In an article that recently hit the Web, 9to5Mac claims to have received information on Apple’s next handset from a Foxconn employee. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the report is that it suggests the “iPhone 5″ (as it’s apparently being called) will launch this summer around WWDC, as opposed to the fall launch Apple established this year with the iPhone 4S.

According to the website, a number of prototype handsets are floating around Foxconn. Features include:

  • 4+ inch display (made by LG on at least one of them)
  • No teardrop-shaped devices as were rumored in the lead up to the iPhone 4S. Samples so far have been symmetrical in thickness. Also longer/wider.
  • None of the sample devices have the iPhone 4/4S form factor
  • None of the devices are final versions

The source, 9to5Mac claims, also informed the website last year that Apple’s iPhone 4S would be similar to the iPhone 4, and wouldn’t be called the “iPhone 5.” This radical thought, of course, rapidly became reality.

Design-wise, we’ve heard rumors before claiming that Apple’s iPhone 5 (whenever it lands) will feature a four inch display. This, we understand, is a decision made in part because it would allow Apple to compete in the four to seven inch smart phone market.

It’s also unsurprising to hear that the iPhone 5, according to the report, won’t look like the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. The launch of the iPhone 3G, the similar iPhone 3GS and the radically different iPhone 4 suggests that we’ll see a major change in design with the iPhone 5.

However, the report also notes that no final design has been decided on (though all the prototypes are rather similar). Of course, we can’t verify the legitimacy of the report or 9to5Mac’s source, though some of the details would appear, on the surface, to have a degree of truth behind them (or, at least, a long history of rumors behind them).

The summer launch date, though, isn’t something I was expecting to read. The website reports:

… but what’s important to note here is that iPhone 4S production didn’t gear up until late Spring last year.  If we follow patterns and give a five month-ish lead time, it would appear that Apple is back on its new iPhone launch for Summer/WWDC pattern that it maintained until last year.

The logic, indeed, appears to be there. We’ll let you know if we hear any more news regarding the iPhone 5 handset. In the meantime, if you have an opinion regarding the aforementioned report, feel free to post it in the comments.