Latest iPhone rumors suggest October release, LiquidMetal case and new type of touch panel

by Phil Hornshaw

The latest in the string of iPhone rumors that continue to float around the Internet as we march toward the release of Apple’s next smartphone peg the device as coming sometime in October.

The report comes by way of TechCrunch. It puts the release of the next iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5 for easy reference, sometime this fall, just like the iPhone 4S. October would sync up with the last device’s release, which makes some sense, seeing as Apple had to push back the release of the iPhone 4S last year by a few months from its traditional summertime launch.

The report comes from Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray, who states that Qualcomm is going to be responsible for Apple’s 4G LTE chip for the device. But Qualcomm is facing some supply issues, and because of that, Munster puts the release of the iPhone in October.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these rumors aren’t really backed up right now, but it’s commonly believed that, given the new iPad’s 4G LTE capabilities, it would make sense that the iPhone would get the same treatment.

A little more interesting is the rumor that backs up what has recently been flying around about the iPhone 5 getting a unibody construction. Like Apple’s Macbook Pro line, a unibody case see an iPhone made of one solid piece of metal. We heard that Apple was taking the same approach with the iPhone, and the latest rumors suggest that may be the case.

The latest report points toward LiquidMetal being used to create the Unibody case, as reported by Korea IT News. LiquidMetal is an alloy constructed of a lot of different metals, including titanium, nickel, zirconium and copper – it’s tough and hard to break, but feels like glass, according to TechCrunch.

In addition, a report emerged today in Digi Times that Apple is likely to adopt in-cell touch panels rolled out by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD) in the new iPhone. These are thinner panels than the ones used in the current generation iPhone 4S.

For the most part, that actually sounds pretty credible. It seems that if Apple is going forward with the unibody idea, this would be the way to do it. Of course, that’s a big if, and like all iPhone rumors, it’s next to impossible to verify until Apple CEO Tim Cook actually stands on a stage with an iPhone in hand. Apparently, that could happen in October.