It is not even known that Apple will call its next iPhone the iPhone 5, with other potential names being the iPhone 6, the new iPhone and even the iPhone SJ in memory of Steve Jobs, but we do have a fair idea of what the phone will have to offer in the software department, as Apple has already released iOS 6 beta to developers.
For example, we know that the next iPhone will come with heavy Facebook integration. This will allow iPhone 5 users to share content directly from their phones, like things from within iTunes and the App Store and also post status updates directly from the Notification Center.
On top of this, we have already learned that Apple is getting rid of Google as the source for its Maps app on iOS 6, as part of its long running feud with the search giant's mobile OS Android. Instead, the new Maps app will run on data sourced from TomTom and Bing, and come with a new Apple designed 3D flyover mode for a small selection of US cities.
Continuing the Anti-Google theme, Apple has decided not to renew its YouTube licence with Google, the result being that iPhone 5 users will either need to watch YouTube videos through Safari, or use a new YouTube app that Google is preparing to be submitted to the App Store. There is a small chance that Apple's anger towards Google is so great that this app will be rejected, but this would ultimately be Apple shooting itself in the foot, considering how popular the online video sharing service is today.
Other than this, on the hardware side of things, all we have to go on is a number of dubious images leaked from “suppliers in Asia” and from “unnamed sources” who are either “in the know” or who have “proven reliable in the past”.
These images depict a larger 4 inch screen that will retain a similar width to existing 3.5 inch iPhone screens, but with an additional 176 pixels in height. This will result in a new resolution of 640 x 1136. This resolution was confirmed by 9to5Mac who ran a simulation of iOS 6 at this resolution and found that an extra row of app icons was added to the homescreen, while this did not happen when iOS 5 was run at the new resolution.
Images from the same sources also confirm earlier rumours that the iPhone 5 will come with a new, smaller, dock connector. While this was originally described as being a 19 pin dock connector, it is now thought to only contain 8 pins. Most potential iPhone owners will most likely not care how many pins this dock connector ends up having, the most important point to extract from this is that the new dock connector will be incompatible with the old one, and will allow Apple to make a number of tweaks to the iPhone design (such as moving the headphone socket to the bottom of the phone).
The images also depict a larger battery which is much taller (adding weight to the rumours of a larger screen), although only slightly higher in capacity at 1440 mAh. This minor increase may suggest that Apple has not included LTE on its next phone, as the 4G data connectivity can be quite consuming on battery power. Also spotted was a new SIM card tray which suggests that the iPhone 5 will be the first smartphone to use the new ETSI approved Nano SIM card design, which is 40% smaller than the Micro SIM cards used with the iPhone 4 and 4S.
As usual however, Apple is keeping pretty quiet about its next iPhone, refusing to confirm or deny any of the rumours regarding it. The name is still up for debate, although iPhone 5 seems most likely, but it seems most certain now that Apple will launch the device on September 12th with a view to start selling it on September 21st.