Apple's tight-lipped approach toward its iPhone 5 release has fueled rumors on its release date and specs that will define the next step in the iPhone's evolution.

Apple is prepping for a bigger iPhone market in this second half of the year analysts say, ramping up the orders of its current iPhones and also stepping up production of the anticipated iPhone 5.

However, the technology giant is expected to face tough competition from Android smartphones, particularly from HTC that has planned to introduce its biggest smartphone known as the HTC Holiday.

Let's see how the HTC Holiday would fare with the iPhone 5:

iPhone 5:

The iPhone 5 is expected to run on an upgraded operating system, iOS 5, and is supported by a strong ecosystem including iCloud. iCloud will store photos, apps, calendars and documents without storing them onto the phone's memory storage.

Apple may fit a near-field communication chip in the iPhone 5 as some high-end Android devices are expected to sport the NFC chip. NFC allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and connections with a touch. A smartphone or tablet with an NFC chip could make a credit card payment or serve as keycard or ID card.

Apple is rumored to increase the screen size of iPhone 5 to compete with Android smartphones, probably going for a 4-inch screen. The iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch screen.

Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5 as a World Phone - both GSM and CDMA compatible. It is conjectured that the phone will have a SIM-less design with 3-4 antennas. Another rumor suggested that the iPhone 5 will feature a SIM card slot for other countries except the U.S. This will allow users to insert any SIM card in the iPhone when traveling abroad.

Apple has made improvements in the camera department by fitting a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to sport an 8-megapixel camera.

There is also near-unanimity in gadget circles that Apple will bring its A5 chip on to the iPhone 5. The A5 processor is the same one that Apple rolled out to power its iPad 2. Apple may boost the speed of its A5 chip in the range of 1.2 or 1.5 GHz as several Android smartphones are coming with 1.2 GHz processor.

HTC Holiday

The Holiday is rumored to boast a 4.5-inch display, supposedly the first of a new wave across the Android landscape with 4.5-inch displays.

The recent breed of Android phones, like Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Thunderbolt and Motorola Photon, found expression in 4.3-inch displays. The trend seems to highlight that the next barrage of Android phones will follow the 4.5-inch form factor.

HTC Holiday is expected to run on the latest version of Google Inc.'s smartphone operating system, Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS.

The Holiday will sport an 8MP dual-LED flash rear-facing camera with 1080p video playback and a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video chat. The device is expected to have a 4.5-inch qHD display with 960x540 screen resolution.

The Holiday will be powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB RAM.

The Holiday is expected to have HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) 21 Mbps and HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) 5.76 Mbps support. In addition, the smartphone would have Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot support along with advanced Bluetooth version 4.0 with A2DP and EDR

There is no word about internal storage details of the HTC Holiday yet, but it is expected to have an external storage via a microSD card slot of up to 32 GB.

On the pricing front, Apple’s iPhone 5 has been rumored to be priced at $600, while iPhone 4 is listed on AT&T at $299 for 32GB version with a 2-year contract. The Holiday is expected to be priced at $199 to $249 at AT&T.

However, Apple certainly knows how to surprise and already has a few things in place like iCloud which can steal the thunder from Android devices. Apple's iPhone features are extensively varied from HTC Holiday, which means the loyal Apple fan base remains the same. And for Apple, there is no reason to fear a potential loss with respect to buyers.