Sharp, one of Apple's three display suppliers, said the first screens for the next generation iPhone will begin shipping this month. The companys new president, Takashi Okuda was quoted by Reuters, speaking at a press briefing in Tokyo, saying "shipments will start in August," but without any other details.

Multiple unconfirmed reports indicate Apple is set to hold a special event on September 12, when it is expected to unveil the next generation iPhone, dubbed by some the iPhone 5, or the New iPhone (in keeping with the New iPad naming scheme). Some expect a smaller, cheaper, 7 to 8-inch display iPad mini to be announced on the day as well, but details are still sketchy.

If the current rumors are any indication, the next iPhone is expected to feature a bigger display, as rivals such as the 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S III are constantly outsizing the current 3.5-inch iPhone.

The bigger iPhone screen wont be a match to the S III though, as Apple would still have to retain the pixel density on the current generation iPhones (the highest in its class). Instead, Apple is said to include a display around 4-inch diagonal, which would give it some 30 percent more screen estate than current models, and it could use an edge-to-edge design, that would keep the phones width similar to what it is now.

Other improvements tipped for the new iPhone include a smaller dock connector, 19-pin or less, which would reduce manufacturing costs and time, and would allow Apple to place the headphone jack at the bottom of the device, like with the iPod touch. An adaptor should allow the use of the new dock connector with 30-pin connector accessories, according to report. Meanwhile, a 4G iPhone could become a reality (now that Apple can make 3G and 4G iPads on a chip), and NFC functionality is expected to complement the Passbook feature coming this fall with iOS 6.

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