iPhone 5 rumors: big screen, better reception, contoured body?

Welcome back to iPhone 5 rumors. Newly posted images on a British tech site purport to show a next-gen iPhone with a bigger screen and greater touch sensitivity, among other improvements. If these iPhone 5 rumors are genuine, they could tell us a lot about the upcoming device.

IPhone 5 rumors point to a new look for Apple's popular smartphone.

IPhone 5 rumors continues to churn today over images posted this week by British cellphone blog Mobile Fun. The site says the pictures come from a “design document for an iPhone 5 case,” apparently leaked from a Chinese manufacturer, as well as a mockup of a second iPhone 5 case, which it says comes from a different manufacturer.

So why is the blogosphere buzzing about these pictures? If they’re genuine -- and, to be fair, that’s a big if -- we can infer quite a bit about what the next-generation iPhone will look like.

First up: the display. These new images appear to show a 4-inch display (the current iPhone’s is 3.5 inches) housed in the same-sized body. The bezel is almost entirely gone; the screen stretches from edge to edge and nearly from top to bottom. The images also appear to show an oval-shaped, touch-sensitive area along the phone’s bottom border, in the space occupied by the physical home button on the current iPhone. This squares with an earlier rumor from tech site Thisismynext, which reported that the home button could be doing “double duty” as a gesture area.

Mobile Fun’s images also appear to confirm an earlier rumor that the iPhone 5 will have a redesigned body. The case drawings show a back panel that curves around the edges to meet with the front, a design that’s much closer to that of the iPod Touch than the iPhone 4.

One of the images also shows a curious cutout on the back of the case, right where the Apple logo sits on the iPhone 4. Mobile Fun suggests that this cutout indicates the antenna will be on the back of the iPhone 5 – perhaps incorporating the logo itself as part of the antenna – rather than running along the side of the handset, as it does in the iPhone 4. Such a redesign would likely come as a relief to anyone who found their iPhone 4 dropping calls due to the widely-publicized “death grip” issue, a result of the phone’s side antenna. The window could also be a simple vanity play; some people like to show off that they're holding an iPhone.

Although the iPhone 5 rumors are piling up, we still don’t have a date for when the new device will actually appear. The gossip site MacRumors reported Wednesday on a prediction that the next-gen handset could appear the second week in September, but Steve Jobs hasn’t portentously booked the Moscone Center for any announcements (yet).

Bigger screen, improved antenna, new form factor – what’s your take on these rumors, and what are you hoping to see in the next iPhone? Let us know in the comments.

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