Apple Inc. is gearing up its production of iPhone 5 for a possible September launch.

Added to this, Apple's projection of selling 25 million iPhones by the end of 2011 coincides with the expectation that the release is round the corner.

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What are the features of the next iPhone is a question that has given rise to a vast range of speculations. Over the last few months, several iPhone successor features were discussed by tech websites and in the blogosphere.

Some rumors were supported by image leaks, sources from manufacturing partners while other features were thought based on what competitors offer.

However, it is more or less confirmed that iPhone 5 will run on Apple's latest mobile operating system iOS 5 and will have a superior ecosystem comprising of iCloud.

Meanwhile, Apple has a complete ecosystem as its app store has 425,000 apps. Recently, Apple announced that its App Store has topped the 15 billion download mark.

As a result, if Apple adds the following features then it may effectively outclass a flurry of competing Android devices that is expected near-term.

Worldphone:

Apple is expected to release iPhone 5 as a 'Worldphone' - both GSM and CDMA compatible. It is conjectured that the phone will have a SIM-less design with 3-4 antennas.

Another rumor suggested that the iPhone 5 will feature a SIM card slot for other countries except US. This will allow users to insert any SIM card in iPhone when traveling abroad.

Better Camera:

Apple has really improved the camera department on its iPhone 4 by fitting a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash.

Apple's iPhone 5 is expected to sport an 8 megapixel camera. It has been reported that OmniVision/Sony would supply 8 MP camera sensors.

Processor

There is also near unanimity in gadget circles that Apple will bring its A5 chip on to the iPhone 5. The A5 processor is the same which Apple rolled out to power its iPad 2.

Apple lists the A5 to be clocked at 1 GHz on the iPad 2's technical specifications page, though it can dynamically adjust its frequency to save battery life.

Apple may boost the speed of its A5 chip in the range of 1.2 or 1.5 GHz as several Android smartphones are coming with 1.2GHz processor.

Meanwhile, reports have come out that Apple is working on an A6 chip.

NFC Support

Apple may fit a near-field communication (NFC) chip in iPhone 5 as some high-end Android devices such as the upcoming Google Nexus 4G will have NFC chip.

NFC allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and connections with a touch. A smartphone or tablet with an NFC chip could make a credit card payment or serve as keycard or ID card.

NFC devices can read NFC tags on a museum or retail display to get more information or an audio or video presentation. NFC can share a contact, photo, song, application, or video or pair Bluetooth devices.

Better Display

Apple is rumored to increase its screen size to compete with Android smartphones, probably going for a 4-inch screen. iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch screen.

However, Apple should not compromise on the weight of the phone or its battery life.

Better Battery Backup

We can expect a great battery life in iPhone 5 as Apple has a record of improving battery life with its every coming product. The iPhone 4 has 40 percent more talk time than the iPhone 3GS.

There are expectations that the upcoming iPhone should improve on its battery metrics to handle its sophisticated features.

iPhone 4 offers talk-time of up to 7 hours on 3G; up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM model only) and standby time of up to 300 hours. On internet usage, the device offers up to 6 hours on 3G and up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi.

iCloud

Apple's 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.

iCloud will also store photos, apps, calendars and documents without storing them onto the phone's memory storage. Apple also placed itself in top position of the cloud war by inking deals with top music label companies to license songs for the iCloud service.

Added to that, there are rumors that Apple is stepping into the movie scene by attempting to license deals for films with movie studios.

iOS 5

iOS, known as iPhone OS before June 2010, is Apple's mobile operating system. The user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons.

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.

Apple's iOS 5 will introduce the iCloud service and the Notification Center, as well as improvements to native apps such as Camera. The operating system also features new applications, such as the Reminders app and Newsstand, an application resembling Folders and iBooks.

Unlike other applications, Newsstand is the first native application to actually run on the homescreen. iMessage is an application that allows iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad users to communicate, much like a chat service only used between these devices. The iMessage feature has been integrated into the SMS/MMS application used originally on the iPhone models.

More Carriers

Apple is expected to release iPhone to more carriers in the U.S.

When iPhone 4 was launched at AT&T, it faced several complaints of dropped calls and network outage, especially in New York and San Francisco. However, when Verizon began carrying iPhone, there are not many issues with the network.

If both AT&T and Verizon simultaneously carry iPhone, it's also possible that the migration of some AT&T iPhone customers to Verizon will relax some of the AT&T's network.

There were also reports that the next iPhone may come to Sprint.