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Apple Rumor: Could These Latest Pics Actually Show the New iPhone 5?
iLounge.com suggests the iPhone 5 will be longer than previous models. Wired speculates this would be to accommodate technology needed for LTE. (Image: iLounge)

Apple Rumor: Could These Latest Pics Actually Show the New iPhone 5?

"It all comes down to LTE."

The latest rumor released of the unconfirmed iPhone 5 is actually one that tech blogs are saying may be pretty accurate.

There's a buzz about the phone's expected lengthier design. iLounge, which Cult of Mac notes has been good at iOS predictions of late, released new images that included a 4-inch long phone. Adding on this half inch or so, Wired notes, is probably a pretty accurate assumption of how the iPhone 5 would look. Here's why:

The most obvious change in iLounge’s mockup is the 4-inch screen. That’s a big bump, as the iPhone’s display has stayed at 3.5 inches with a 3:2 aspect ratio since 2007. Why in the world would Apple change it now?

It all comes down to LTE. LTE radios take up more room in a smartphone than 3G radios and use more power. To put LTE capabilities in the next iPhone, you need to make room not just for the radio, but find enough juice to power it without significantly decreasing battery life.

The problem is there’s just not a lot of room inside an iPhone for anything more than is already there. An iPhone is a densely packed sandwich of silicon, radios, flash storage, motors and cameras. Over the past five generations, Apple has packed in everything that makes up an iPhone about as densely as possible, and the battery still makes up the bulk of every device.

If it’s going to fit anything else, Apple needs to make more room.

Wired does point out that talk of a larger iPhone has circulated before, but it's the 3:2 ratio that may have gotten in the way. Wired states to maintain this length-to-width ratio with a longer display would make the phone harder to "operate one-handed." It would also reduce pixel density. So what's Apple to do? Wired writes several tech sites have offered the 9:5 solution:

By ditching a 3:2 aspect ratio in favor of a 9:5 display, the new iPhone would feel about the same in the hand as the iPhone 4S, retain its current 326ppi resolution, and allow Apple room for an LTE chip and more battery. Apps could either be easily updated to support the new iPhone’s 4-inch display without breaking compatibility with 3.5-inch devices, or run in a letterbox without modification at their existing resolution.

With a longer body, iLounge points out, the device would also get thinner than its current 9.3 mm thickness. The Blaze reported on other rumors that would also suggest a thinner phone last month: Liquidmetal and in-cell touch technology.

If the Liquidmetal rumor -- a material that would replace the current glass back of the phone with a stronger alloy -- excited you, Business Insider (via ABC News) recently suggested it was very well just a rumor and may not be making into the highly anticipated phone. Steve Kovach interviewed the inventor of Liquidmetal, Atakan Peker, who suggested more work had to be done with the product before it was used on the iPhone.

"I would not say Liquidmetal was perfected," he said. "This is a technology that has yet to be matured and perfected both in manufacturing process and application development. I should note that this is a completely new and different metal technology. Therefore, there is no suitable manufacturing infrastructure yet to take full advantage of this alloy technology. For example, I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million -- and three to five years -- to mature the technology before it can used in large scale."

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