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More cases, and more speculation about the upcoming fifth-generation iPhone 5. Although earlier rumors said that the next-generation iPhone would be minimally changed, making it easy to understand it being called the iPhone 4S (like the iPhone 3G to 3GS update), the cases we are seeing don’t seem to point in that direction.
Among the changes noted by 9to5 Mac are the mute / vibrate switch position, which was moved to the opposite side of the volume buttons.
These seem confirmed by Asian site M.I.C. Gadget, which reports that the iPhone 5 cases are already “now everywhere” in China. The site has a gallery of these case designs, which also show the mute switch moved to the opposite side of the device.
The designs are also said to be slightly larger than the existing iPhone 4. The case is 5 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide. Designed to be snug-fitting, these cases would point to iPhone 5 dimensions only slightly smaller. The iPhone 4, for comparison, is 4.5 inches tall and 2.31 inches wide. The cases have a slight tapering in thickness from top to bottom, which is reminiscent to the MacBook Air’s taper.
In addition, the case bottoms show holes for a separate speaker, the main microphone, and the same old USB dock connection we know and love (?).
Case designs have always been a favorite way for new iDevices designs to be leaked. It’s small wonder that so many cheap Chinese cases are always available for iDevices so quickly.
In December of 2010, three Foxconn employees were arrested for allegedly leaking the iPad 2 design to Chinese accessory manufacturers. In June, two former Foxconn employees and a manager at an accessory manufacturer were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms.
Court documents state that the employees were paid 20,000CNY (about $3107) to for leaked digital images of the second-generation iPad.
All signs still point to a September / October launch for the next-generation iPhone. The device is expected to include the new A5 processor from the iPad 2, a dual-mode baseband chip and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.