iPhone 5 Photos Leak Online, August Release Date Rumored

Photos which may show the longer, white-colored front panel of the upcoming version of Apple's iPhone surface online.

A Taiwanese tech blog, Apple.pro, posted photos online which allegedly show the white front casing for the latest version of Apple€™s popular iPhone smartphone, which appears longer, but not wider than the current model, the iPhone 4S. This falls in line with rumors that the new iPhone will sport a 4-inch screen, compared with the current 3.5-inch screen, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The photos also appear to show the FaceTime camera located in the center of the frame.

While the world breathlessly awaits the debut of the new iPhone, rumors continue to pile up regarding launch dates and feature sets. Several blogs reported over the weekend that the new iPhone was already in production, and 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 last week from Reuters.

Tech blog Know Your Mobile claimed Apple would release the new iPhone August 7, citing an unnamed €œreliable industry source who wishes to remain anonymous,€ though most other unsubstantiated reports peg the release date sometime in September or October. The iPhone 4 debuted in June and the 4S in October. Whenever it actually debuts, the handset is likely to offer new features to face competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S III, such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and a faster quad-core processor.

The iPhone 5 is 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. €œWe believe large screen size is one of the few areas in which Android devices have been able to compete."

Apple may soon have one more competitor in the smartphone market, alongside Samsung and the growing number of Google Android-based handsets, as reports surface that Amazon, the online retailer behind the Kindle Fire tablet, is preparing to launch a smartphone that would compete with the iPhone. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, which quoted two unnamed sources with knowledge of the plans, Amazon is working with Chinese handset maker Foxconn to build the device, and is also reportedly acquiring technology patents to avoid wireless infringement claims.