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Apple's iPhone 5: What to Expect (Update 1)

Updated from 10:06 a.m. EST to provide more potential features in the seventeenth and twentieth paragraphs.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Now that Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has unveiled its latest iPad, attention is now shifting to the company's most important product: the iPhone.

Investor sentiment is soaring for Apple, as well as its hit smartphone, with the tech giant selling over 37 million smartphones in its recent fiscal first quarter.

Channing Smith, portfolio manager at Capital Advisors Growth Fund believes Apple will continue to set the bar with a 4G-enabled iPhone, which he expects in the fall.

"We expect it to have Near Field Communications (NFC), a larger screen, and a better camera - we expect it will be done without conceding battery life," he said, over the phone. "Apple needs to continue to improve the competitive advantages it already has - the way Apple has built its ecosystem is brilliant. They've locked so many users into their ecosystem - I think that gives them an enormous advantage."

Intriguingly, Apple has been granted a patent for an iPhone made entirely of glass. This could be for the new iPhone, or a future version of the product.

It's not clear, though, what Apple will even call its new iPhone. The gadget maker has typically numbered its latest offerings, although ditched this nomenclature for the new iPad.

Nonetheless, here's a list of features that might be in the phone, which could be called the iPhone 5, and is expected to be released later this year.

What It Will Look Like

Apple's past two releases, the iPhone 4S and the new iPad were more evolutionary than revolutionary. This could be Apple's big opportunity to push the envelope in terms of innovation.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm has kept the iPhone's design fairly stable, with a 3.5-inch screen size, tweaking it slightly, as it refines the four-year old product. There are rumors, however, that Apple may decide to radically alter the next version of the phone, increasing the screen size to 4.6-inches.

Changing the screen size this drastically, though, does not seem like something Apple would do, given its propensity to keep things simple. Nonetheless, there has been talk about a 4-inch iPhone screen seemingly forever, so it's something to keep in mind.

The next iPhone may also be slightly thicker than its predecessors, as Apple tries to keep the battery life the same if it is going to run on high-speed networks. The iPhone 4S is 4.5-inches in height, and 2.31-inches in width, with a depth of 0.37-inches. The latest iPhone weighs 4.9-ounces.

The casing of Apple's next smartphone could be aluminum, as Apple looks to abandon the glass backing of the current form-factor. There have been problems with the glass backing scratching, so Apple may look to alleviate that.
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