Rumor updates: longer, thinner iPhone 5, Apple television not expected in 2012

iLounge posted details today about the new iPhone 5 that's expected this fall, though they didn't say where they got the info. They say the iPhone will be taller, at 4 inches, and will have a new aspect ratio. In addition, they say it will have a metal back. At 7.4 millimeters thick, it will be 20% thinner than the iPhone 4S. It will use Gorilla Glass 2, which is thinner than the Gorilla Glass used in previous iPhones, yet is just as strong. The metal panel on the back will be flat, not curved. In addition, the base of the phone will have a newly designed Dock Connector, possibly with 16 pins rather than the current 30. iLounge has done renderings of the new design to give you an idea of what it may look like. They also say that the iPod touch will get the new design. 

This rumor of a 4-inch iPhone has been fairly consistent from a range of sources, so it does seem like Apple is at least seriously considering it, and likely has prototypes in testing. The main hitch is that the additional pixels on top and bottom, with a new aspect ratio, would require developers to rework their apps. That would be a big change. 

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An earlier rumor that the iPhone 5 would use a new technology call Liquidmetal for the back panel now appears unlikely, according to an interview with one its inventors on BusinessInsider. He says that it would take several years before it could be mass-produced on the scale required for a major Apple product.

So what about a rumored Apple television? A research analyst with JP Morgan is saying it's unlikely that Apple will release a television this year. He says his firm's research doesn't indicate that a TV is coming, and he feels that the current economic conditions aren't right for its introduction. He also says that should Apple introduce a TV, it's unlikely that it would be contingent on Apple also offering an a la carte streaming content service that would replace one's cable TV. He feels that a TV that's easy to use and tightly integrated with Apple's suite of services could itself be an attractive product.

Another analyst with JP Morgan said today that it's unlikely that Apple would be able to "break the bundle" — that is, offer a menu of content tailored to a user's interests in a la carte fashion. He simply doesn't think that the content owners would go for it, that they wouldn't have any incentive to go along with Apple on this.

Of course, this is just the opinion of one research firm, and there have been many strong indications that Apple has prototype TVs that they're testing, and that they've been negotiating hard with content providers. My guess is that Apple itself doesn't yet know what it will do. But CEO Tim Cook did say when he announced the new iPad that Apple would be releasing a number of exciting new products this year. So clearly they're up to something.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.