You will hear all sorts of rumors from friends and associates alike regarding the features of the next iPhone. Trouble is, as the elusive release date draws nearer and more people become aware of the imminent wave of iPhone fever, legitimate claims get mixed up with spontaneous outbursts of garbage – leaving nearly everybody clueless.

The guys over at 9to5mac have released something of a clarification post, which details many of the features we have come to expect, allied to a few rather nice surprises.

It’s almost a given that the new iPhone will come powered by Apple’s latest A5 dual-core processor, a variation of which can already be found in the iPad 2. This will enable better gaming, improved graphics and an all-round faster performance than the current iPhone 4. As if that wasn’t enough – according to a source familiar with the SOC’s manufacturing there will also be 1GB of RAM, which will not only improve the web browsing experience, but will also mean backgrounded tasks will perform significantly better.

As we’ve been aware of for some time, the camera will be a much-improved 8 megapixel snapper to replace the highly-successful 5 megapixel effort of the iPhone 4, which has become a favorite on image sharing sites such as Flickr over the past 15 months. The iOS SDK has hinted that there may be a panoramic photography features, but even if that doesn’t reach fruition, there are many third-party apps which do a stellar job in creating those 360 degree shots.

Despite the impressive improvements to the tech specs, the real clincher of the upcoming iPhone will be a voice-control feature within iOS known as Assistant. Far from being a simple, say-a-name-to-call-a-number type implementation, the Siri-based Assistant will look to change the way you use your iPhone. It’s not just voice control, it’s total control, and will allow you to quickly perform tasks with absolute ease. Much like a real-life assistant (without the back-talk), you could say, "make appointment with Steve Jobs for 10:30 AM", and Assistant will create a calendar entry for that particular event. Or you could say "show me the way to Cupertino", and the trusty Assistant will, with a little help from Maps, lead you on your merry way. Oh but it gets better..

If you’re feeling really lazy pushed for time, you can even use Assistant to send SMS or an iMessage using only your voice. No longer will you have to tap everything down, you could simply say “send a text to Tom telling him to hurry up and get to the restaurant!” and Assistant will see to it. If Tom appears to have gone AWOL, Assistant will help you find him (providing he is also using the new iPhone) using the ‘Find My Friends’ feature. By asking, "Where’s Tom?" Assistant will locate him (privacy settings permitting), and give you his location info so you can find track him down and get him to the restaurant before your business associates become disgruntled.

Such is the power of the software, you will not even have to speak especially clearly in an almost patronizing tone at your iPhone. Voice recognition software has been around for years, but it seems Apple, as it has done so well before, is set to really take it to the next level. Although the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 will both be iOS 5 compatible, users of both devices will probably not be able to enjoy the Siri-based system because Apple wants you to buy an iPhone 5 it depends on the A5 CPU and extra RAM.

In addition to all of those fantastic features, there will also be integration of Wolfram Alpha, which is an online computational information portal. Potentially, it could accompany Assistant and answer any question instantaneously, bringing the world to your fingertips. For example, you could say "How many feet are there in ten meters?", and the technology would serve up an instant response to your query.

All this is expected to be packed inside a thinner, lighter design which will follow a similar form factor to the iPad 2. There is also expected to be a larger screen, and the device itself – according to the case leaks from the reputable manufacturer CaseMate – will be smaller and slightly wider than its would-be predecessor.

October 4th is the expected date of announcement, and with a feature list like that, I, for one, cannot wait to see it!

Stay tuned for more as it comes!

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