While the latest iteration of Apples iPhone smartphone, generally referred to as the iPhone 5, hasnt even been officially announced yet, Taobao, China's largest e-commerce site, is already offering the device for sale as a preorder, complete with renderings of what the phone will look like, alongside technical specifications, according to a report from Reuters. "Demand is high. Yesterday, someone just bought two phones. Altogether, we have about two dozen orders," a Taobao seller who goes by the nickname Xiaoyu told the news agency.
Anticipation for the latest edition of the iPhone, which is expected to officially debut sometime between August and October, has been building to fever pitch over the past few months, as rumors regarding screen size, technical specifications and design features run rampant. This week, photos of what could be a rough prototype of the revamped design were posted online, leading to a new flurry of speculation and discussion among tech bloggers.
Last week, Taipei-based Digitimes, citing industry sources, reported that the iPhone 5 will run a quad-core processor, Apple's A6. The publication also reported competition for quad-core smartphones "will heat up in the fourth quarter of 2012 [triggered] by the rollout of the much speculated new iPhone and models built based on Qualcomm's quad-core chips."
Among the other tantalizing rumors regarding the worlds most closely watch smartphone are reports that the latest version of the iPhone will feature near-field communication (NFC) technology that would allow the iPhone to better compete with Googles wallet service and Microsofts Windows Phone devices, which will offer their own NFC experience. Near-field communication is a set of standards for smartphones (or any mobile device) to establish radio communication with other NFC-enabled devices by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, which allows for contactless payment systems.
The iPhone 5 is also expected to be "completely redesigned," with an aesthetic more closely mimicking that of the iPad, Piper Jaffray analysts predicted in May, adding that it is also likely to have a larger display than its predecessors. "We believe there is a 50 percent chance the new phone has a slightly larger, 4-plus-inch screen," according to the Piper research note. We believe large screen size is one of the few areas in which Android devices have been able to compete."