iPhone 5 mock-up round-up: The beautiful, the bold, the ice cream

With Apple's iPhone 5 just around the corner, or the next corner, a flood of concepts emerge

It's been more than a year since we've formally compiled iPhone 5 concept designs (see "Apple iPhoneys: The iPhone 5 edition") and with the number of new designs emerging in recent weeks that collection is looking badly outdated (though we did at least call attention to a curvaceous mockup making rounds in February).

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I've done the rounds this week to cobble together a fresh collection built on rumors, speculation and artists' imagination, although I can tell you off the bat that the coolest design -- literally -- is an iPhone 5 knockoff being sold as an ice cream treat in China, where trademark rules are a bit different than in the United States (via Rocketnews24).

As for presumably non-edible iPhone 5 models (and hey, why shouldn't iPhones be edible given that the competition, Android, has desserts for all its code names), dreamers have reached for Photoshop and other tools to envision Apple's next smartphone.

A writer for The Verge website pines for a 4-inch (vs. 3.5-inch) iPhone screen, which would give it real estate more in line with a lot of competing phones, but the trick has been how to do this and keep the same great resolution. One reader suggested changing the aspect ratio from 3:2 to 9:5, which would result in 192 more pixels along the longer side, but would also allow for a sixth row of icons and an overall bigger screen. Here's a mockup:

The 9to5Mac blog credits a reader named Spencer Caldwell for coming up with a mockup based on the original 4-inch mockup shown above, plus adding a longer home button grabbed from a purported iPhone 5 leak last year. Pretty spiffy!

While these designs dominated iPhone 5 scuttlebutt early this week, rumors that Apple would ditch its glass chassis for something called liquidmetal are sure to inspire a raft of new designs in the weeks to come. Recent design ideas floated by Italy's Antonio De Rosa also focus on a sleek metal exterior ("aluminum forged unibody"), but no mention of liquidmetal back then...

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.

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