Lending more credibility to growing rumors of an early October release of the Apple iPhone 5, reports have emerged saying that Apple's Chinese subcontractors, Foxconn Technology and Pegatron Technology, have started to produce it.

According to a Japanese IT news site, Macotakara's danbo, the two Chinese OEM manufacturers have begun production of the hotly anticipated device. The report added, however, that since Apple's new operating system, iOS 5, is not yet ready to install, the assembled iPhone seems to be stocked without packaging.

Meanwhile, iPhone 5 release date rumors, as well as speculation over its specifications, are gaining momentum in the United States.

From Apple's point of view, in order to top the list of current smartphones, the new iPhone must have certain key features. Here are some of the most rumored features that iPhone 5, or whatever Apple may term it, is expected to have.

Dual-Core Processor

Several of Apple's rivals from LG, Motorola and Samsung have already released dual-core processor phones. According to a recent media report from 9to5 Mac, Apple gave its developers a dual-core iPhone 4 to allow them to prep for the iPhone 5.

iCloud

iPhone 5 is expected to feature the new iCloud service in operating iTunes for wireless remote access of music from all computers and mobile devices. The iCloud will also store photos, apps, calendars and documents without storing them onto the phone's memory storage.

iOS 5

Apple's iOS 5.0, which is the newest of the OS versions, was announced on June 6 at the WWDC 2011 keynote address. The new iOS 5 is expected to come with 200 new features that will include Improved Notifications System, News Stand and iMessage. It will also feature new applications, such as the Reminders app and Newsstand, an application resembling Folders and iBooks.

Flash Camera

iPhone 5 is also expected to have a rear-facing 8 megapixel dual-LED flash camera. Many Android smartphones already sport an 8MP camera. Coupled with the rear-facing camera, iPhone 5 is also expected to have a front-facing camera for video chatting. It is expected to include a dual LED flash with rumors that the flash unit will be separated from the camera sensor. Another speculation indicated that iPhone 5 may also have a 3D camera.

Design

The new phone is expected to adopt a teardrop design that is supposed to be slimmer and lighter than past iPhone models. The iPhone 5 is expected to come with an aluminum plate casing rather than the current glass backing.

Display

The iPhone 5 is anticipated to have an edge-to-edge 4-inch retina display. A curved glass display screen is also rumored that may offer more privacy while viewing in public areas. The Quantum Dot LED technology could be a possible delivery system for the iPhone 5. The new technology needs less power consumption while delivering the same quality of an OLED screen.

4G

Rumors are rife that the next-generation iPhone will be available on 4G networks for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. But the consensus among analysts and tech experts is that the iPhone 5 will not have 4G support.

According to AT&T documents leaked by the hacking group LulzSec, iPhone 5 will offer 4G and will be LTE network compatible.

NFC Payment

There have been reports since early this year that Apple is testing an iPhone that incorporates Near Field Communication  technology. Users can simply pay for goods by waving their iPhone in front of a contactless payment scanner. Mobile-payment services using NFC will be a hot segment in the future. The technology could offer features that allow multiple mobile devices to sync for speedier information exchange and gaming.

World Phone with SIM-less Design

Making it a worldphone, the iPhone 5 is rumored to feature a new SIM-less design with two to three internal antennas for CDMA and GSM compatibility.

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