New cases suggest iPhone 5 will be thinner, wider, and longer than the iPhone 4

Rumors of an iPhone 5 with a larger screen have been making the rounds for some time now. Indeed, a number of sources have relayed that the iPhone 5 will sport an edge to edge screen resulting in a larger display without increasing the device's form factor. But recent photos purporting to be iPhone 5 cases point to a completely redesigned form factor that's thinner, longer, and wider than the iPhone 4.

Rumors of an iPhone 5 with a larger screen have been making the rounds for some time now. Indeed, a number of sources have relayed that the iPhone 5 will sport an edge to edge screen resulting in a larger display without increasing the device's form factor.

But over the past few weeks, and as we inch closer to Apple's rumored iPhone 5 announcement in August, there's been an increasing amount of noise pointing to a larger iPhone display on a completely different form factor. 

While initial reports relayed vague predictions such as a "radical new case design", recent photos purporting to be iPhone 5 cases have emerged and suggest that Apple this Fall will not only release an iPhone with a larger display, but an iPhone with a significantly larger footprint.

The photos below were obtained by 9to5Mac, and if accurate, reveal that the iPhone 5 form factor will be thinner than the iPhone 4, and more interestingly, wider and longer as well. Furthermore, the purported iPhone 5 case has a teardrop-esque design whereby the bottom of the device is ever so slightly thinner than the top of the device. This echoes previous reports claiming Apple's next-gen iPhone would go from thick to thin a'la the MacBook Air.

In addition, the sources who provided us with these two new cases have shared some dimensions. According to them, the case is 5 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide. These are tight cases so the iPhone 5 dimensions should only be a few millimeters smaller than those numbers. For comparison, the iPhone 4 is 4.5 inches tall and 2.31 inches wide. This likely will leave room for the rumored bigger screen, as reported by the WSJ, Bloomberg, and This is my next.

While one can never be too sure about any unreleased Apple product, 9to5Mac notes that these photos come from proven sources who previously relayed accurate pre-release information regarding the iPad 2's dimensions.

Below, note the significant increase in thinness on the iPhone 5 case.

Now if these photos are accurate, there's no secret as to Apple's motivations here. Android continues to be wildly successful and comes in all shapes and sizes, and some, like the HTC EVO, have gargantuan screen sizes. Much like the iPod, if Apple wants to increase its smartphone marketshare, it has to diversify its iPhone lineup by offering models with larger screens and, as was previously rumored, low-end models geared for the more economically conscious. 

Earlier this year, word emanated that Apple was toying with 3 iPhone 5 models. That said, it's entirely plausible that these case designs were from an iPhone prototype since abandoned. But that doesn't mean its likely, especially in the wake of a report from MIC Gadget stating that larger iPhone 5 cases are now "everywhere in China."

If Chinese manufacturers are confident enough in the iPhone 5 design to start releasing these cases en masse, it stands to reason that the iPhone 5 will, in fact, sport a completely redesigned form factor that's thinner, longer, and wider than the iPhone 4.

As for a launch date, the most recent rumors relay an early-mid September launch is likely with an official unveiling at a special media event being a good bet for sometime in mid-August.

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