The rumors surrounding Apple Inc.'s anticipated launch of the next iteration of its hugely popular iPhone series of smartphones are gathering momentum. The new phone, popularly called the iPhone 5, is expected to sport better features than iPhone 4S, like a bigger display and an improved battery. While these improvements will certainly offer the iPhone extra bite in a competitive smartphone market, the lack of news on availability of a microSD slot (to expand onboard memory), could go down badly with present and future iPhone fans.

The iPhone is still very comfortably ruling the smartphone market across the world, in terms of sales. However, the Google Inc.-built Android operating system has already taken a big bite of its market share. Apple enthusiasts are now pegging their hopes on the iPhone 5, which is expected to be launched this summer.

Meanwhile, check out the rumored specifications for the improved hardware components, compared to Android phones...

Display: According to 9to5Mac, the iPhone 5 will feature a 4-inch screen display made by LG and a different casing compared to the iPhone 4S. If rumors about the bigger screen size are true, smartphone users hooked to Android phones due to its bigger screen size may be swayed enough to shell out for the Apple device, experts believe.

Nevertheless, the best Android phones like Samsung's Galaxy S2 and the newly launched Motorola Droid Razr Maxx both already sport 4.3-inch capacitive touch-screens. Moreover, another Android phones - the Samsung Galaxy S3, reportedly releasing next month, is expected to sport a massive 4.6-inch capacitive touch-screen.

Battery: This could have been Apple's ace card. The rumor was Apple would have an edge over Android phones because of an improved battery. Apparently the iPhone 5 will have a flat battery - thinner and more powerful, with the Long Term Evolution (LTE) feature.

The point is that smartphone users have always complained about the battery life of their phones. Therefore, if Apple can launch the new iPhone with a better battery, it may help the company eke out an edge in the competitive market. Unfortunately for them, Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx sports a Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery, which, according to the company, can give up to 21 hours of talk time. Meanwhile, the new Samsung Galaxy S3 is also expected to have a better and improved battery.

Memory: The iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple chooses to call it), like all other iPhones, is expected to have 16/32/64GB of internal memory. However, and also like all other iPhones, it may not offer users the option to increase that capacity, via external memory card slots. On the other hand, most Android phones usually offer 16/32GB of internal memory but do offer microSD slots, which can expand memory by a further 32GB or more.

MUST READ - Samsung Galaxy Note Releases Feb. 19: Top 10 Reasons Why iPhone 4S Should be Afraid

Must Read: iPhone 5 Rumors RoundUp: Lytro Camera, NFC, Physical Camera Button, Launch Date and More (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

MUST READ - iPad 3 Features: What to Expect and Not to Expect (Rumors Roundup)

MUST READ - iOS 5 Untethered Jailbreak Absinthe: Should You Jailbreak Your A5 Device?

MUST READ - MacWorld-iWorld Expo 2012: Top 10 Must-Have Gadgets, Software and Apps (PHOTOS)