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Phones

iPhone 5 will have repositioned camera flash, improved processor

The next iPhone will feature an upgraded camera with repositioned flash, as well as sporting a dual-core A5 processor, according to the latest rumours.

The iPhone 5 could see the handset's camera flash relocated to a position further from the lens, according to component pictures on Taiwanese site Apple.pro. Rumours have it the processor may also be upgraded from the A4 to the dual-core A5, as found in the iPad 2.

Apple placed the iPhone 4's LED flash right next to the 5-megapixel camera lens. These new pictures show a rear-facing camera without a flash unit attached. Unless Apple does away with the flash altogether -- unlikely -- this suggests the unit will be placed elsewhere on the rear of the body. This might look less attractive and give case manufacturers a headache, but it could improve image quality.

Flash placement is always an issue on small cameras. The further away the light source can be placed from the lens, the less glare and red-eye are an issue. It's debatable just how much difference a few centimetres on a relatively small device would make, but if the next iPhone included an improved camera it might be worth doing. It would certainly give Steve Jobs an opportunity to hype up a fairly small tweak and use it as a major marketing tool.

An interesting point, which has arisen in part because of this discovery, is that of the name of the next iPhone. While we'd all expected, or at least hoped, the iPhone 5 would surface before the end of the year, it's possible the next release will be an iPhone 4S launching in the autumn.

The next iPhone could be fitted with a dual-core A5 processor. Remember the hardware upgrade from iPhone 3G to 3GS? S meant "speed", a convention adopted by Samsung and later HTC. A speed ramp-up might not be so pronounced in this upgrade because Apple may choose to slow down the top speed of the processor to preserve battery life.

Whatever the next iPhone is called, we surely can't be too far off another launch.