Consider this a reminder: don't take all iPhone rumors at face value.
Over the last few days, a handful of sites have claimed to have details on the design and release date of Apple's next iPhone, possibly dubbed the iPhone 5. Some of these unconfirmed stories seem more likely than others.
In one case, images of an alleged iPhone 5 front panel appeared on the photo-sharing website Photobucket, where it was discovered by Apple.pro and other news sites. The images show panels with a longer frame where the screen would be, suggesting the next iPhone's display will be larger than previous models' displays. The frame's front-facing FaceTime camera is shown in the center of the device, just above the earpiece.
Although the image's source is shady, the photos are similar to what we've seen before. In May, 9to5Mac posted similar photos, which also showed a longer frame and a metallic back. Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal also reported on a possible iPhone with a 4-inch display, citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter." In other words, despite the dubious source of the Photobucket image, it's highly possible that the image represents a new design for the next iPhone.
Other stories should be greeted with skepticism, though. For example, this report from Know Your Mobile claims that Apple will announced the iPhone 5 on August 7, and cites an unnamed "reliable industry source."
A bit of common sense might be all the debunking this rumor needs: Apple has already announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS6, is coming "this fall." Unless Apple plans to launch its next iPhone without iOS6, or give the phone a huge head start on the new software, an August launch isn't happening. Apple has typically released new iOS versions around the same time as the iPhone, and marketed the new software features alongside the device itself. I doubt this highly-successful strategy is about to change.
Is production for the next iPhone underway, as the sometimes-accurate Macotakara claimed over the weekend? Quite possibly, because Apple may need a couple of months to build up supplies for a fall launch. But if you're holding out for a newer, bigger iPhone, don't assume that a launch is imminent.
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