updated 06:00 pm EDT, Fri April 22, 2011
May use new gesture-ready Home button
The iPhone 5 will be "a completely redesigned handset," say sources for This is my next. One prototype is said to look "more like the iPod touch than the iPhone 4," and show an even thinner design than the current iPhone. It may also use a "teardrop" design on the back, going from thick to thin in the same manner as the MacBook Air.
A supplied sketch is said to depict a new, larger Home button, one which also doubles as a control area for special gestures. The sources moreover add that phone's display should occupy nearly the entire front surface, or even be literally edge-to-edge, thanks to advances in bonded glass. In such a case the earpiece and sensors would be actually located behind the screen, saving space.
In terms of hard numbers the display would go up to 3.7 inches, in contrast with some claims pointing to 4. 3.7 however may allow Apple to continue touting Retina Display resolutions, since even though pixels-per-inch would drop from 326 to 312, it would still be above 300ppi. 300ppi is the minimum threshold at which pixels should be indistinguishable from 12 inches away.
Some other features of the hardware are said to include a "swipe area" near the top or bottom -- which may be related to NFC (near-field communications) -- and possible inductive or touch charging. Wireless charging remains a relatively rare feature with handheld electronics, a major proponent being HP with its webOS devices. Energizer has a charging pad for iPhones.
Whether or not all of the claims are true is considered uncertain, as they come from several different sources, and what may be experimental hardware rather than production-ready devices. Apple regularly produces several prototypes of a given product before settling on one for commercial release. If the iPhone 5 remains so early in development though, it may back reports of a late launch.