iPhone 5 release date rumors in the week ending March 25: Fall launch, 3.5-inch screen, glass-made iPhone and others

iPhone 5 to feature 4.6-inch Retina Display, release date around Q2

Apple’s next-gen smartphone is rumored to come with a 4.6-inch screen and launch in the second quarter of 2012.

According to an anonymous source with knowledge from Apple’s supply chain, the next iPhone will feature a bigger 4.6-inch retina display.

The source also reveals that Apple has already begun placing orders to its suppliers. Samsung and LG have supplied displays for Apple’s mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone in the past but they declined to comment on the report.

Apple testing components for next iPhone

The Cupertino tech giant is reportedly deciding which components will be used in the next-gen iPhone by reviewing parts submitted by suppliers.

According to AppleInsider, Apple is expected to use Qualcomm’s ″MDM9615″ LTE chip which allows for both voice and data over LTE, among other things.

Besides Qualcomm, companies such as Skyworks Solutions, TriQuint Semiconductor and Avago Technologies are also rumored to be among Apple’s potential suppliers.

4G LTE iPhone with 3.5-inch screen to be launched in the fall

According to sources cited by iMore, the new iPhone will feature a micro-dock connector, 4G LTE and 3.5-inch screen.

Insiders say that Apple might stick to the 3.5-inch screen size currently used on the iPhone 4S. In addition, the company is rumored to ditch the current 30-pin dock connector tin favor of a micro-dock in order to make room for other components and reduce the size of the device.

The site also writes that the iPhone 5 is schedule to be released in the fall, although recent reports stated the handset would hit the market in Q2 of 2012.

Hints at 4G iPhone found in iOS 5.1

An unofficial “confirmation” comes from codes found in the iOS 5.1 discovered by Cydia developer Krishna Sagar (via iDownloadBlog).

The code strings contain the text: “Enabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to enable 4G?”

As the new iPad doesn’t have phone features, analysts speculate that Apple is preparing the ground there for a 4G iPhone.

iPhone 5 to be made of glass?

A recent patent from Apple shows that the future iPhone and other iOS devices could be made entirely from glass.

The application states: “The enclosure can be formed from a hollow glass tube or two glass members bonded together. A laser frit bonding process may be used to hermetically seal the two glass members together to create a water resistant electronic device.”

The patent application also states that parts of the case may be opaque in order to avoid having sensors be affected by light.

Foxconn hires 20,000 workers for iPhone 5 production

Foxconn Technology Group has an urgent need of 20,000 workers for its plant in Taiyuan in the Shanxi Province.

Citing a Foxconn local employee surnamed Yu, the Morning Life Post reported that the company received orders for about 57 million units of iPhone 5 a year.

The report states that the plant will be responsible for 85 per cent of the manufacturing of the next iPhone. The plant in Taiyuan will be the main provider of components for the iPhone 5.

LTE iPhone 5 could send Sprint into bankruptcy

Sprint shares dropped 5 percent last week after a financial analyst estimated that the carrier faces an increasing risk of bankruptcy.

In a research note on Monday, Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett detailed two ossible scenarios that could happen this year.

“In the first, the company successfully navigates its complicated Network Vision upgrade, stabilizes Clearwire’s financial position, and delivers a compelling 4G product. In the second, some combination of its gargantuan take-or-pay contract with Apple, a hobbled 4G offering, and a stupendous debt burden bring the company to its knees.”

The analyst believes that the situation could worsen in the fall when Apple plans to release an LTE iPhone 5 since the carrier is not yet equipped to support the network.

Sprint’s rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless already offer support for the technology, which could prompt a “crisis” for the carrier as the company has committed to purchasing iPhones in a $15 billion contract from Apple.

“The New iPhone” concept design pictures

Antonio De Rosa of ADR Studio has imagined an iPhone with no sim card, but that uses the phone’s operating system and 4G LTE technology to collect data.

The Italian designer projected an iPhone that is equipped with a Home button that has been integrated into the display.

Available in several colors, the concept iPhone has an LED-powered border which can be used “to show the strength of battery life or to show you a preferred caller: you can choose the color thanks to the LED-edge dedicated app.”

The buttons for adjusting the volume and locking the phone have been moved to the top edge.

In De Rosa’s vision, the smartphone has three Retina displays: the main screen in the middle, a top screen for notifications and network information and a screen for App dock, multitasking panel and so on.

Apple patent details how iPhones, iPads can become universal remotes

The Cupertino tech giant has patented an idea for a universal TV remote that will be able to control multiple household entertainment devices via an iPad or iPhone.

“One of Apple’s wild new universal remote features works like this: you take a photo of your current TV remote and it sends it to iCloud for analysis,” according to Patently Apple.

“It then sends a ‘virtual copy’ of your remote, functionality and all, to your iPhone. You’re now able to control your current TV with Apple’s advanced universal remote and enjoy all of Apple’s TV remote features and likely tie-in products and services.”