A purported mockup of Apple's iPhone 5 smartphone is found at a casemaker's stall at the IFA convention in Europe.
As the expected launch date for Apple's latest-generation iPhone, commonly referred to as the iPhone 5, fast approaches, information about the smartphone has been leaking onto the Web from multiple sources around the globe. The latest bit of intelligence stems from a video and still photos showing a full mockup of the iPhone 5 at the IFA convention in Europe. The Israeli tech blog GSM Israel first picked up the news when it spotted the mockup in a booth for an iPhone case maker.
The story was quickly picked up and written in English by another tech blog, The Verge, where commentators quickly piled onto the discussion as to what the mockup means. "We were told volume production of the form-fitting cases has already begun, with a view to shipping to retailers in a week's time," the report said. "The mockup we got to see today confirms absolutely nothing about Apple's plans, but at least one company is confident enough in the dimensions on show to start producing accessories for the expected iPhone 5."
Among the expected enhancements for Apple's latest smartphone include a larger, 4-inch screen that can help it compete with the bigger displays found on rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III, which Apple is actually filing an injunction against after a favorable patent infringement ruling. Despite having a larger screen size, the new iPhone is reportedly slimmer than the iPhone 4S and will sport a reconfigured charging dock with fewer pins. Other features such as 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and a more powerful battery are expected to find their way onto the iPhone 5.
While sales of the iPhone have slipped, thanks to increased competition from Android-based rivals and consumers deciding to hold off on an iPhone purchase until the new model debuts, an Aug. 17 research note from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said the iPhone 5 launch would be the biggest smartphone launch in history. Misek said he expects Apple to have approximately 15 million iPhone 5 handsets in inventory by mid-September and determined that 170 million global smartphone subscribers will be coming out of contracts in the second half of 2012.
With the launch of the iPhone 5 anticipated to be one of these biggest technology stories of the year, handset rivals are rushing to share big news the first week of September, likely to grab some spotlight ahead of the iPhone 5 launch. Nokia has an event planned for Sept. 5, during which it's expected to introduce its first phone, or phones, running Windows Phone 8. On Sept. 6, Amazon will hold a press event in the Los Angeles area. The rumor is that the company will debut a new Kindle Fire-the low-cost tablet that entered the market last December and quickly grabbed the No. 2 market share ranking behind Apple.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.