iPhone 5 to be an August game-changer?

Conflicting reports have led to uncertainty over the past few months as to whether Apple is readying an incremental iPhone update for later this year, the iPhone 4S, or a more significant evolution, the iPhone 5. Now, new leaks have apparently confirmed the existence of both devices: according to BGR's source, while some developers have been given early access to the 4S for coding purposes, the iPhone 5 is the one headed to retail, and it could arrive as early as August.

The iPhone 4S is said to be physically identical to the current iPhone 4, but have upgraded internal components. Those are likely to include the dual-core Apple A5 processor, as also found in the iPad 2. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 is tipped to have "a radical new case design" and be a far more significant refresh to the platform.

This particular source has no information on what that refresh might include, but previous rumors have suggested a teardrop profile with MacBook Air style detailing, a large display around 3.7-inches in size, and NFC connectivity. There's also apparently a "swipe area" at the bottom of the phone, with the home button evolving into a more complex gesture area.

Launch dates are unclear: there's the possibility that Apple could break with tradition and co-opt the iPod event in September for an iPhone 5 launch. However, it's also suggested that an early- to mid- August event could be scheduled, with availability of the smartphone as soon as the end of the month.