iPhone 5: What shape will Apple's newest phone take?

iPhone 5 is likely to hit store shelves this fall. But will the iPhone 5 be boxy and flat or teardrop shaped?

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Conventional wisdom has it that the iPhone 5 will likely look a lot like the iPhone 4 –– boxy, square-sided, flat. But what if the next-generation Apple iPhone had a teardrop shape? What if the iPhone 5 started thick up near the receiver, and tapered down until it was almost as thin as a piece of paper? It could happen, say the folks over at This Is My Next, a a new tech site founded by a bunch of longtime tech writers.

Last week, This Is My Next published a photo mock-up of a "radically changed" iPhone 5 –– a mock-up apparently based on conversations with several sources familiar with the new Apple phone. (See image at left.) Caveats abound. Rumors are still swirling around the Web; the This Is My Next team admits that it is still "trying to make sense of the noise." But Joshua Topolsky says the information lines up with previous reports on the iPhone 5.

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"In a sketch supplied to us by a source," he notes, "the home button is doing double duty as a gesture area; this falls in line with testing we’ve seen for gestures on the iPad, and our sources say that gestures are definitely coming in a future version of iOS. The home button will likely be enlarged, but not scrapped altogether. Furthermore we’re hearing that the screen on the device will occupy the entire (or near to it) front of the phone, meaning almost no bezel."

In other words, the iPhone 5 is going to undergo a pretty substantial redesign. As we mentioned earlier, this would fly in the face of the current gossip on the Apple handset. It would also be a break in protocol for Apple. Remember that the Apple iPhone 3G was replaced by the Apple iPhone 3G S –– a phone that looked exactly like the iPhone 3G. It took Apple two full generations to completely overhaul the look of the iPhone.

Still, that iPhone 5 mock-up sure is purdy to look at, ain't it? And we sure wouldn't mind having one of those things in our pocket. So here's hoping that This Is My Next is on to something. Got some thoughts on the new iPhone? Drop us a line in the comments section. In the meantime, for more tech news, sign up for the free Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday morning.

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