Before Apple’s iPhone 4S announcement this week, there were more than a few rumors going around that the next iPhone would be a radical redesign of the device. A new, tapered body was to be the main, eye-catching alteration to the form factor that has served Apple so well over the last year or so.

As we all know, that didn’t happen. Instead, Apple launched the iPhone 4S, a slight speed-bump to the existing iPhone 4, with a new camera thrown in for good measure. Yes, Siri adds that little bit of sparkle to an otherwise dull release, but let’s be frank, this is no iPhone 5.

So what about that tapered design we heard so much about? Well, we may still see it, even if that won’t be until this time next year…

Rumors of a radically redesigned iPhone 5 began to circulate back in April, after This is my next got the ball rolling. There was even a mockup of just how the handset may look, which didn’t change too much over the months. There were even claims that the tapered design came from a leaked, possibly lost, prototype after a selection of cases were found that matched the dimensions of the supposed iPhone 5.

More cases arrived, all sporting the new, thinner design that This is my next had claimed would be the iPhone 5. There was so much buzz and so many cases that it was all starting to look almost certain. Then, obviously, that all changed.

If there were that many case manufacturers so sure that redesigned iPhone 5 was going to find its way into Apple stores, were they entirely wrong?

If Apple continues its existing naming convention (iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and now 4S), then it’s entirely logical to assume we’ll see an iPhone 5 next year. Is that iPhone 5 the one we half-expected this week?

Ultimately, we’ll just have to wait and see, but with the iPhone 4S not even in the hands of eager punters yet, we’ll not get too carried away with new rumors right now!

[MacRumors]