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iPhone 5 in the rumor mill

It seems like only yesterday that the iPhone 4 was released, but how time flies when you're having fun. With the whole antennagate issue mostly behind us, most folks are just settling down to getting the best out of their shiny new iPhone. After all, its only been around four months since it was released.

So, with that in mind, it's hard to believe that talk of the next iPhone is already in circulation. Believe it or not, the rumor mill is once again churning out talk of Apple's next iteration of the iPhone - the enigma that is affectionately dubbed the iPhone 5.

TechRadar has compiled a roundup of some of the hottest rumored features that we may see in the iPhone 5. Here's a brief summary of what they report, but remember, it's only speculation.

Kicking us off, the iPhone 5 release is expected to be in June / July of 2011 because that's the time cycle that other iPhone releases have followed. However, iLounge has guessed that the next iPhone could be with us as early as January of next year (even they admit this is "hard to believe."). The reason for a January 2010 release of the next iPhone, simply put, would be to resolve, with new hardware, the now mostly blown over antennagate issue.

Next up, there's been talk of the iPhone 5 being equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, essentially turning the iPhone 5 into a digital wallet (allowing you to make credit / debit card like payments with the phone). Apple has released a patent demonstrating such technology, but this was some time ago, so it's unclear as to whether Apple is planning this for deployment in the iPhone 5.

Furthermore, the next iPhone is rumored to be evolutionary as apposed to revolutionary. Similar to the design shift from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 5 will be akin to the iPhone 4, but a beefed up version. Rumored specs are of a faster processor (1.2GHz), more memory and larger storage, and a 3.7' screen (as apposed to the current 3.5' one on the iPhone 4). The iPhone 5 may also be made of a new material, perhaps some kind of alloy. Oh, and of course, a revamped antenna!

And, a big one here (note the sarcasm in my words), there's talk of the Verizon iPhone. TechRadar reports sources that have handled Verizon iPhone prototypes, though, according to Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, that's not likely to happen. Verizon fans, let's hope you don't get let down again

Finally, TechRadar reports that at least one analyst believes the iPhone 5 will support LTE super fast mobile broadband (in the U.S. anyway), which will make the iPhone 5 a 4G phone.

Of course, this is all pure speculation and could amount to nothing more than a big whoosh of hot air. But then again, the next version of the iPhone is coming. Let the countdown begin.

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