IPhone 5 Release Date 2012: Will Apple's Next Smartphone Lose Its Home Button? [SPECS]
Apple fans speculated about the new iPad’s home button, with rumors flurrying around the Internet about its removal. Since that theory was killed at the product’s official launch event, users are shifting their questions to the upcoming iPhone 5 release. DeviceMag.com

A tech blog has claimed that the iPhone 5 will drop the famously fragile glass back in favour of an aluminium case similar to that of the iPad 2.

BGR.com claims to have learnt about the iPhone 5 from "a close source", who believes that the next Apple smartphone will incorporate a rubber or plastic material that will form part of the chassis, offering protection and improved signal strength.

The iPhone 5 is becoming one of the great mysteries of tech; with rumours circulating the internet for more than a year, the phone was very nearly willed into existence in 2011, but to no avail. Instead, the Apple faithful were given the iPhone 4S - a modestly improved version of the iPhone 4.

Having heard from its source, BRG says that it can "now confidently say that Apple's next iPhone will launch in the fall next year [2012], around the same time that this year's iPhone 4S launched [October]."

Continuing: "We have also learned that Apple is planning to use a rubber or plastic material - similar to the material used in the company's bumper cases - that will be built into the new iPhone case. In all likelihood, this material will be used as a bezel surrounding the front edge of the phone."

The technology site goes on to explain that a plastic or rubber material - which would replace or add to the current aluminium chassis - would firstly join the screen with an aluminium back plate, and secondly cover a redesigned antenna surrounding the iPhone.

Signals from mobile phone masts, Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices pass through plastic and other soft materials much more easily than through metal, like the aluminium used by Apple in the current iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 4 was widely criticised for having poor network coverage due to a design fault whereby a user could dramatically reduce call quality by covering the small antenna - a plastic gap in the metal chassis - with their finger.

Apple held an emergency press conference shortly after the phone launched where the then-CEO Steve Jobs announced that users were "holding it wrong" and that all smartphones suffered from this problem. However, Jobs added that for a limited time the Bumper Case - which improves signal strength - would be given away for free.

Given Apple's naming strategy of the iPhone - where the fourth model was called 4 and the updated version was called the 4S - the next generation iPhone will technically be Apple's sixth. The iPhone 5 may never see the light of day, and instead it could be the iPhone 6 that will dominate the headlines of 2012.