A leaked photo of an iPhone 5 engineering sample reaffirms previous reports of a slightly larger screen. According to GottaBeMobile.com, which obtained the shots from a source it deems reliable, this image comes directly from a factory in China.
The next iPhone will feature a larger screen that's close to a widescreen's 16:9 aspect ratio. This will make for a taller iPhone that maintains the width of the current models, but might be slightly thinner with a smaller bezel.
A redesign means that this is the first major change to the handset since the introduction of the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 5 has a camera lens similar in size and placement to the iPhone 4S, but adds a microphone between the camera and the flash. According to GottaBeMobile.com, this microphone will help capture audio better during video recording as well as help with noise-reduction during calls.
Worth noting is that the back plate of the upcoming iPhone is rumored to be metal. It seems that it's sectioned (image below), and could be made up of more than one material.
Unfortunately, the images provided do not tell us much other than the size and placement of some of the external components of the next-generation iPhone. It's impossible to know what materials the final product will be made of, or what the color scheme will be for the back panel.
The iPhone 5 is expected to be a 4G LTE phone. The larger case might give Apple room for a larger battery, which should mean better battery life. However, this will be offset by the bigger power draw of a larger screen and the LTE connection. Unless Apple releases a phone that's all battery, we probably can't expect much beyond what its current-generation handsets offer.
Other reports point to a slightly smaller dock connector. If accurate, the new handset will have a magnetic charge port similar to Apple's MagSafe connections found on the MacBook line. This redesign would also mean more space for other internal components, but might force users to purchase new accessories for their iOS devices as the previous connectors would no longer work without an adapter of some kind.
The iPhone 5 has been running through the Apple rumor mill for a couple of years now, and the initial showing of the iPhone 4S seemed to disappoint those awaiting a redesign. It's expected to be unveiled this fall alongside the release of iOS 6.