At issue is whether Apple would seek to leave the so-called antennagate controversy behind by completely dropping the form factor of the iPhone 4, at least that was the way some reports were couched back when anyone still cared about the issue of Apple’s external antenna design. This would have made the iPhone 4 the first iPhone model whose form factor lasted but for one generation (the iPhone, iPhone 4G, and iPhone 3GS were all similar in design).
Over the course of the last 9 months, different reports, rumors, and leaks have alternately claimed that Apple had a much different design in mind for the iPhone 5 or that the next generation iPhone would instead look quite similar to the current model.
In a research note provided to MacRumors, Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that he could find no evidence of a new design, and that his sources in Apple’s supply chain were pointing to a prototype iPhone called N94 as the basis for the next iPhone model, which he expects to ship in the middle of October.
As seen in the figure below, which was published by MacPost.net, the N94 prototype looks quite similar to the iPhone 4.
Alleged N94 iPhone Prototype, published by MacPost.net
(Click the image for a larger version)
His sources also claimed that Apple was planning on delivering the iOS 5 golden master (GM) to manufacturers between September 23rd and September 30th, a time frame that backs up a mid-October release. Apple is expected to announce the new device in an as-yet unannounced media event in late September.
According to the analyst, the new iPhone model will feature 512MB of RAM, a 3.5” display (the same size as the iPhone 4), glass for both the front and back (some rumors had claimed Apple was working on a metal back for the device), and a camera module that is roughly the same thickness as the current one, suggesting it will be about as thick as the iPhone 4.