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Apple s upcoming iPhone 5 will feature a bigger screen and a different casing from the iPhone 4, suggests a new posting on the Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac.

According to the Jan. 25 report s reliable source at Foxconn in China, the various prototypes circulating around that production facility share some common features, including a 4-plus-inch display and a casing that no longer follows the design aesthetics of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. No teardrop-shaped devices, as rumored in the lead up to the iPhone 4S, related 9to5Mac. Samples so far have been symmetrical in thickness (also longer/wider).

Scuttlebutt concerning a larger iPhone 5 screen has circulating for some time, as the blog points out. That being said, variations between the prototypes suggest that Apple has yet to settle on a release version. If Apple follows the release cadence it established with previous iPhone iterations, this newest smartphone could make its debut in either the summer or early fall timeframes.  

Over the summer of 2011, analysts and pundits appeared certain that the company would release an iPhone 5 with a radically altered design and powerful new hardware. In October, however, Apple executives unveiled the iPhone 4S, whose exterior seemed virtually identical to the iPhone 4. However, a collection of new features including Siri, a voice-activated digital personal assistant quickly helped the new smartphone become a bestseller.

Sales of some 27.04 million iPhones contributed to Apple s record-breaking fiscal 2012 first quarter, which ended Dec. 31. During the Jan. 24 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the iPhone s robust sales numbers to a combination of what he called breathtaking customer reception as well as pent-up demand from a particularly long gap between new iPhone releases. Overall, quarterly revenue totaled $46.33 billion, with a net profit of $13.06 billion. 

In addition to the iPhone 5, rumors suggest that Apple is readying a next-generation iPad possibly with a higher-resolution screen for release sometime in the first half of the year.

Despite its blockbuster financial results, Apple continues to face steady competition from both Google Android manufacturers and Microsoft, the latter of which plans to introduce a series of tablets later this year running the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Its new product releases including iPhone 5 will go a long way toward determining whether it can maintain that sort of performance over subsequent quarters.

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To read the original eWeek article, click here: Apple iPhone 5 Features Larger Screen: Report