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New iPhone 5 or only the fifth iPhone in the series?

As with all Apple products, pre-launch discussions abound with rumours. Even in this case, there is talk that Apple will launch two versions of the iPhone, one to counter the Android market and the second to carry on the legacy of a product that has had people salivating for four years now.

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: October 4, 2011  | 23:23 IST

One rumour of a new Apple product being launched and the world goes into a tizzy. Ever since Apple announced an event for October 4, the gossip has gone on ceaselessly. And it will not stop until tonight, when the supposed iPhone 5 is unveiled.

Nidhi Singal
Nidhi Singal
This will be for the first time ever that Steve Jobs, who sowed the seeds of what became a prolific Apple tree, will probably be absent for the launch of a much-anticipated phone.

As with all Apple products, pre-launch discussions abound with rumours. Even in this case, there is talk that Apple will launch two versions of the iPhone, one to counter the Android market and the second to carry on the legacy of a product that has had people salivating for four years now.

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With the appearance of an iPhone 4S entry in iTunes beta on Friday, there is speculation that either the phone being released will be the fifth version of the iPhone but not the iPhone 5 or that there will be two launches.

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What the phone(s) may look like is a different ballgame altogether. The first product launched under the new CEO, Tim Cook, is likely to be a lot sleeker, which is saying a lot given Apple's propensity for design and the iPhone's already stalwart looks. It will probably be an edge-to-edge display powered by a dual core processor (which now is incorporated in the iPad2).

Since 8MP cameras are the new trend in the smartphone market, the latest iPhone too will likely not lag behind. We expect extensive voice controls and the phone might have powerful voice controls called Assistant, which is built by Siri, a company Apple bought last year for $200 million.

Steve Jobs: The Master Inventor

Leaked pictures show a new home button. There are also hints in the air that the phone this time round will come unlocked. Twenty days ago, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer, Cole Brodman, reportedly told employees at a town hall meeting that the iPhone 5 will not be part of the carrier's holiday lineup. But, on Friday, news came out that Sprint was entering into an agreement with Apple to purchase over $20 million worth of iPhones. Back to being a locked device?

Life and work of Steve Jobs

With a lot of expectations of a post-Steve Jobs Apple riding on the iPhone 5, the discussions will naturally veer around to both whether Cook can lead in place of Jobs and whether Apple can continue to consolidate itself as an innovator. As for the gadget itself, the new iPhone might turn out to be the best smartphone ever, leaving the Samsung Galaxy SII trailing in its wake. If this happens, every company will start working on new handsets to balance the competition.

Apple CEOs over the years

Also, with Nokia expected to announce its Windows Phone this month at the Nokia World event in London, Android's hitherto growing market share may actually hit a plateau.

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