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With WWDC behind us, enthusiasts are starting to look at what’s in store for the next-generation iPhone, which is rumored to be announced within the next few months. A spokesman at Etisalat, a United Arab Emirates-based carrier that currently carries the iPhone 4, mentioned a 4G-based "iPhone 5".

iphone-5-LTE

Ali Al Ahmad, Chief Corporate Communication Officer at the carrier, went as far as saying that there would be an iPhone 5 with LTE capabilities by the end of this year, as Etisalat rolls out 4G in more areas:

Yes, we are in talks with most smartphone manufacturers including Apple on the rollout of the 4G handset, iPhone 5 later this year. As the first telecom organisation to roll out the 4G network, LTE, in the Middle East, we have already started talking to them for the handsets and chipsets in them.

This rumor is particularly interesting since it completely goes against any of the previous rumors we’ve hard before, which pointed to a smaller upgrade the phone’s hardware for this year, identical to the iPhone 4 in appearance, known as the iPhone 4S. And regardless of whether particular source pointed to a bigger upgrade than that or not, all have so far stressed that we would absolutely not see a 4G-capable iPhone this year.

Etisalat

Should this change our expectations for what we hope to see in just a few months? The short answer is no: while it’s possible that Apple might have changed its mind, or kept its plans to introduce 4G under close wraps, we would probably have heard about that by now. Executives are also known to talk about unreleased products based on rumors, regardless of whether they’ve been in talks with the maker or not. That seems to have become a standard business practice nowadays.

Even though 4G hasn’t been rolled out in that many areas, support for it on high-end smartphones such as the iPhone will be crucial in just a few years, if not sooner. While this particular comment might have purely been smoke and mirrors, also known as "PR blah-blah", Apple will likely introduce 4G in its phones in the near future. However, that’s very unlikely to happen this year, or else we’d have heard more about it.

So, what will the next iPhone look like? No one can answer that question for sure, since Apple hasn’t made any official comment on it. That said, an alleged leaked picture of the device’s front plate point to a nearly identical casing, which is in line with other rumors that point to a small update. OS-wise, we’ll likely see a slightly improved version of iOS 5, with features that won’t be available on any older handsets, such as the iPhone 4.

(via Gulf News)

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