It’s that time again. Apple’s new iPhone is always the subject of speculation, but the buzz around the next-generation of the iPhone is getting bigger and bigger. Here are the latest rumors about the iPhone rounded up for your reading pleasure, whether you’re calling it the iPhone 5 or just the new iPhone.

Bigger screen: In many ways, speculation about the next iPhone is all about the screen. After all, it does make up the bulk of the phone.

It’s no secret that many people are expecting Apple’s next phone to have a bigger screen. The iPhone currently has a 3.5-inch screen, but with big-screened competitors coming from arch-rival Samsung — which is widening its global lead in smartphones — it’s likely that Apple’s going to pump up the screen size. But, since Apple is a company that prizes usability, it’s unlikely that the phone will get too big for the majority of consumers to use one-handed.

Taller screen: Is this the same as being bigger? Well, kind of. But the rumor of the day is that Apple’s next phone will gain height, but not much width. That means that it will have a profile similar to the 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S III, which sports a big screen, but one that still fits comfortably into your hand while talking. Alleged leaked photos of a new iPhone were posted at the Web site showing a slimmer, taller profile with two phones.

Better screen: Yes — another screen rumor — this time from the Wall Street Journal, which published a report Tuesday that the next iPhone’s screen will have a better display quality and will also be thinner, depth-wise, thanks to a type of screen technology that integrates the touch sensors into the LCD panel itself. The upshot of this is that Apple doesn’t have to add a touch layer onto the screen, which cuts down on screen thickness as well as the overall thickness of the whole device.

In a happy move for Apple, such a screen would also cut down on the number of suppliers the company needs to employ.

NFC: Moving on to non-screen rumors, rumor has it that the iPhone will have a near-field communication chip, or NFC chip, which will let users send data between phones quickly and may also act as a virtual wallet. According to 9 to 5 Mac, the technology could mean an Apple version of Google Wallet or a serious expansion of Apple’s payment processor role using the iTunes store.

The inclusion of an NFC chip was a persistent rumor ahead of the iPhone 4S launch, but one that’s been given new legs thanks to Apple’s introduction of Passbook. The Passbook service lets users store their loyalty cards and tickets. The iPhone’s main competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S III, has NFC capabilities — one of the phone’s central selling points.

Dock connector: TechCrunch reported that it has “confirmed” that Apple will be ditching its familiar 30-pin dock connector in favor of a 19-pin connector in the next model. The report, which cited unnamed manufacturers, said the new connector is about the size of a Thunderbolt port. A smaller dock connector means more room in the phone — or more potential to make the phone thinner and lighter — but would wreak merry havoc with the very successful iPhone accessory market.

Production has already started: Isn’t this really the rumor you wanted to hear? Passed around various tech blogs and recently reported by the Wall Street Journal, the scuttlebutt is that manufacturers are already churning out parts for the device, meaning that it’s on track for a fall release. The last iPhone came out in October — a date that many people expect the company will repeat. Especially since its previous historical release month, June, has already passed us by.

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