By all accounts, Apple is gearing up to introduce the new iPhone 5 to a hungry consumer crowd.

While Apple hasn't even announced an event to introduce the new product or said there would be a new iPhone at all, countless sources from the media and analysts have declared the phone to be real. Until anything concrete comes out, speculation will reign supreme.

Every analyst, tech blog and expert on the planet seems to have an opinion or source as to when the iPhone will be released and what it will include. There are rumors that the iPhone 5 will be thinner, such as this recent one which points to cases being sold in China. There are rumors that say the iPhone 5 will have a bigger screen and there are rumors that say the screen will stay the same size but come with a thinner bezel. 

Some have said the next generation iPhone will have scaled down upgrades, others have said there will be two phones introduced - a full on iPhone 5 and a scaled down mid-market phone and one site (UK blog KitGuru) has said a new phone may not come out until March of 2012.

The date to watch in terms of release is Oct. 7. Several sources from across the web, such as Apple blog 9To5Mac, say Oct. 7 is the date it will hit stores. A recent event notice on Oct. 7 from Sprint, which is supposed to gain the next-generation iPhone, has just fueled the fires even more.

Regardless of when the new iPhone will come out, there are certain features that must be included. These features have to be on the new iPhone, not only for the consumer's sake but for Apple's sake as well. Here are five in particular.

Dual Core Processor:  This one seems like a slam dunk. When Apple introduced the iPad 2 back in April, it came with a 1GHz A5 dual-core processor. Several of Apple's competitors from LG, Motorola and soon Samsung have already released dual core processor phones. According to a media report from 9to5 Mac back in the spring, Apple gave its developers a dual-core iPhone 4 to allow them to prep for the iPhone 5.

Upgraded Camera: This is another one that will likely happen. In the tech world, a 5 megapixel camera seems passé - as sad as that might sound to some - it's true. Like the dual core processor, several of iPhone's competitors in the Android world have phones with 8 megapixel cameras. A rumor back in April, from Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities, said the iPhone 5 will carry the 8 megapixel rear camera. Another rumor had Sony replacing Omnivsion and making the iPhone 5's improved camera. Expect a better phone with the iPhone 5.

4G: There have been a lot of rumors regarding the possibility of the next-generation iPhone being available on 4G networks for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. The consensus from analysts and tech experts seems to be that the iPhone 5 will not have 4G support. Our question is why not? Plenty of new phones have come out with 4G, and all three major U.S. carriers are pumping up support for their networks. Apple has always been ahead of the smartphone trends, why lag behind on this one?

NFC: Every next generation of the iPhone typically comes with something sexy to appeal to the masses. Having a phone that is near-field communication, and could be used to process payments with just a tap, would do just that. The Google Nexus S is going do that with the upcoming Google Wallet service and it would cool if the iPhone 5 could do that as well.

Better Notifications: This has already basically come with the implementation of iOS5 but it was definitely necessary for the next-generation iPhone 5. Now when you get a notification, it doesn't interrupt what you're doing but gets stored in the notification center at the top of your home screen. With Android's improvements to notifications over the past few years, this was absolutely necessary.

What would you like to see on the new iPhone?