What if the iPhone 5 rumors don't pan out?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: September 5, 2011

As we enter September, the mountain of iPhone 5 rumors are peaking. Production begins, another employee loses a prototype at a bar, cases reveal a new design – a bigger and thinner phone. Despite all of the conflicting rumors, pretty much everyone (who isn't an iPhone hater, of course) has a feeling that this phone will be a huge step forward for Apple: improvements on the display, processor, memory, etc. But what if the rumors don't pan out? What if it's just a tiny revision and software was the main focus? Will it still be magical and revolutionary?

Although there have been hundreds of conflicting rumors, the consensus seems to be that the the iPhone 5 – not to be confused with the iPhone 4S, an updated, cheaper version of the current iPhone – will sport a larger, 4-inch display and a thinner chassis. The belief that it will ship with an A5 processor is a pretty safe bet, and I would assume RAM and internal storage will see an increase, too. Leaks from case manufacturers all but confirm the new iPod-like design. But they could ultimately have the wrong information.

For all we – and the case manufacturers, for that matter – know, this could simply be the upcoming fifth generation iPod. Of course, the case features a mute switch slot, which has never appeared on an iPod. And it seems fairly unlikely that Apple would bump the display size of the iPod instead of their most iconic, flagship device. But hey, anything is possible and we really don't know anything yet. We only have a few pieces of a puzzle that we've fit together; in truth, they could be pieces from two entirely different puzzles. Apple broke their routine twice this year, so predictions are not made easy.

If the fifth generation iPhone doesn't experience a growth in display size or design, other flagship devices could finally get the best of the iPhone. Apple fans have been complaining about the tiny display on the iPhone for the past few years as Android and Windows Phones have touted large, luxurious displays well north of 4-inches.

The next Nexus is now slated to hit around the same time in October. Rumors for the Nexus' specifications are much more solid, considering Samsung has already announced a device with similar specifications. The Galaxy Note has almost identical specs to what the “Prime” was rumored to have, save for a much larger display and stylus. The purported 1280 by 800 pixel resolution on a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display would put the ppi at 335. That's quite a bit higher than Apple's Retina Display, which if the iPhone's screen is stretched to 4-inches, the ppi will drop from the current rating of 326 to somewhere around 288. Ouch. Also, the Nexus will likely ship with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, something our own Cam Bunton of Today's iPhone thinks may trump Apple's mysterious dual-core A5. Not to mention, making the device thinner and stretching the display leaves less room for the precious battery, whereas Android phones already have notoriously bad battery life. And lest we forget the next iPhone is rumored to be coming without 4G in tow.

It almost seems as if releasing only one phone per year in a market where Android phones are releasing almost every week is catching up to Apple and taking its toll. Not in sales though, sales and market share are steady. But it's almost as if Apple is struggling to keep up with the arms race and may be slowly slipping. That, or they're finally having to get down and dirty to compete, cutting corners where necessary and sacrificing some of their biggest selling points for other popular features.

The likeliness of so many rumors being entirely wrong is pretty slim. But it's still a possibility that someone has crossed wires somewhere along the line. The rumors just don't add up for me. But don't think for a second think that sales would be anything short of mind-blowing, regardless of what the iPhone 5 looks like or what specs it carries when it lands. I have learned not to underestimate the power of attraction of Apple devices and I know that people will still be pre-ordering and lining up weeks ahead of launch day.

What do you think, pups? Will Apple sacrifice their precious Retina Display and battery life to compete with the onslaught of Android phones? Or are the rumors off base? Speculate in the comments below!

Image via Today's iPhone

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