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Rumors heat up as Foxconn apparently recruits workers for iPhone 5

by Phil Hornshaw

As we get nearer and nearer to the time of year when Apple routinely releases a new iPhone (traditionally summer, but deeper into the fall last year), the rumors about the iPhone 5 are picking up and starting to coalesce.

A newly released video from TV Tokyo shows an interview with a Foxconn recruiter, in which he states that the company, which assembles devices for Apple and a number of other electronics manufacturers, is hiring more workers to fill orders of the next generation of the smartphone. Subtitles on the video in question even show the word “iPhone 5,” which goes toward confirming little things we think we already know, but which could always change.

Specifically, this could confirm the name of the device. This will be the third iPhone Apple releases with straight numbers (3G, 4 and now 5) and in between has released devices with the “S” designator (3GS and 4S). Numbered iPhones are usually a more significant step forward – the iPhone 4 got the Retina display, the iPhone 3G included 3G cellular data service – while the “S” phones are more of an off-year incremental update to the phone before it.

It makes sense for Apple to update its phones this way if you think about cellular contracts, which last two years. This way, if a person buys, say, the iPhone 3G at release, they can upgrade to a new iPhone every two years – 4, and now 5. If they buy in an “off year” and grab an iPhone 3GS, the 4S is waiting at upgrade time, then (presumably) a 5S the next time.

But if this device is called iPhone 5 by Apple, that should mean some kind of big step forward in the capabilities of the phone. Now that the iPad has gone to 4G LTE wireless capability, it seems next to impossible that Apple wouldn’t extend that same service to iPhone users. So it seems like banking on a 4G LTE iPhone this year is a given. But rumors have also been flying since last year of a major redesign in the form of the iPhone’s outer case, similar to the overhaul the iPhone 4 got in comparison to the iPhone 3GS.

The video from TV Tokyo at least seems to confirm earlier reports that Foxconn was pulling in more workers to prepare for its iPhone 5 orders. But it’s probably going to be quite a wait until we know much more for certain about the iPhone 5. Last year, excited fans were kept hanging all the way until October.