iPhone 5 Release Features: Could Unibody Design Become A Reality? 2011 Apple Patent Hints At The Possibility

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Each and every Apple product release is preceded by a flurry of rumors trying to predict what the product will offer and when it will finally land on the users' hands. Some speculations turn out to be true, while majority of them continue to be a part of the fancied rumor mill. But that hasn't stopped people from hankering after something new from Apple.

In the case of company's existing iPhone 4S, people didn't experience anything new from the device's look as it was pretty much identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 4. And that has probably paved the way for growing rumors that Apple will bring some change to the form factor of its flagship smartphone's next iteration.

The new rumor goes that the next Apple iPhone will sport a new form factor that could employ a single unibody frame reminiscent of the company's MacBook lineup, AppleInsider reported.

As noted by the report, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a note to investors Monday with details he said he picked up on a tour of suppliers in China and Taiwan. During the trip, he learned that some suppliers will begin production in June of certain components of Apple's sixth-generation iPhone, setting up for a product launch in the fall.

In our view, this will be the most significant iPhone upgrade with a four-inch screen and a new, sleek look that we believe will require a Unibody case, White wrote. This new, sleek look will be the most important reason that consumers decide to upgrade.

On the same note, Computerworld's Jonny Evans said that it's open to question whether a Unibody design will be compatible with the need to ensure good telephone and data reception. He also pointed out a link that can play a big role in support for the rumors of a sleek, unibody iPhone 5 form factor.

With that in mind it is interesting to note a September 2011 patent application for a new iPhone antenna window. In this design the antenna would slot into the chassis with a seamless, almost invisible conjoin, said Evans.

The patent application, explained by Patently Apple, revealed that an Apple patent could be the means to an end for crafting a seamless, unibody iPhone 5. As noted by iPhone 5 News Blog, Apple's 2011 patent for a new antenna window - as well as how it would be bonded to the chassis of the iPhone - offers both a potentially sound antenna window design while also giving Cupertino designers the opportunity to bond components to the iPhone 5′s chassis that are nearly seamless.

The new composite would accommodate a new antenna window for Apple's iPhone and iPad formed of RF transparent materials. As shown in our cover graphic, the new antenna window could take up as much as half the backside of an iPhone. The proposed antenna window would have a seamless backside line that would almost be invisible. The new antenna window design obviously departs from the iPhone 4's stainless steel antenna band which has been so controversial, the PA report said.

According to iPhone 5 News Blog, words like seamless, invisible and an antenna window that departs from the iPhone 4 in the report above take on the form factor and antenna designs of the iPhone, and would provide a solution for crafting this so-called unibody iPhone 5 without compromising reception.

However, in order to assure both the integrity of the housing as well as the aesthetic look and feel of the housing, the reveal formed at the junctions of the antenna window with the bottom surface and exposed surfaces... of the housing must be structurally strong and resilient but also present a sense of both visual and tangible continuity between the housing and antenna window, the PA report stated.

Unibody designs are becoming the norm for Android handset makers, with HTC recently producing the impressive One X handset. Apple is expected to offer a similar unibody design, too, and that could prove to be the basis for another Jonny Ive classic, according to reports, said Redmond Pie.

That said, if Apple indeed decides to employ the unibody concept, the iPhone 5′s form factor could turn out to be something that would once again stand out from that of its competitors in the marketplace.

Other Rumored iPhone 5 Features

As Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets said, the next-gen iPhone could sport a 4-inch display, contrary to earlier reports of a large 4.6-inch and 3.5-inch screen. Some other sources also said that the device would sport Quantum Dot LED curved glass edge-to-edge display with 1280 x 720 resolutions (367ppi).

9to5mac reported Monday that new models of the iPhone and iPod touch are already in the works. Apple has internally seeded a prototype next-generation iPhone with the iPhone 4 design. The actual next-generation iPhone is specifically said to not include the iPhone 4/4S design, but Apple is testing these new devices in older casings to throw off leaks, said the report.

According to the report, the iPhone prototypes had a variation of the A5X's S5L8945X architecture and like the new iPad, they were also packing 1GB of RAM.

However, some previous reports suggested that the sixth generation iPhone would feature an A6 processor. It was expected to be a superfast 1.2 to 1.5 GHz processor with 1GB or more of RAM to offer amazing processing capabilities to the smartphone.

As far as the other likely features are concerned, the upcoming iPhone model includes an 8 megapixel (or even higher) camera with the ability to take pictures in the panorama mode, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, iOS 6, 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, improved Siri and a much-improved battery life.

Why October Release Looks Likely

While there is no official word on when the upcoming iteration of the Apple iPhone is finally arriving, chances of a fall launch look stronger than that of a summer launch.

Apple would be inclined to pull the trigger on a June iPhone 5 release, had there been a decrease in the iPhone 4S sales, but there's hardly any sign of that so far, say reports. In its fiscal first quarter ending Dec. 31, 2011, Apple reported iPhone sales of 37 million, an increase of 128 percent year-over-year, and the iPhone 4S was only released in some markets as recently as January.

In addition, unlike a summer release, the fall release of the next iPhone would ensure that the owners of the current iPhone 4S have completed at least a year into their carrier contracts, according to iDownload Blog. It will allow most of them to purchase a new iPhone at the subsidized price. Releasing the new iPhone before the holidays would also help Apple record good sales.

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