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It’s just two months since the iPhone 4S officially broke cover. But take a cursory glance of the world’s largest (and smallest) tech blogs and you’d be forgiven for thinking that we were already edging towards the release of the much-fabled iPhone 5 (or iPhone 6, seeing as this’ll be the sixth-generation of the best-selling handset).

Rumours have been flying for weeks about new screen sizes, with reports claiming that Sony and Hitachi have already begun shipping four-inch panels for the new blower.

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So, why’s all this gossip flying around now? While a lot of it is unfounded chatter, there’s a serious side to the speculation starting so soon.

The Apple rumour mill normally only starts to work itself into a frenzy in the short months ahead of a major release, as opposed to a medium-level hum that it maintains for the rest of the year.

The iPhone 4S/5 chat only really began in earnest during late spring of 2011, and that was largely because a summer release of the device was expected in many corners. Talk of a new design and a bigger, better screen certainly points to an early launch.

It’s becoming evident that Apple’s autumn release of the iPhone 4S is unlikely to be repeated in 2012. Even today, chatter is emerging of a March release date, tying in with the iPad 3.

That could see a huge overhaul of iOS devices, with the potential debut of the much-hyped 7-inch iPad.

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Stories have suggested that Steve Jobs pulled one of his classic 11th hour decisions in the weeks and months before his death, stopping the release of the device that’ll become the iPhone 5/6, instead opting for the iPhone 4-like 4S.

That means the phone is probably much closer to being ready than initially thought. So, would a March release date make sense? Not for the millions who’ve handed over cash for an iPhone 4S. But that’ll hardly be Apple’s concern.

Whatever it releases, it’ll sell brilliantly and you can be sure that the hardcore will find a way of getting their hands on the new look device no matter what.

A six-monthly cycle isn’t in keeping with Apple’s mobile strategy, but does have echoes of how it works with its Mac range, revealing iterative updates every few months, before a major overhaul lands not long after.

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Some consumers might find this annoying, but Apple is aware that the wider public would greet this new blower with open arms. And there’s another key reason why March could be a smart release date: Mobile World Congress.

Apple doesn’t attend, but is there any better way to gazump Google, Samsung, HTC and Nokia than releasing a new phone to out do the next-generation of Android and Windows Phone devices.

Whatever happens, expect the iPhone 5 to be here sooner rather than later.

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