Fully assembled iPhone 5 prototype shown off, could this be it?

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Apple is hard at work on their next generation iPhone along with iOS 6.0, that's what we know for sure. The rest of the things we hear are mostly speculation that's been piling up for over a year when the company launched the iPhone 4S. Among the most well-founded rumors is the notion that the iPhone 5 will come with a larger screen, it will surely be 4G-ready, and it will possibly transition to a smaller connector to replace the dock connector that's been in use since the iPod days.

Over the weekend, Japanese repair shop iLab put together a purported iPhone 5 handset, fully assembling it from individual parts that have become available in manufacturing channels. If the parts are indeed official from Apple, this could be the closest we get to see iPhone 5 hardware ahead of its launch.

At first glance this looks extremely similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S models, albeit with a taller frame, the smaller dock connector and headphone jack at the bottom, front-facing camera sitting on the top middle, and possibly a slightly slimmer body.

While interesting that we may be confirming long-time rumors, Apple could just as well be playing the game of running several different prototypes somewhat in the open, in order to deceive and avoid larger leaks. However if the iPhone 5 resembles what we are seeing in the pictures above, it will be mostly an evolutionary step for the smartphone, that we're sure will sell like hotcakes regardless.

The current iPhone 4S kept the same physical appearance of its predecessor, however it brought with it new software features and hardware refinements. This strategy has panned out well for Apple, having sold dozens of millions of phones in a year time. The iPhone 5 is coming this year, no doubt about it, but with no launch date set, it could be anything from early August to late October until it gets here.

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