Radical new iPhone 5? Don't bet on it

If it's not broken, Apple's probably not gonna fix it.

Here's your iPhone 5 rumor du jour:   Apple's next-generation smartphone may feature a "radical" new design, one vastly different from that of the wildly successful iPhone 4.

Computerworld Australia: iPhone 5 launch expected on October 7

BGR reports that Apple's upcoming iPhone will not be a minor upgrade to the iPhone 4, but rather a bold makeover that veers dramatically from the fourth-generation's eye-catching aesthetic. The new model may debut and ship in August, or arrive a month later at Apple's annual September event, which is traditionally reserved for iPod-related announcements, the report says.

Unfortunately, BGR's source fails to provide details on the next iPhone's design, an oversight that sends the imagination in overdrive. (Personally, I'd like a levitating, paper-thin case that folds easily in my pocket.)   An earlier report from This Is My next suggests the new iPhone may sport a "teardrop" shape, a daring fashion statement that would set the iPhone apart from the smartphone pack--well, at least until the next Samsung phone arrives.

If It Ain't Broke

But seriously, does Apple really need to revolutionize the iPhone's look and feel? It's not as if the iPhone 4, despite its glitches, failed to find a market. In its fiscal second quarter that ended March 26, Apple shipped 18.65 million iPhones, up 113 percent from a year earlier. That's a lot of consumer love.

The iPhone 4 design has been an undisputed success. Why radically change something that people really, really like? Common sense tells me the "radical" redesign rumor is bunk. Then again, this is Apple we're talking about--always on the bleeding edge of industry design--so you never know.

A new look every year may be de rigueur in the smartphone industry these days. Personally, I'm fond of the Samsung Nexus S 4G's curved "Contour Display." It'll be interesting to see what Apple's designers come up with.

Whatever the iPhone 5 looks like, I'm sure it'll turn heads.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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