iPhone 5 has metal back, A6 chip 'late 2012'

By Jonny Evans

The future of Apple [AAPL] is mobile and that's what's driving such speculation as the world and its brother considers the future of the company now CEO Steve Jobs has moved, Gandalf-like, into the shadows. And it looks like the next-gen iPhone 5 will be faster, smaller and bigger, according to this morning's report from Digitimes.

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We all want to know

Though highly speculative, there's little new in this morning's claims, in brief: Digitimes now says the iPhone 5 won't possess a 4.2-inch screen. (iPhones have never had such a screen). The iPhone 5 will boast a metal back with a 3.5-3.7 inch screen with a thinner bezel for a larger-looking screen.

The new claims do render some interesting gleanings: "The rumored specifications of iPhone 5 include a 4- to 4.2-inch HD touch panel, 8-megapixel camera, Full HD video recording, A5 dual-core processor and new ultra-thin industrial design; however, the sources believe that the leaked specifications are rather the market's expectations for iPhone 5."

This is interesting because a second rumor this morning claims that the introduction of Apple's A6 processor may not take place until the second-half of next year, which suggests a late 2012 launch for post iPhone 5 models and any significant A6-powered iPad upgrade.

A6 for late 2012?

Analysts at the Linley Group say that the A6 processor "may not arrive until later in 2012". That's no great surprise -- particularly since Apple seems far more amenable to remaining flexible in its product release schedules these days, presumably to keep competitors guessing.

However, any perceived delay in the introduction of any predicted (or imagined) Apple product in the coming months will likely be seized on by a traffic-greedy media as evidence the company under new CEO, Tim Cook, is losing its grip.(Which it isn't).

Such reports will hopefully be taken by the majority of the Apple faithful as the shoddy wish-fulfillment fantasies that they will eventually emerge to be.

Returning to the Linley Group, analysts there warn the A6 processor won't likely hit market until the second half of next year.

This is interesting because it could imply the iPad 3 will host an A5 processor, fully souped-up to deliver the more advanced 'pro' features many expect this imagined configuration may deliver. It could also suggest the A6-powered iPad 4 will make its own blushing debut at a later-than-anticipated juncture.

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Apple ditches Intel?

Linley analyst Kevin Krewell explains: "This pace would make the A6 one of the first 28nm mobile processors (along with Qualcomm's MSM8960) to enter production."

The move to 28nm process is likely to be a tough one for Apple's suppliers, but will offer the company some serious possibilities when it comes to the development of new, ultra-powerful but low power mobile devices, perhaps equipped with multiple multi-processors.

That's well-timed as Apple continues to apply pressure to chip giant and current Mac processor supplier, Intel, to deliver ever-faster, ever-more-low-power processors to feed its busier than ever production lines.

Meanwhile, Apple's moves to replace Samsung as supplier continue while the company's litigation against its old ally seem to support Cupertino's claims against it. Samsung is not winning the legal arguments in any territory, and faces real danger of its seemingly Apple-inspired Galaxy products being banned in key markets.

Please comment on this story and do please follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here at Computerworld

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