New phone shares design elements with past Xperia models, plus design cues from Apple and Nokia Devices

In the last two weeks a number of images have trickled out of an upcoming Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) smartphone with what appears to be a 5.2-inch screen.  The Z2 has been on the market for mere months so it's a bit surprising to see a potential successor this soon.  Some have suggested this could be a larger refresh of the Xperia Z Ultra or the rumored Xperia Z3 Compact.  But the leaks come from multiple sources (@evleaks, Digi-Wo), so there's cause to believe they're authentic.  And those sources are suggesting that it's a Z3.
Like its predecessor, the Z2, the Z3 appears to feature an all-metal and glass body with a flat back-face.  The back face isn't quite as shiny as the glass back face of the last edition...

Xperia Z2
The Sony Xperia Z2

Xperia Z3
Rumored Sony Xperia Z3 [Image Source: @evleaks] it's possible it's gone all metal, like HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) 2014 HTC One M8. The large camera hole in the back suggests the same 20-megapixel EXMOR sensor -- or perhaps a slightly improved model -- is probably on board.
The side still carries the physical camera button of the previous generation, a feature few Android phones have (although you can of course set your camera to use the volume flipper as a camera physical button).  The sides have dropped the partial curve of the Xperia Z2, which was flattened on the side...

Xperia Z2
Xperia Z2's flattened side face and camera button [Image Source: Phone Arena]

...instead they embrace a fully curved design like the Lumia 925 from Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Nokia Devices.

Xperia Z3

Xperia Z3
The rumored Xperia Z3 [Image Sources: @evleaks (top) / Digi-Wo (bottom)]

People are a bit perplexed by the hole on the bottom side (opposite the camera button), but it's likely just a strap hole like in the last generation model.  Recalling from last generation, the button above the camera button is the volume rocker, next is the power button, and then comes the microSD card.

Xperia Z2
The button layout appears almost identical to the Xperia Z2. [Image Source: Sony]

Above the strap hole, there's what appears to be a dock charger connector (with the two dots), then the dual microSIM and microUSB cover.  The covers are necessary given the device's waterproofing, as with the predecessor.

Xperia Z2 buttons
The Xperia Z2 button layout, continued [Image Source: Sony]

Note there's the same NFC square on the back of the device as in the last model.  Some publications appear a bit confused by the speaker layout, with some mistaking the strap hole for a speaker hole.  It appears that one small design shift is the movement of the surround sound speakers from the triple hole in the top and bottom of the last generation...
Xperia Z2
Xperia Z2's bottom stereo speaker holes... a slender slot style speaker on the top and bottom of the front face, similar to Apple's: 

Xperia Z3

Xperia Z3 front
The Xperia Z3 appears to now have front-facing speaker slots. [Image Source: Digi-Wo]

Lastly, some are comparing the Z3 leak to the leaked shots of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) upcoming iPhone 6.  It's true they're a bit alike in some ways, but the differences are also numerous.  

Sources indicate the device may be launched at the 2014 IFA trade show Sept. 5-10 in Berlin, Germany.

Sources: Digi-Wo, EV Leaks, Phandroid

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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