When will Apple release its next generation iPhone? Well, the Cupertino-based tech giant generally offers a new smartphone to its customers around June or July. But since the existing iPhone 4S was released in October last year, Apple fans around the world seem a bit confused about when to expect the next one, presumably called iPhone 5.

Some earlier reports said Apple would launch iPhone 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June this year. The reports suggested that the June launch of the next iPhone would bring an end to an eight-month-long life span of the current iPhone 4S.

However, recent rumors suggested that Apple might launch the device in the second half of 2012. The Cupertino tech giant might abandon mid-year launches and consider a 12-month iPhone upgrade cycle starting in the fall.

Taking the rumor mill forward, a Japanese broadcaster recorded a Foxconn recruiter in Taiyuan, China as saying that Apple would release its next-generation iPhone in June.

TV Tokyo's World Business Satellite (WBS) show broadcast a conversation Monday in which a Foxconn recruiter said the company needed to hire about 18,000 people to manufacture the iPhone 5, Macotakara reported.

During the conversation, a Foxconn recruiter was asked by a woman about how many people the factory was looking to hire. The recruiter replied, We're looking for 18,000 employees...for the fifth-generation phone.

Is that because demand is high for the iPhone 5? the woman asked again.

That's right. It will come out in June, the recruiter said, according to AppleInsider. A Google Translation of a summary of the TV Tokyo broadcast can be found here.

The AppleInsider report said that the June release date for the iPhone 5, reportedly provided by the Foxconn recruitment officer, should be taken with a pinch of salt. For instance, it's unclear how a low-level employee within the company would already know Apple's release schedule when the iPhone maker is notorious for its high level of secrecy, the report added.

Meanwhile, a latest report by The Korea Times suggested that Apple would use Samsung's OLED screens for the new iPhone 5.

Thanks to the increased volume, chances have been raised to ship Samsung's OLEDs for Apple's iPads and even iPhones, an anonymous source told The Korea Times. The same publication recently reported that Apple would change its displays to OLED from LCD.

Apple is Samsung's biggest customer, buying $7.8 billion of components such as memory chips and LCDs in 2011, said the Korea Times report. This year, it will buy around $11 billion of Samsung parts despite the deepening legal battle between the two companies.

At the same time, recent reports said that the iPhone 5 would sport a gigantic 4.6-inch screen. However, some other reports suggested that Apple had planned to stick with the current 3.5-inch screen.

If the next iPhone does come with a big screen and if this Retina display happens to be an OLED screen, then it would be quite the same what Samsung Galaxy S3 would finally be featuring - a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED III HD screen.

Let's have a look at the key features that users want in the next-generation iPhone.

The Form Factor of iPhone 5

According to some earlier reports, iPhone 5 was likely to adopt a teardrop design. But recent reports suggest that the new iPhone is expected to be symmetrical in shape, with an aluminum rear panel reinforced by glossy plastic or rubberized bezel.

 Patently Apple gave rise to another set of rumors last month suggesting that iPhone 5 is likely to feature ultrasonic bonding to get stronger. The PA report said ultrasonic bonding can be useful for making stronger, lasting bond than using adhesives to hold different materials together.

Given that the new iPad has Retina display with a groundbreaking 2048 x 1536 resolution, the next iPhone is also expected to feature something higher in terms of its display. While some recent reports suggest that the phone will sport a large 4.6-inch screen, reports surfaced last week said that Apple would consider the current 3.5-inch screen size. Some other sources also said that the device will sport Quantum Dot LED curved glass edge-to-edge display with 1280 x 720 resolutions (367ppi). There are reports that suggest that the new iPhone will have an edge-to-edge display, making the smartphone even more appealing for Apple fans.

Other Desired Features for iPhone 5

Better Camera: Considering Android smartphones are increasingly coming with 8 megapixel camera, iPhone 5 is also expected to feature something similar or even higher. Some speak about an 8 megapixel or even 10 megapixel camera and the possibility of taking pictures in the panorama mode. Rumors also suggest that iPhone 5 will have a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting. Another rumor indicated that iPhone 5 would even have a 3D camera.

Faster Processor: Rumors suggest that an A6 processor will eventually power the next iPhone. It will be a superfast 1.2 to 1.5 GHz processor with 1GB or more of RAM to offer amazing processing capabilities to the smartphone.

Updated iOS: Apple released iOS 5.1, an incremental update to iOS 5 on March 7. According to it, the current iPhone 4S and the new iPad will run the latest iOS update. Since every new Apple device comes with an upgraded version of the company's mobile operating system, speculations are rife that an update to iOS 6.0 is possible by the time of the iPhone 5 release.

4G LTE: In March, a DigiTimes report cited unnamed sources within the Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer, who claimed that the next generation iPhone would very likely contain an embedded 4G LTE radio. Given that the new iPad came with 4G LTE support, the probability of LTE technology being incorporated in Apple's next iPhone cannot be ignored right away.

Near Field Communication (NFC): Many reports said that the NFC technology would also be featured in the upcoming Apple phone.

According to a recent report by the Insane Planet, the NFC technology on the iPhone 5 is becoming a huge possibility. The report cited a Patently Apple post regarding an Apple patent application about iWallet and NFC, and said that Apple had granted a patent for iWallet to payments via NFC and diagrams passed from Apple to the Patent & Trademark Office in the US shows an iPhone which may possibly be the iPhone 5.

The idea of the iWallet is to let individuals buy things by merely using their iPhone 5 or any other device of Apple. This means that the user does not need to bring a credit card to a store with NFC support, the report added.

Improved Battery Life: Will the battery finally improve? Yes, it's very likely to be. It's expected that the iPhone 5 will have better battery life than the Li-Po 1420 mAh battery in iPhone 4S that gives up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM).

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