iPhone 5 Rumors Persist With Talk of Significant Design Change

Heating up the Apple news and rumor realm today is industry analyst Shaw Wu, who says that checks with supply chain sources overseas suggest that that Apple’s 5th generation iPhone could sport bigger and more dramatic changes than most potential buyers presently anticipate.

Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu this morning tries to answer the question “Why would a customer consider buying an iPhone 5″ from Apple (AAPL) if “there is a 4G LTE iPhone down the corner,” referring to the prospect Apple will eventually sell a model that uses the faster fourth-generation wireless networking speeds.

“Well, it turns out that we are picking up that this interim iPhone refresh in the Fall timeframe could be a bigger upgrade than we expected,” Wu says. “We believe this keeps the iPhone fresh and competitive and helps maintain its leadership position.”

So, will Appl shock the market by releasing a 4G LTE-ready iPhone this fall?

No so fast, says Wu.

“We continue to pick up indication that it will not likely incorporate 4G LTE due to battery life issues and spotty network coverage. And ironically, if anyone is in a position to fix these weaknesses, it would be AAPL.”

In a nutshell, the redesign hints Wu drops are primarily limited to a screen that will be bigger than most expect, and a body that’s thinner than what we’re used to.