iPhone 5 hardware-based rumors: roundup

What do the alleged iPhone 5 hardware leaks tell us about Apple's highly anticipated -- but as yet unannounced -- smartphone?

There are no shortage of iPhone 5 related rumors making the rounds. But talk is cheap, so I tend to put more stock in rumors that are associated with actual, physical hardware.

In the gallery below I sift through the current hardware leaks and take a look at what the alleged iPhone 5 parts might tell us about Apple's forthcoming -- and highly anticipated -- iPhone 5.

Gallery: iPhone 5: Rumor roundup

A handful of what are purported to be iPhone 5 components have leaked over the past few weeks.

It all started when Hong Kong based parts supplier ETradeSupply posted a video which allegedly showed the metal chassis that Apple will use for the iPhone 5. The new chassis differed from that of the iPhone 4 and 4S chassis in a number of key ways. The video showed a chassis featuring a unibody metal construction, rumored to be made from Liquidmetal alloy. The chassis is also significantly longer -- though no wider -- than the chassis of any previous iPhone, suggesting that it has been made bigger to accommodate a larger screen.

Notably, the new chassis also suggests that the dock connector that's adorned every iPhone, iPad, and most iPods has been substantially scaled-down for the iPhone 5 . While there are a lot of rumors as to what the new dock connector will be like , physical evidence has yet to surface.

ETradeSupply has also posted a video, along with a number of detailed images and specifications, purporting to show the  front glass panel  of the iPhone 5.

The screen area, measured diagonally, comes out at 4.065-inch, which seems to back up the rumor that new iPhone will indeed sport a 4-inch screen and have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the same as that of an high-definition movie.

The new screen is 0.91 millimeters thick -- or about 0.1 millimeters thinner than the glass panel on the iPhone 4S. There are some other changes relating to the position of the receiver hole, camera hole and proximity sensor hole.

We've also seen parts leaked by Japanese smartphone repair company  iLab Factory . In addition to a chassis, this company also posted photos of a number of internal components, including a number of flex cables that differ from anything found in the current iPhone handsets. Sometimes you find companies trying to pass off components from older handsets as 'iPhone 5' components, but it seems that neither ETradeSupply nor iLab Factory have done this.

While it is possible to fake hardware, and all these parts could be part of an elaborate hoax -- possibly created to swindle some unsuspecting case manufacturer, as happened during the run up to the launch of the iPhone 4S --  the quality and build of the parts that have been leaked suggest to me that they are likely real.

For example, the quality of the leaked lens leads me to believe that it is a genuine part. I've seen a lot of low-quality, third-party lenses for iPhones, and usually they are slightly thicker, have poorer light transmission and scratch and break easier than the genuine part. The lens detailed by ETradeSupply appears genuine.

I suspect that when Apple chief executive Tim Cook stands on stage and unveils the next iPhone, we're going to be hit with a strong sense of déjà vu.

Image source: ETradeSupply.

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