iPhone 5 launch: What to expect from Apple's new phone

The debut of the iPhone 5 draws nigh. After months of speculation, here's what to look for at the Apple event tomorrow.

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    A man talks on a mobile phone in front of an Apple store in downtown Shanghai.
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Unless tech journalists have completely misconstrued the signals coming from Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook will climb onto a stage in San Francisco tomorrow and unveil the long-awaited iPhone 5. And yes, smart money says the device will be called the iPhone 5, rather than the "new iPhone," or the "iPhone HD," or something like that – for proof, check out the invite to the event. 

So hey, what should we expect from the iPhone 5 unveiling? Well, probably an iPhone that doesn't look so much different from the iPhones that came before. The screen may be larger – 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches, measured corner to corner – but the basic boxy shape will probably stay intact. In other words, if you were hoping for some sort of curved wonder, you may have to wait a few more years. 

"We need only look at any other Apple design for evidence," Eric Zeman writes over at InformationWeek. "Once Apple sets a design and/or look that it likes, that design sticks around for a while. Look at the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and, for Pete's sake, the Mac Pro. These products' overall look has not changed in years, and neither will the iPhone's."

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Meanwhile, many analysts expect Apple to roll out an iPhone with LTE connectivity. "Nothing's confirmed," acknowledges Jon Fingas of Engadget, "but the writing on the wall has been too large to ignore. Never mind LTE in the 2012 iPad. We've seen AT&T, Sprint and Verizon publicly swear off releasing new smartphones that don't include LTE; Apple may not have much of a choice." 

Another possibility: A new dock connector, with fewer pins than the port on the iPhone 4S, which would make room for more interior hardware. And a certainty: The official release of iOS 6, Apple's new mobile operating system. Back in June, Apple previewed iOS 6, and we liked what we saw – 3D maps, a "Do Not Disturb" function, and FaceTime that works on 3G as well as Wi-Fi. 

What would you like to see in the new iPhone? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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