iPhone 5 reportedly enters final phase of testing

The iPhone 5 is on the way, possibly as soon as September of 2011.

The iPhone 5 looks to be primed for a September launch. Here, a user holds an iPhone 4.

The iPhone 5 has reportedly entered the final stage of testing, and is already being hauled around by "high level Apple and carrier executives." That's the word today from the the tech site 9 to 5 Mac, which puts the launch date of the iPhone 5 – or whatever the device is going to be called (iPhone 4S?) – at September of this year. Just in time for the Christmas rush! And also more or less in line with the once-a-year Apple launch schedule.

9 to 5 Mac says this newest iPhone won't necessarily get 3G FaceTime support – you'll probably still need to hook up with a Wi-Fi connection to video chat with friends and family – but over-the-air software updates look increasingly certain. (Right now, Apple issues software updates to handheld devices via iTunes; Android updates, on the other hand, are pushed directly to users' handsets. Apple is a hold-out in this regard.)

Thus far, no Apple employees have left a spare iPhone 5 around a California bar, so we have no idea what the phone will look like. The received wisdom in the tech blogosphere is that the iPhone 5 will closely resemble the iPhone 4 – boxy, flat, slim. But back in May, at least one tech site reported that Apple had invested in machines equipped to cut curved glass, which could mean Apple is rejiggering the shape of its popular smartphone.

Over at CNET, David Carnoy mulls the possibility that the new iPhone will include 4G capability. This makes sense – Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon have all rolled out (or are in the process of rolling out) 4G networks. An iPhone that did not include a 4G antenna could make Apple look behind the game, especially considering the profusion of 4G phones which have hit the market in recent months. Then again, the original iPhone did not offer 3G, even though the network was in full effect at the time.

What would you like to see on the iPhone 5? Drop us a line in the comments section.

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