple is developing a 4-inch screen for the iPhone 5. A larger Retina display would compete with a variety of Android devices that already offer 4-inch screens.
Hoping for a blazing fast 4G LTE compatible iPhone 5 to hit shelves later this year? Don't hold your breath. Although competitors to Apple's iPhone are already coming out with LTE phones, analyst Sam Greenholtz from Telecom Pragmatics claims Apple will wait for the iPhone 6 use the technology.
A report in The Street explains that Greenholtz has communicated with sources who say the LTE iPhone 6 is already under development. June or July 2012 is Apple's target launch date, which also gives carriers including AT&T and Verizon more time to roll out their LTE networks to full capacity.