More confirmation of the next generation iPhone release date has arrived from wireless carrier AT&T Mobility. Staff have received notice that a vacation blackout is in effect between the dates of September 21 and September 30, 2012. This matches similar regulations imposed on Verizon Wireless employees.
The news comes from TechCrunch's sources within the company, who state that AT&T employees are training for nothing less than an "iconic release". There's nothing much on the near-term mobile device horizon that sounds as iconic as the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 launch coming this fall.
Even though the next-generation iPhone will be the sixth smartphone released by Apple, it's still being called the "iPhone 5" by most Apple fans. It's almost like Apple users have already forgotten about the disappointing iPhone 4S and its even bigger disappointment Siri. This is probably why the iPhone 5 is expected to enjoy record sales this holiday season. Many longtime Apple users skipped the iPhone 4S in anticipation of a 2012 iPhone 5 release. This means a lot of iPhone owners will be coming off two-year carrier contracts when the iPhone 5 becomes available in the fall. And there are also the iPhone 4S owners who have already dumped their devices for the iPhone 5. That adds up to a lot of people waiting for a new iPhone.
The hoopla surrounding the iPhone 5 is carryover from last year's next generation rumors. Dreams of a tear-dropped shaped iPhone may be gone, but the new iPhone is still expected to receive a complete body makeover. Part leaks have shown that the new iPhone could feature a chrome-plated metal frame and 8-pin dock connector. The iPhone 5 is also rumored to be 2mm thinner than the iPhone 4S, and to feature a 4-inch, 16:9 screen. The current models feature a 3.5-inch display.
Remember those "asymmetric screws" that were going to make iPhone 5 repairs impossible? Turns out they were just an internet hoax. Swedish design company Day4 admitted that they fabricated the report to highlight how desperate the blogosphere is for Apple "news".
Day4 revealed the hoax in a blog titled "How we screwed (almost) the whole Apple community." Lukasz Lindell of Day4 wrote: "Have you heard the phrase 'That's true because I saw it on TV' at some point? It was often the truth in the old days when people only had the TV or newspaper to relate to. What you saw or read was the truth, although it obviously wasn't always so."
The Day4 team claimed Apple was working on a redesigned screw that would leave no possibility for home repairs. They created a rendering of the screw, sent it to themselves in an email, uploaded it to a Reddit forum, and the internet did the rest. The rumor was picked up by well known blogs like BGR, iDownloadblog and Wired. However, most of the blogs questioned the accuracy of the report.
If you haven't seen enough photos of iPhone 5 components yet, here's another that's sure to light up your day. The fact that the next generation dock connector is rumored to be an 8-pin symmetrical design is exciting enough. No more fumbling around in the dark with a 30-pin connector and trying to get it to plug in the right way.
Even better is the prospect that Apple plans to incorporate MagSafe technology into the next generation iPhone port. The photo above from nowhereelse.fr clearly shows a metallic housing on the smaller dock port that could indicate MagSafe functionality.
One of the more significant changes that could be coming to the next generation iPhone is a completely redesigned screw. This photo featured on BGR shows a rendering of what is claimed to be an iPhone 5 assembly screw. As you can see, this design leaves no room for at-home repair.
In fact, should this design actually come to fruition, the screw head has no known tools capable of turning the part and loosening the iPhone 5 chassis. The screw is completely asymmetric, unlike any bolt or screw seen before on mobile electronic hardware.
Although these next generation iPhone battery photos from 9to5 Mac may not be much to look at, they give us some more insight into the iPhone 5 hardware coming this fall. With a larger display and an LTE radio, the iPhone 5 will require more power in a slimmer package.
Assuming Apple goes with the battery pictured above, the component is slightly thinner and increases capacity to 1440 mAh over the iPhone 4S at 1430 mAh. Voltage is also increased in the new battery from 3.7 to 3.8 volts. As it turns out, these increases are not as large as some were expecting to see.
The smaller, 19-pin dock connector expected to arrive with the next generation iPhone may be a different design after all. Leaked photos on 9to5 Mac show a dock connector cable with 16 pins, including 8 on each side. Apparently only 8 pins would be used in the iPhone 5, with the other side reserved for future use.
The plug has contacts that look more like a USB cable or SD memory card, and would not have to be oriented in a particular direction to connect. This symmetrical design simplifies the process of plugging in a dock cable to the port at the bottom of the iPhone or accessories. Speaking of which, there is some concern that the new design will render many third-party accessories obsolete, despite a rumored adapter.
Do you hate when your iPhone doesn't automatically switch to 3G if your Wi-Fi connection is too slow? A new feature in iOS 6 will solve this problem. The new option called "Wi-Fi Plus Cellular" allows your iPhone to automatically switch to a cellular connection when Wi-Fi isn't doing the job. iPhone owners can also manage their data usage by toggling specific services on and off. As you can see from the picture below, the cellular option allows you to turn off access to iCloud Documents, iTunes, FaceTime, Passbook Updates and Reading List.
The "Wi-Fi Plus Cellular" option was discovered within the Settings menu in the latest iOS 6 beta by AppAdvice. The blog also discovered a toggle for Shared Calendar Alerts within the beta. When enabled, the new feature will notify you whenever the shared calendar is modified.
Apple has recently been awarded a long list of patents related to the iPhone according to a report from Patently Apple. One of the most important is a patent detailing the user interface that iOS uses to display electronic lists and documents. It may not sound like much, but this covers a wide range of functions seen on many smartphones today.
Not only this, but a patent for a smaller dock connector looks similar to leaked parts and rumors suggesting that the next generation iPhone will sport a 19-pin connector. The iPhone 5 renderings above reflect an artist's conception of the port, which would shave valuable space off of the existing 30-pin connector.
Now that Apple's nano-SIM card standard has been approved by the European Telecommunications Institute (ETSI), reports are coming in that European carriers are stocking up on the cards. The reason? Apple's next generation iPhone will utilize the smaller SIM. So much for those larger iPhone 5 SIM trays that purportedly leaked out to parts sellers in Asia.
Apple's nano-SIM card design is pictured above from The Verge, inside the outline of a standard SIM card. By shaving 40 percent of the size from the SIM card, Apple can free up space for other things in the device. BGR confirms from multiple sources that Apple is supplying carriers with nano-SIM adapters so they can test the cards on their networks.