New iPhone (iPhone 5,1) coming fall 2012 with LTE, similar sized screen

While Apple has only just released the new iPad, iMore has already started to hear more about the next generation iPhone (iPhone 5,1). We previously reported that Apple was working to reduce the size of the traditional 30-pin dock connector to something closer akin to a micro-dock so there'd be more room inside for other components (similar to how they went from a mini-SIM to a micro-SIM in 2010). Yesterday we reported that, as of last month, Apple was planning to stick with the current 3.5-inch screen size for the new iPhone, but that it wasn't set in stone and it could get a little bigger (though nowhere near as big as current 4.5-inch-plus Android phones.)

Following that story we received some additional information.

First, the new iPhone will be 4G LTE compatible. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, considering the new iPad supports LTE and it's hard to imagine Apple giving the iPad a feature like that and not passing it on to the iPhone. So look for that this fall.

Second is the timeframe. We've mentioned October 2012 as the current release schedule for iPhone 5,1 before and that's still the plan. The exact date won't be determined until closer to launch, but the iPhone is locked to a fall cycle for the immediate future.

That makes sense for a number of reasons. While going from the iPhone 4 in June 2010 to the iPhone 4S in October 2011 was a longer wait than previous generations, a new iPhone release in June of 2012 would create the opposite problem -- only 9 months between iPhones. That's not dissimilar to the period of time between the Verizon iPhone 4 launch in February of 2011 and the cross-carrier iPhone 4S launch in October of the same year, but that was a unique circumstance. Apple has shown they can earn significant revenue on their flagship devices even when they've been on the market for over a year. Why unnecessarily shorten that shelf life?

Also, to date, every new iPhone has been launched alongside a new version of iOS. The last version, iOS 5, was a major, ambitious update, including iCloud and Siri, and Apple may have needed those 16 months to bring it to market. We have no specific information on how large an update Apple is planning for iOS 6, but 9 months may not be enough time for even a modest release. If Apple announces an iOS 6 SDK event this spring, like they did from 2008 to 2010, then we may start getting an idea. If iOS 6 isn't introduced to developers until WWDC, presumably in the summer like 2011, then a fall release would seem a certainty.

So to sum up, iPhone 5,1 is on track for:

  • Similar if not same sized screen (currently 3.5-inch but not set in stone)
  • 4G LTE radio
  • New "micro dock" connector
  • Fall/October 2012 release

There's some other stuff we're still looking into and we'll update asap. In the meantime, if next generation iPhone rumors and discussion are your thing, jump on into our iPhone 5 forum and have at it.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

162 Comments
  • October happens to be 20 months after the Verizon iP4 release... and when custos are eligible renew contracts and get new phones.... coincidence? :D
  • I am also expecting bigger screen in new iphone this is required now and we hope Apple will consider this.
  • I personally don't want a larger screen size like some of the others manufacturers make. If I wanted a larger screen, I would buy one from another vendor. Why is it that we have so many comments from people wanting a larger screen size, but almost none from everyone who really likes it the way it is. Good subject for a poll.
    I am a guy, and as far as I am concerned the iphone is a PERFECT screen size! I like a phone that slips easily into and out of my front pants pocket. I don't want a phone that is so large it:
    a. Stabs me in the waist when in a pocket or on a holster
    b. So large I need a holster to carry it, which adds bulk or falls off or snags on something when I walk by.
    c. I am not a girl, so I don't carry a purse and don't want to start with the man purse thing.
    d. I like the way it fits in one hand better than a larger size does.
    Just leave the form factor the way it is; except reducing the bezel to increase the screen size is good, and thinner is always better. :-)
  • That's basically what we're saying; the iPhone doesn't have to become huge to have a 4" screen; just reduce the bezel around it and keep the current form factor. I'm sure Apple could find a way to make it happen. I'm with you on the overall dimensions of the phone; I like the size and feel of it as it is. But the screen would be so much easier to read and type on with a reasonably larger screen. A modest increase to 4" would solve it nicely. I have a holster for my iPhone 4 and have never had any problems with it snagging on anything. But I'm with you on the whole man-purse thing; I would never wear one either. LOL
  • One side doesn't fit all! What prevents Apple from making 2 sizes?
  • Agreed +1!!
  • Reducing the bezel is still a bad idea, you must not have ever used a device with a super-thin bezel. The fold of skin from simply holding the device can cause "touches"
    and try handing the phone to someone else to show them a picture, you're guaranteed they'll hit something.
    It's a huge fault in usability if they reduce the bezel.
  • I think they should go ahead and make the whole front a screen thus creating more space, I seen a picture of a iphone concept and it looked pretty cool with the home button built into the screen itself. Would solve the problem from both sides, having a bigger screen but still a small phone. Which I also like btw.
  • Agreed. But I must add, please women, never put your phone in your purse. While out and about your phone needs to be on your person. The first thing a thief will grab is your purse. Now you can't easily call for help.
  • no, leave the phone in there. go to the nearest business call the cops, and track your purse. In fact, make sure you don't password your phone. if it works, they keep it and use it. Making them easier to find. . . GPS, and who they contact.
  • Personally, when i had my Iphone it jabbed me in the waist. a. You should always have a holster its the safest place to keep your phone. b. I had my iphone and it fell out of my pocket. C. A bigger screen means you can see more. But i still think you should keep it the same size, because it can make it slower running a bigger Phone will WASTE the battery.
  • Actually, iPhone 4 went on sale in June 2010. But your underlying point is spot on: in markets where AT&T service is especially poor -- such as New York and San Francisco -- the churn over to Verizon will likely be huge with many of those customers having recently fulfilled their contractual obligation. The migration in other markets should also be significant, given recurring consumer dissatisfaction with AT&T. No doubt, AT&T is aware of this and is preparing offerings to stem the tide -- which will hopefully be matched by their competitors.
  • So basically the iPhone 4SS lol
  • Now with apple a new connector is a feature hahahah
  • The next iPhone will be called "The new iPhone".
  • And the next iOS will be called "new iOS" :p
  • Followed by iPhone4SSJ
    Only available in yellow
  • over 9000?!
  • It's so ad that nobody else got that joke...
  • I had to look that one up...and yes, it is sad, but I am in my 40s.
  • Yellow would be awesome!! now if I could only find a yellow and black legit otter box case I'd be f'en happy.
  • SSJ4 isn't yellow it's red and black. Fail.
  • same sized screen???....are you kidding me...they have had the same screen size since the original iphone, isnt it time to make it at least a little bigger. I am not asking for like 6inch screen or something like that but atleast make it 4.5-5 inches...
  • Agree at minimal people would go with is 4"
  • I was thinking more in the range of 3.7" minimum to 4" maximum. We may all complain about our iPhone screens, but when I get down to it, I'm honestly not really sure I want something too much bigger than what we already have. Eventually you get to a size that is just cumbersome.
  • I've never complained about my 3.5" screen. I like it.
  • Screen is perfect size. Don't change it. If you want bigger get an iPad
  • Well I think 4" to 4.5" would be great, but making it thinner as well, 3.5" is too small to text compared to other devices, and watching videos on that screen is not as appealing as a bigger screen, I admit you got a tablet for that, but you don't always carry your tablet and therefore I prefer bigger screen with ginger resolution, HD level resolution would be amazing to watch media.
  • I have been testing a google nexus something for our SMS program at work and it has a 4.6" screen and it is WAY to big it feels weird in your hand and pocket... I would like 4" Screen that goes edge to edge like some of the concepts out there don't make it way bigger there is no need u want bigger screen buy an iPad!
  • I will not buy a phone with a screen bigger than 4". Period. I don't want a damn tablet at all, let alone a tablet sized phone. That's part of why I hate most android devices besides not liking android: they are all insanely huge.
  • The larger screens on the android devices are to accommodate space for larger batteries. LTE requires more battery power to give you the same amount of talk/wait time that the smaller 3G phones provide. I would not be surprised to see Apple increasing the screen size to be able to put in a larger battery.
  • Exactly, like they did with the new iPad... wait! They kept the screen size and made the battery/device thicker :)
    Sorry, I couldn't resist it
  • While it isn't much thicker, the new ipad did get a bit thicker.
  • AMEN! ANDROID SUCKS BALLS! I do agree tho that the iPhone is perfect the way it is frame wise, but like I said in a previous comment they could go ahead and just make the whole front a screen and still keeping its sleek style. I went from a iPhone 4 to HTC inspire 4g back to iPhone 4 because the iPhone 4 was perfect in every aspect. If they do decide for a bigger phone I think it would be a bad idea to make it bigger then 4inches considering my HTC phone sucked while trying to text.
  • Agree. If the "new" iPhone doesn't have a bigger screen it will be massive FAIL. And I have owned them all!!
  • Ehh... I don't think it would be a massive fail. If they end up keeping the next iPhone's screen size as it is, I'm sure it'll still sell very well, and millions of people will still buy it. I just won't be one of them.
  • If the screen is too big, you wont be able to carry it with one hand as easily. The 3.5 inch screen is perfect because you can easily touch it and carry it. If they made it any bigger, you would need to use 2 hands. I like the 3.5 inch screen
  • And yet I still keep seeing people using phones with even smaller screens (e.g. BlackBerrys) with both hands. Besides, there are plenty of phones with screens in the 4" and up range that can easily be used with one hand. It just depends on how the phone is made, and the size of your hand.
  • The Motorola Atrix is nearly identical to the iPhone 4/4S in all dimensions yet has a 4" screen. So if Motorola could do it a year ago, Apple should be able to do it better today. and we are talking "mm" in each direction and not inches.
  • Don't get me wrong, I love the iPhone. But if they slap the same size screen on there, I'm moving back to android.
  • I love the iPhone. But if they slap the same size screen on there, I’m moving back to android.
    Why? Because you need a bigger phone?
  • Because 3.5" doesn't cut it anymore. There's a reason that only the iPhone and a handful of budget Android phones have that screen size these days. Most people want a bigger screen. It wouldn't kill Apple to go 4" and it would be a very logical choice in the face of the current competition.
  • By "most peopl" do you mean manufacturers? Last time I checked, iPhone was the best selling individual handset.
  • That's because people want an iPhone and they're willing to settle for a smaller screen. Market research shows that most users prefer a larger screen. Consumers only have one choice with Apple, so they settle for the 3.5" screen when many would rather have a 4" screen. And don't kid yourself, Apple is losing potential customers who simply want a larger screen and choose Android for that reason.
    They could fit 4" in nearly the same form factor with the same pixel density and the five people out there who really only want a micro screen can go ahead and just keep buying the 4s.
    Just because you're content to settle for a 3.5" screen, doesn't mean you're in the majority.
  • No, because he wants a bigger screen, as do many of us. The whole phone doesn't necessarily have to be bigger; a 4" screen would fit into the current phone's casing if they reduced the bezel around it.
  • Re: "If iOS 6 isn’t introduced to developers until WWDC, presumably in the summer like 2011, then a fall release would seem a certainty."
    Agree. It's always good to give developers a few months to update their apps with new iOS features. And to let them make sure that iOS 6-compatible apps will still run well on iOS 5 (and maybe even iOS 4.)
    And releasing iOS 6 to developers in the summer, then releasing new iPhones with iOS 6 in the fall, gives Apple time to fix bugs in iOS itself as well.
  • Shouldn't you add the word "rumor" somewhere in that title?
  • Agreed, but by now I know that when it is not a rumor, the headline has a "official" somewhere.
    It might fall under linkbait, although by now iMore readers are used to the wording style.
  • They also use the word "reported" very loosely, since it is all unsubstanciated, but it is a blog after all, and as I said, most readers are used to the wording by now.
  • My guess is a 4 inch screen making the phone a little bigger so they're able to fit a bigger battery for LTE.
  • I've owned every version of the iPhone and iPad to current, but if the screen on the iPhone 5 stays under 4 inches, I will be going with an Android phone the day they announce it.
  • Why wait? Go grab a 4" android phone now.
    Apple isn't increasing the screen size of its iphone. To do so would mean a lesser quality screen. That's not apple.
    Not to mention there's not a good reason to increase the screen half an inch. The screen is already the perfect size in Apple's eyes. Apple sets the standards, not others. After all, the iphone is the top selling phone in the world and most desired.
  • Apple doesn't set standards for anybody but themselves. Proprietary by definition is not a standard.
    And to say you can't have the same quality in a larger size is just plain ridiculous.
  • You probably shouldn't comment on stuff you know nothing about.
  • Uh huh. Then please do tell how Apple's 960x640 resolution that nobody else uses is a standard and and the qHD and HD resolutions that other phone manufacturers are starting to go to are not.
    Or maybe you should take your own advice.
  • so Steve Jobs dies, and no one in Apple can fuking think of new ideas like 4 inch screen.
  • Between a 3.5" display sporting amazing visuals and a 4" sporting equally impressive visuals, which would you choose? Oh, 4? Yeah, I thought so. Sit down.
    Seriously, the sentiment I'm getting here is that Apple is apparently incapable of transitioning an impressive display onto a bigger screen. I would expect people on iMore to, you know, have more faith in Apple being able to do something like this. I mean, HTC did it. Samsung did it. Crappy LG did it. You're telling me that, Apple, arguably the de-facto smartphone today, can't do it?
  • Those others are running android which can scale. Apple runs iOS. Have you guys been asleep? There's a reason why Apple had to DOUBLE the resolution to change resolutions.
    They will not increase the screen size and lose their retina quality. It's a step backwards.
    They will not bump the resolution which will fragment their apps.
    Besides, none of you have made any case of how a 4" oversized phone would improve anything. The iphone has already proven to be the most popular sized phone.
  • iOS scales just fine. If it doesn't, whose fault is that? Oops, Apple!
    Regarding screen size, where have you been? Larger screen means better picture viewing, better browsing, movies are more enjoyable and typing is easier. And that's just skin-deep. You keep babbling about how the iPhone is the most popular sized phone. And how many larger screen iPhones does it compare to again? Oh, right, none. Android has the market now, and guess what? Most of their phones are at least 3.7", which is larger than the iPhone. So, yeah, size is popular, despite how ignorant you are of it's benefits.
    How about someone makes a survey here and asked "Would you like the iPhone to have a larger screen" I would literally bet money on the majority of the people saying "Yes." You're an idiot if you don't think Apple should at least ante up a little so that their hardware isn't so antiquated. God knows iOS is.
  • Another person living in fantasy land.
  • Yeah, I know. I mean, the idea of Apple actually upping their ante and giving the consumer what they want is so ridiculous, right? Who are we to actually say "Hey, we're giving our money to you and making you rich, can you actually give us what we, you know, want?"? It must be nice to live in a your world where Apple can do no wrong and they can basically give us a rehash after rehash and somehow you're still acting like they're flawless.
  • In my opinion. I don't think Apple will change the port. There are entirely way too many accessories that fits the current ones. On the issue with the screen. I don't think they will come to 4" on this one. Im thinking 3.7" no edge to edge screen. Cases would be an issue. I think that they will keep the same resolution with the slightly bigger screen. If you look at the 2G,3G, and 3GS they had 320X480. It will still be retina-like. Apple is really huge on being able to function everything with one hand so there will not be a 4" screen or bigger on it.
  • Apple has absolutely no qualms about killing off a port or connector. Firewire was great on the iPod and having USB sucks when copying a huge library to my iPod 6Gen.
    Apple also likes accessories, A LOT, and I do mean A LOT. If they make you upgrade to a new connector they will call it revolutionary and the (first three rows at the event which are ALL Apple employees) will clap feverishly. New connector, new way of doing things, its revolutionary, magical.
    Apple tells you what you what want and the iFans simply say yes, you are so right. My point is simple, Apple will do what they want and Apple users will simply buy it.
    Besides AirPlay is the new way forward so all of the new devices will simply use AirPlay to connect to and you will just use your cable to charge it at night.
  • I think they should increase the screen quality and make the screen like 3 inches :) that would be perfect right ?
  • I think the screen size is okay the way it is. Its a phone. I like the ability to put it in my pocket, with ease. I wouldn't want a device that I'd have to carry in my hand all the time or cram in my pocket. Or better yet, I don't want to have to buy clothes to fit my phone. I can reach the whole screen with one thumb. That's the way it should be.
  • I totally agree. I dont want a phone that will stick out of my pocket.
  • If you want to go with that logic, I have found no phone is faster and easier to use one-handed than a BlackBerry. Yet I have no desire to own another.
    And my 4.25" phone fits just fine in all my pockets.
  • I understand the size issues with phones, but why not jus