The release date for Apple's iPhone 5 is reportedly set for Sept. 21, and is said to be accompanied by a new iPad Mini. This may be more than a month away, but some vendors are already selling cases for the upcoming iPhone 5.
Chinese e-commerce website Alibaba.com, which is notorious for leaking products prior to their reveal through its product pages, already has an entire page dedicated to iPhone 5 cases. These range from leather cases to heat setting cases in various colors.
The different shades of iPhone 5 cases on the website come in variants of black, pink, lime green, blue, white, silvery white and red. Although Apple has yet to confirm whether or not these cases are legitimate, the cut-out for the alleged 19-pin dock connector can be seen in the products on Alibaba.com.
Blog site iMore has said that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini at a special event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and has cited "sources who have proven accurate in the past." The alleged release date for Apple's iPhone 5 will be Sept. 21, nine days after the device is unveiled, lining up with previous rumors. Another previous speculation also indicated that Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 at a keynote event in August.
Images of what is said to be the fully assembled iPhone 5 have also leaked online, according to PC Advisor. This is one of the many reportedly leaked photos to surface over the past couple of months, but none of these have claimed to be the final design. The images surfaced from iLab Factory and show what is allegedly the completed iPhone 5.These photos appear to be consistent with previously reported leaks.
Echoing the iPhone 5 cases that are for sale on Alibaba.com, the new images to pop up also show the smaller 19-pin dock connector. There are speakers on either side of it, and the bottom contains a 3.5mm headphone jack that was previously situated on the top of the device, next to the power button.
The larger size of the screen, which is one of the most frequently rumored alterations to the iPhone 5 from previous models, is also apparent on the so-called leaked photos. The front-facing camera has also been repositioned, and the back is comprised of a combination of metal and glass.
Until Apple makes the official announcement unveiled its next-generation iPhone 5, there is no way to know for certain if these images are legitimate. However, some critics believe that despite what the iPhone 5 actually brings to the mobile market, Apple fans will gobble up the product due to the high anticipation.
"For many, the exact functionality doesn't really matter," wrote Chris Davies of Slash Gear when referring to the iPhone 5. "They just want an iPhone, either because they've heard the name so many times, or they've been told so often that that's 'what a smartphone is.' Equally, there's a sizable fashion element there too, with there being a perceived cachet by man around having a device with the Apple logo. "
According to these rumors and speculations, it seems as if Apple plans to put out a device that is significantly different that the predecessor to the iPhone 5. Sales of the iPhone 4S were strong upon its release, and the device didn't bear much difference to the previous model. Apple's move to release a handset that is somewhat of an overhaul from the iPhone 4S could pose even more of a challenge to competitors in the market, as Davies acknowledges, outlining the different approaches of iOS and Android.
"Why is that a problem for Android?" the Slash Gear writer questions, "Because smartphone ownership is one part common sense, one part budget, and one part lust. For Android, that lust is often spec-led: we see a beautiful super AMOLED Plus display for Samsung, for instance, or a high-megapixel count on the camera of an HTC."
For Apple products, part of the allure comes from the device's closed platform, he writes.
"With the iPhone, the lust is a combination of iOS' exclusivity, brand cachet, and functionality, perhaps with a little more weight to aesthetics, too. The current iPhone has been looking small and dated of late; a bigger screen and refreshed design would be two huge ticks in its favor."
Other leading smartphone competitors from Samsung boast a large screen size, such as its flagship Galaxy S3. Samsung's phone-tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note, has a screen size of 5.2,'' and the next-generation Galaxy Note 2 is said to feature an even larger display. The iPhone 4S, contrastingly, has a 3.5-inch screen.
Rumors and speculations have been at an all-time high as of late, with major news outlets such as the Wall Street Journals and Reuters to small-scale tech news sites such as KnowYourMobile sharing the latest gossip. This could be an indication that the anticipated release date is on its way, but only time will tell when Apple decides to unveil the iPhone 5.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...