Rumors of an LTE/4G iPhone have persisted for a long time, but it looks like this will finally be the year. Many believe it will use the next generation of Qualcomm chips; the head of Qualcomm told analysts in April that demand far exceeded what they expected for its upcoming chip.
There's one outlier in terms of internal parts: NFC (near-field communication). NFC, which enables tap-to-share or tap-to-pay functionality, has been rumored to be included in the next iPhone by 9to5Mac and the China Times. The technology would assist with mobile payments, another area Apple has been rumored to be jumping into with its new Passbook app.
Other reports, though, including one from The Independent, say that the technology was scrapped. Some have said it could have been cut because of shortened battery life.
As for battery life, there aren't any concrete rumors on the size of the battery. While all these new performance parts would use more juice, it's not likely that Apple would release a phone with less battery life than the current iPhone 4S.
Apple has confirmed a lot more about the software for the next iPhone than about the hardware. (Apple declined to comment on any of the future iPhone rumors.)
The next version of the iPhone will run iOS 6, which Apple demoed in June at its WWDC conference. The new iPhone and iPad operating system has a lot of new features, including Apple's own maps app (no more Google Maps), Facebook integration, and a new Passbook app, which collects all your passes, tickets and coupons in one app.
Apple has said iOS 6 would be out in the fall.
Which brings us to timing. The fall lasts three months, so Apple has from Sept. 22 to Dec. 21 to release its new software and phone.
But rumors now point to the new iPhone and iOS 6 coming in what is technically the summer season. Reports from the New York Times, iMore, and AllThingD all point to Apple holding an event on Sept. 12 to launch the new iPhone. iMore goes a bit farther than the others and says it will be out in stores 12 days later, on Sept. 21.
Yes, You Should Wait
"Should I get an Android phone or wait for the iPhone 5?"
That's the last question I get a lot right now. We've established that if you're in the market for an iPhone right now, you should wait. A read of the rumors above should show that it's a no-brainer.
And I also suggest waiting even if you are in the market for any smartphone. The best Android phones of the year have already been released -- the Galaxy S III and the HTC Ones are the top choices -- and they are faster than the current iPhone 4S. However, the next iPhone will level the playing field. If you've waited this long, you should continue, so that you can choose between the best smartphones on the market.
Ultimately, iPhone 5 question seekers, I don't know the exact date when the next iPhone will be released. I don't know the exact name of the phone. But I do know Apple's prepping to release a new phone this fall, and from the rumors it looks like it will be worth the wait.