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Pico projector seen as an unlikely addition to Apple's iPhone until 2013

Anyone hopeful to see a portable pico projector in Apple's forthcoming fifth-generation iPhone —or any other smartphone this year —will likely disappointed by a new report, which says not to expect such technology until after 2012.

Supply chains sources have indicated to DigiTimes that the iPhone 5 will not employ a so-called "pico projector," which would allow the device to include the ability to project video images onto an external surface.

"Sources from pico projector makers pointed out that the related (research and development) is still not mature and demand from consumers has yet to appear, so smartphone-use pico projector models are unlikely to start mass shipping until after 2012," the report said.

"The drawback is the large power consumption, weak lumen rate and poor image quality, the sources pointed out."

The report noted that rumors are "circulating around the market" that Apple's anticipated fifth-generation iPhone could include a pico projector. But indications from overseas component makers would suggest that such a feature wouldn't show up in an iPhone until 2013 at the earliest, in time for a seventh-generation iPhone.

While this year's iPhone may not include a pico projector, one report on Tuesday indicated that Apple has plans to include a near-field communications chip in the so-called "iPhone 5." The additional hardware would allow Apple's next-generation handset to serve as an "e-wallet" for wireless authorization of transactions with the handset at compatible kiosks.

Earlier this month, AppleInsider revealed that the iPhone 5 will include a dual core SGX543 graphics processor, along with the second-generation iPad. The new graphics processor will be capable of 1080p high-definition video playback, and will offer improved 3D graphics.

Other rumors have suggested that the iPhone 5 could be a world phone with integrated CDMA and GSM chips. That would allow Apple to manufacture and sell one handset model compatible with most major carriers around the world. Apple is currently separately manufacturing a new CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, set to debut on the Verizon network in the U.S. on Feb. 10.