The release date of iPhone 5 is left hanging in the air while Apple's newest iPhone, the 4S, broke AT&T's sales record on Monday as one million units were sold.

While the iPhone 4S has so far proven to be an unexpected hit, many iPhone users are waiting for the much-buzzed fifth generation of Apple's smartphone, which now is expected to roll out sometime in 2012.  

Optimistic projection suggest that the iPhone 5 will be released in February, while the most pessimistic view looks toward an October release, according to Beatweek Magazine.

With the iPad 3 launch likely to fall in March, the most realistic projection for the iPhone 5 release date would be the late spring or summer, with Apple's developers' conference in June being the sweetest spot.

 

The fingerprints of Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and visionary whose death last month was mourned around the globe, are all over the iPhone 5, which was the last project that Steve Job was intimately involved with from concept to final design, according to CNET.  

It would not hurt, therefore, to hold extra high expectations for Apple's next flagship smartphone.

 

The iPhone 5 will establish the high water mark for iPhone volumes, according to Ashok Kumar, analyst from Rodman and Renshaw that conducted a research. The device will feature a complete redesign, with a slimmer body and larger screen, said Kumar. 

In addition to a curved glass screen or a teardrop design, rumors suggest that the fifth generation iPhone is alleged to compete with Samsung in including a quad-core processor, a significant upgrade from a single core A4 processor on the iPhone 4 and a dual core A5 processor in the 4S. 

While the patent battles between Apple and Samsung heat up, Apple is in talks with the Korean electronic giant to build a next-generation quad-core A6 processor, according to Korea Times.

The A6 CPU is expected to utilize Samsung's 28-nanometer processing technology.

While the iPhone 4S came with an 8-megapixel LED flash camera and a secondary VGA one for video chat, the iPhone 5 is expected to have a dual-LED flash, separated from the camera sensor, and both cameras are expected to have higher megapixels.

 

Apple is waiting for the LTE technology in order for the iPhone 5, said analysts. The 4G LTE technology, slightly faster than the WiMax-based 4G broadband available on current iPhones. 

The lack of more compact LTE chips is to be blamed for Apple's release the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5, according to analysts. It is reported that Qualcomm is working on a chip that will be ready by the second quarter of 2012 and could be used in Apple's next handset. 

The chip could also extend the battery life of the next smartphone.

For Apple to keep its throne above its competitors in the smartphone market, the company has to present its demanding users with a radically upgraded iPhone 5 sporting 4G LTE technology. Will Tim Cook deliver what Steve Jobs left behind?