Rumors point to an ‘iPhone 4S’

We may see an incrementally upgraded iPhone 4 before Apple stamps the number ‘5’ on a new phone.

In a similar move to what the company did after the iPhone 3G, a new report suggests Apple plans to upgrade the iPhone 4 with slightly improved hardware, but it won’t be a brand new gadget built from the ground up.

Jeffries and Co analyst Peter Misek said he has insight into the firm’s likely plans. “According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support,” he said.

HSPA+ is the mobile network standard on which AT&T’s 4G network runs. AT&T has one of the largest 4G coverage areas in the country, but it is not nearly as fast as the technology offered by Sprint or Verizon.

Up until now, speculation had been rampant that Apple would be launching the iPhone 5 in just a few months. Now it looks like that timeline may still be correct, but it’s just not quite the iPhone 5 yet.

The move would make sense, especially since Apple just recently launched the white version of the iPhone 4, and Verizon customers are only now beginning to get into the market. It may be too soon to launch a completely new device to tell all those recent customers their purchase is already obsolete.

After all, it was about two years between the launch of the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 4, so as long as we get an iPhone 5 by the spring of 2012, Apple will still be on the same track.