Website MobileFun has posted a leaked schematic for an iPhone 5 case that hints at a major revamp for Apple’s upcoming device. The image of the case, which came from a Chinese manufacturer, indicates that changes to the next iPhone will include a larger 4-inch screen, a flatter, rounder shape similar in overall structure to the iPad 2, and a radically changed home button.
One of two images posted by MobileFun shows a case with a long band-aid shaped hole for the area around the iPhone’s home button that hints at new functionality. It’s been previously rumored that Apple will include a new capacitive touch strip where the iPhone’s home button now rests, but whether it will replace the home button or just work in tandem with it, as we think, is unknown. The strip could be used to quickly page through screens or perform other selection functions so as to not obscure the iPhone’s screen.
An early iPhone 5 mock-up from website This Is My Next shows what the new home button area might look like:
MobileFun also posted a second image from a separate source showing an actual manufactured iPhone 5 case with the same iPad 2-esque shape shown in the diagrams:
MobileFun claims the images were sent to them by separate Chinese case manufacturers. MobileFun is an online case retailer and has longstanding relationships with Chinese case manufacturers. These same sources previously supplied a leaked image to the site of an iPad 2 case that gave away some of the device’s features before its launch, according to a report by Cult of Mac.
MacRumors followed up MobileFun’s report by pointing to the exact same image posted a few days earlier on the website of a Norweigan accessory maker, Idinz. That image, however, is uncropped and without MobileFun’s watermark:
MacRumor’s report, however, pours cold water on the images, speculating they have a common single source and points to reports by “credible” news outlets like Reuters who say the iPhone 5 will look like the iPhone 4. Other sources counter those rumors with reports that Apple is using the iPhone 4’s design for internal-hardware testing purposes only, and insiders who have seen the testing firsthand have been misled into reporting the design will stay the same.
There is both precedent for Apple sticking with an iPhone design through successive models and also quickly altering the device’s shape. The original iPhone’s design lasted only one year, but the iPhone 3G’s shape remained largely unchanged with the 3GS.
Apple may feel some pressure to change the iPhone 4’s look after the Antennagate debacle could have left some consumers with the impression that the iPhone 4’s antenna design was flawed, although recent iPhone 4 sales figures indicate it’s still selling well.
*Update* More iPhone 5 cases images published here.