As a technology journalist, I get a lot of questions from family, friends, colleagues, and even total strangers during the year about tech purchases. They're always interesting, but around this time of year one or two questions loudly and powerfully drown out all the others:
"Should I get the current iPhone or should I wait for the new one?"
"When is the next iPhone [or iPhone 5] coming out?"
I've been asked some variation of that question more times than I can count. Even my colleague's 81-year-old mother asked me when the iPhone 5 is coming out. (We don't even know if Apple will call it the iPhone 5.)
WATCH: A Video Guide to the iPhone 5 Rumors
Yes, people of all ages are waiting on Apple's new iPhone or asking if they should wait. In fact, Apple only sold 26 million phones last quarter, down from the 35.1 million they sold the quarter before, because of the speculation around its next phone.
And it makes sense that people are waiting. History has shown that Apple releases a new phone every year. It was on Oct. 4 of last year that the iPhone 4S was announced.
My answer to those who ask if they should wait is a resounding yes. Why? The long-winded answer to that one is below in a rumor round-up.
The design of the iPhone hasn't changed in the last two years, but that's expected to change with the next phone. Photos have leaked from Asia showing a phone with a two-toned aesthetic. Recent photos showed a grayish version, but there is also a photo of a white version. The phone appeared to have a slightly larger footprint than current models, since it has a longer screen.
Numerous news outlets (The Wall Street Journal, 9to5Mac, iLounge, etc.) have reported that the next iPhone will have a 4- or 3.95-inch screen, as opposed to the 3.5-inch screen that has been a constant on all generations of the iPhone. From the photos, the screen makes the phone taller, though not much wider.
There's also more info out there about the screen: It will apparently use the second generation of Corning's tough Gorilla Glass, which is thinner but still just as durable. Also, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple has engineered a liquid crystal display with the touch screen built right into it (called in-cell technology). Currently the touch screen is a layer on top of the LCD.
New Dock Connector
The dock connector -- another major iPhone constant -- is expected to change. The dock connector or charging port on the phone is rumored to be smaller than the one on the iPhone 4S. This has been reported by a number of sources and the leaked images show a smaller port (Reuters reported that the 30-pin port would be replaced by a 19-pin connector). Additionally, the leaked photos show that the headphone jack will be relocated to the bottom of the phone.
Apple recently changed the charging port on its new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and sells adaptors so you can use old charging cables with the laptop. It's likely that Apple will do the same for the next iPhone.
The next iPhone will be faster. Some sources suggest that the phone will have an A5 processor, the same one in the new iPad. The new chip brings faster processing power and higher-end graphics. This really seems like a no-brainer, considering every iPhone has been faster than its predecessor.