You didn't realize that Apple is changing its design philosophy, overhauling its entire product line and doing a massive redesign for the iPhone 5, which may actually already exist and is only waiting for decent LTE chips.
But you do now, thanks to the seeding of the iOSsphere with rehashed iPhone 5 rumors.
Also this week: the birth of a new rumor, sort of like the birth of a new star, out of the mystery of technology.
You read it here second.
"Sure, people are always anxious to learn about the newest Apple products, but the iPhone 5 will probably have an unprecedented amount of buzz surrounding it up until release - for the simple fact that many people felt tricked when Apple announced the 4S as opposed to the 5."
~ Josh Wolford, WebProNews
iPhone 5 is part of complete, total, Apple product overhaul
It's amazing how much you can learn from "sources in the upstream supply chain." A five-sentence, 142-word story in DigiTimes, filled with little more than speculative generalities, launched a mini tidal wave of "reporting" across the Internet.
Usually DigiTimes cites just "supply chain sources" so the extra adjective lends an air of specificity and therefore, incredibly, credibility to its latest posting.
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According to these sources, "Apple plans to completely overhaul its product lineups, including iPad, iMac, iPhone and MacBook Air, in 2012." The company will finalize its parts ordering for this ambitious project in December, according to the same sources. DigiTimes doesn't indicate whether December is the usual time for Apple to finalize parts ordering for the coming year. The new iPhone and iMac "are unlikely to be revealed until the second half of 2012."
Though the orders won't be finalized until December, DigiTimes' sources also claim that the parts inventory for "the next-generation iPads" will be enough to build 2 million of these products by the end of 2011.
The one potential news item is that "Apple has asked makers in the supply chain to develop flat panel modules and LED light bars for two iPad prototypes, codenamed J1 and J2, the sources revealed." There's no indication if this is actually part of the purported 2012 iPad overhaul, or a longer-range product development.
The iOSphere was off and running. GamePro's headline read "iPhone 5 and iPad 3 Will Release in 2012, Says Report." Writer Patrick Shaw seemed a bit confused about whether the parts had already been ordered or were in the process of being ordered, considering that DigiTimes made it clear the orders won't be final until next month. "I just hope we don't have to wait too far into 2012 to see what Apple's next-gen devices will be all about," he wrote, apparently missing the 20% of the DigiTimes story that claimed the iPhone and iMac at least won't be revealed until the latter half of the year.
International Business Times transmuted DigiTimes' 142 words into 448 words, leading with the claim that "the highly anticipated redesigned iPhone 5 and iPad 3 are set to be released in 2012 as a part of Apple's product overhaul, the DigiTimes has reported."
"In October, a vicious stream of rumors, coupled with a delayed release, led Apple fans to expect the launch of an entirely redesigned iPhone 5," IBTimes noted, without a trace of irony about its own role in contributing to that vicious torrent.
The news site then rehashes a bunch of long-standing rumors about the Next iPhone: it will have a bigger screen, be "super slim and light", a metal casing and support for HSPA+ 21, which is how some define "4G."
"Apparently, the iPhone 5 will be that massive redesign that everyone is demanding, as DigiTimes' sources say that Apple is planning an "overhaul" of all its product lines for 2012," pitched in Josh Wolford, at WebProNews. Except for the millions of people who are demanding and buying the new iPhone 4S and the other existing models. In case we're not sure what an "overhaul" would mean exactly for Apple, Wolford helpfully adds, "This would mean the iPad, iMac, MacBook, as well as the iPhone would be seeing significant changes."
KnowYourMobile concluded that Apple isn't just overhauling products, even though that's actually what DigiTimes claimed. "After nearly nine years of creating products composed of aluminum, brushed metals and shiny materials, Apple is reported to be changing its design philosophy for 2012 - and it's starting with the iPhone 5 and iPad 3," Richard Goodwin intoned.
"And while good design never ages, we don't think we're alone when we say that people are ready for some new form-factors within Apple's range of products," he added, implying that the good design has in fact aged, or that because it's aged it wasn't a good design to begin with, or...something.
Of course, one is never alone when one is commenting on what Apple should be doing.
Goodwin does mention that Apple last year acquired rights to most of the intellectual property of LiquidMetal Technologies, for use in consumer electronics. The relevant SEC filing is here.
The company creates alloys with an "amorphous atomic structure" that results in harder, stronger, more elastic, but relatively lighter metal. There's no indication yet how or when Apple might make use of the technology. But don't worry: there will be plenty of rumors about it.
iPhone 5 "is expected to have" everything we think it should have.
"The iPhone 5 is expected to have" a construction that lets the iOSsphere dispense with even unnamed supply chain sources, whether upstream or downstream. You can pretty much just fill in the blank after that, which is just what IBTimes does this week. It starts its coverage off boldly: "analysts are expecting a 4G LTE iPhone 5 to come in 2012."
It doesn't get much more definitely possibly general than that. The posting quotes from a grab bag of tech or Wall Street analysts, who predict the next iPhone will arrive anytime from March to October 2012. Eventually, someone will guess right.
"Just take a look at the new rumored specifications of iPhone 5," encourages Bala Seshan, before running through a laundry list of every iPhone 5 rumor for the past 12 months.
Apple "is expected" to...adopt a tear-drop design, aluminum plate casing, a "more uniform design across all of its mobile devices than ever before," larger edge-to-edge display, a curved glass display, a new version of iOS, and a 1.2-to-1.5 GHz quad-core A6 chip, with probably 1GB or more of RAM.
In other words, it will be exactly the same phone that IBTimes and so many others were expecting in October 2011 (and we know how that turned out), except it will be sometime in 2012.
iPhone 5 is already built! It's only waiting for a decent LTE chipset.
Lito Carasig, at AppleSlut, doesn't mince words.
"We all want the LTE iPhone," he writes. Except, of course, those millions of idiots who are happily buying the iPhone 4S. "But knowing Apple, the enigmatic and perfection-oriented company that it is, we might not get it soon enough as we want it but perhaps at a later period in 2012. Why, you may ask?"
According to Carasig, "to put it mildly, people were slightly irked by [the announcement of the iPhone 4S] because we were so stoked that finally, we'll be seeing another magical offering from our favorite company."
But the iOSsphere of course was doomed to disappointment. And Carasig was stunned. "When that didn't happen and with no explanation whatsoever as to why there was no iPhone 5, well, I myself was stunned and just thought "WTF?"
Three little letters that perfectly sum up the iOSsphere's dashed hopes and unrequited love of magical offerings from their favorite company. But, in the depths of WTF, light dawned for Carasig.
"You see, folks, it just dawned on me that Apple did not have any problem with the iPhone 5," he writes. And why not? "[B]ecause the iPhone 5 is already finished," he announces. But. "But Apple felt that the technology which it needed for the iPhone 5 was not ready yet. In this particular instance, the LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology needed by Apple to successfully launch its iPhone 5."
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We can see boxes stacked everywhere in locked rooms at Apple's Cupterino headquarters, probably watched over by hard-eyed guards armed with tasers ("Don't tase me, bro, I just wanted to see the iPhone 5!"). And Apple employees on instant call in case someone finally comes up with a decent LTE chip to plug into the phones.
For something approaching news, or news-like rumors, we turn to DevelopingTelecoms, which carries a post quoting a senior executive at China Mobile, which doesn't officially offer the iPhone in Red China, that the Next iPhone will support both the unpaired TDD and the paired FDD versions of LTE.
"General Manager at the China Mobile Research Institute Bill Huang expressed this belief during a webinar at Mobile World Live, saying: 'iPhone 5 will certainly be an LTE terminal that potentially will support both TDD and FDD,'" according to the post.
China Mobile is pushing TDD, while most current services there are based on FDD. China Unicom is the official iPhone carrier on the mainland, but China Mobile executives say there are nearly 10 million iPhones on its network.
iPhone 5 will be bendable and change the nature of gaming.
You may find that hard to believe, but InEntertainment, a U.K. gaming Website, has a picture. Or rendering. Or artist's conception. Or something in PhotoShop.
"If Apple launched a bendable display on the iPhone 5 or 6, and parked this with iOS 5/6, then we could have something very special for mobile gaming, thanks to the amount of games on the App Store and a larger screen that could easily fit in your pocket, unlike the iPad," gushes Mark Chubb, who seems to have created this rumor out of thin air.
"We know that these bendable devices will be coming soon, it was only a week ago or so that Nokia mentioned it's [sic] look into the future with a phone tablet that could bend in all directions, it will allow users to bend downwards to zoom or scroll, twist to change music tracks etc." Chubb is referring to some prototypes Nokia demonstrated at the recent Nokia World conference, as seen in this YouTube video.
If Nokia's doing it, can Apple be far behind?
"The bendable iPhone 5 would change mobile gaming," Chubb insists. Because we could, you know, bend the device, which we can't do now.
But there are downsides, he reluctantly admits. "[O]n the bad side of the fence it could cause problems looking at the screen whilst playing a game in bendy situations," he writes. Because the screen would be, like, bent, instead of flat.
Sometimes magical products are blackly magical.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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