Apple's next iPhone will employ a "radical new case design" and may debut in August, according to an unnamed source speaking to the blog Boy Genius Report.
If that timeline is confirmed, it would represent a definite change of pace for Apple, whose next regular shindig is usually September's unveiling of the next round of iPods. "According to our source, Apple may hold an event in the beginning or middle of August to announce the new iPhone, with availability to follow in the last week of August," read BGR's June 21 posting on the matter.
However, BGR has made wrong predictions in the past. Back in January, the blog suggested that Apple was on the verge of making a fairly radical alteration to the next iPad. "We have been exclusively told that the reason Apple just added multi-touch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button," read a Jan. 12 posting. However, the iPad 2 continued the company's tradition of a mechanical home button.
At the same time, however, BGR and other tech blogs serve as an early-warning system for whatever might be coming from normally ultra-secretive Apple, with many of their predictions eventually proving true. In that spirit, current rumors suggest the iPhone 5 will feature higher-resolution cameras, Apple's A5 proprietary processor, hardware upgraded to enable 3G FaceTime video conferencing, a wider screen, and NFC (near-field communication) technology that would enable the smartphone to act as an electronic wallet.
Some of those blogs-notably Engadget, in a January posting-suggested the iPhone 5 could indeed experience a case redesign. That being said, even the rumor mill seems generally unsure about the exact direction such a hardware revision will take; with the iPhone 4, Apple chose a blockier design language, sandwiching its exterior antenna rim between two panes of chemically strengthened alumino-silicate glass.
In any case, Apple's next smartphone will almost certainly run iOS 5, the recently introduced update to the company's mobile operating system. With iOS 5, Apple has tinkered and refined the notifications screen, boosted its interoperability with Twitter, introduced a robust "iMessenger" conversation platform, and added a new feature called Newsstand that consolidates the user's e-periodical subscriptions. Safari Reader, the company's app that presents articles in an ad-free and continuous frame, now has an iOS version.
During a June 6 presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, company executives claimed that more than 200 million iOS devices had been sold, in the process occupying some 44 percent of the operating system market. The veracity of that market-share percentage aside, Apple is certainly feeling pressure to keep iOS evolving in order to keep ahead of the growing family of increasingly sophisticated Android devices; in addition, Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise and Microsoft's Windows Phone show no signs of lying down and dying quite yet, despite declining market-share.