Although rumors and speculations surrounding Apple's sixth generation iPhone, presumably called the iPhone 5, are at their peak, the highly anticipated smartphone is not likely to hit stores before the fall.
There has not been any official word from Apple as well regarding features and a release time frame of the device. But opportunistic traders on China's largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, surprisingly started accepting iPhone 5 pre-orders, complete with fake pictures and purported technical specifications, reported Reuters.
The report also said that sellers on Taobao, a unit of the Alibaba Group, were accepting orders for the next iPhone, for which they were asking for a deposit of 1,000 yuan ($160). One seller, named Dahai99888, even asked for full payment upfront at 6,999 yuan ($1,100).
Some of the sellers told Reuters that they would buy the next iPhone in Hong Kong or the U.S. and then bring it to mainland China. However, the sellers didn't provide a specific delivery time.
Demand is high, yesterday someone just bought two phones. Altogether we have about two dozen orders, Reuters quoted one of the sellers on Taobao as saying. It's not so easy to bring the phones from overseas, there's a limit to how many you can carry in ... If we could bring in a few thousand that will be great!
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Another seller provided a list of 17 possible new features of the iPhone 5, including biometric capability, which has a 20 percent chance of being incorporated on the device.
Rumors are rife that the new iPhone will be released toward the end of this year with reports betting on both September and October launch for the smartphone.
As regards the features, various reports suggest that the next gen iPhone would sport a longer form factor with a larger screen, smaller dock connector and a repositioned headphone jack among others. A latest report by hardware news website Kitguru said that all these changes are likely to be implemented on the iPhone 5.
The site that claims to have operatives across the globe provided claimed photos of the next iPhone prototype and said that the device was a pre-release sample, and therefore it would be cleaned up for the retail release.
The website says that though Apple might follow suit of its rivals like Samsung and HTC by increasing the screen size of its sixth iPhone iteration, there are some limitations on Apple - based on the '1x' and '2x' nature of its app sizes.
Also, Jobs wanted to keep a clear distinction between what is a tablet and what is a phone. As a result, the screen on the iPhone 5 is bigger - but not by much, said the website.
CultOfMac disagrees with Kitguru and says that the device showed in the photos was nothing but a rough model someone has put together for the purpose of getting the jump on making cases or accessories.
However, the site said the device was quite in line with ongoing rumors, showing what the consensus is amongst accessory makers with ties to the Far East about what the next iPhone will look like.
The next iPhone model is highly expected to feature a much-improved processor. While some earlier reports suggested that the device would be powered by a new variant of the A5X processor, a recent report by DigiTimes said that Apple could launch its next-generation iPhone built on Samsung's Exynos 4 quad-core processor in the second half of this year.
Rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 say that the future flagship Apple phone will feature a larger 4-inch Retina display, 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) and a smaller dock connector. Other rumored features and specs also include 1GB RAM, iOS 6, improved Siri, liquidmetal casing, an 8 megapixel (or even higher) rear camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and a much-improved battery life.