In the final few hours before what seems like an eternity of anticipation for the next iPhone finally comes to a close, those of us in the tech community have suddenly found ourselves facing some hard realities and one simple, but consistently elusive, question: Will there even be a next iPhone? 

The debate over whether Apple will introduce a full-fledged successor to the iPhone 4, or merely an incrementally upgraded follow-up called the "iPhone 4S" has gone back and forth for the better part of the year. Up until last week, most had agreed that essentially both propositions were true: Apple was going to unveil both an iPhone 5 featuring a new design, and an iPhone 4S with boosted internals.

But then inventory listings from Apple partners started leaking, and the iPhone 5 was nowhere in sight.

It now looks like either Tim Cook and Co. have done an amazing job keeping their true plans under wraps, or we really won't be getting an iPhone 5 this year at all. Read on to find out the case for both arguments, and what we think they mean for Apple's future.

Tags: apple, iphone-4, iphone-5, rumors
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