With the celebration of the summer solstice having passed, the iOSsphere is heating up with new and newly recycled iPhone 5 rumours.
The warm weather seems to have buoyed hopes that iPhone 5 will, after all, be a Radical Redesign of the product; and that it might be in our hands in August instead of September; and that it will have dual LED flash technology.
Here is the iPhone 5 rumour rollup for the week ending June 24.
"I have to say all the speculation over when Apple will release the iPhone 5 is getting quite confusing and to be honest fairly tiresome, as the speculated date for the launch of Apple's next generation iOS smartphone seems to change from day to day." -- Mark Chubb, editor, Phonesreview.co.uk
iPhone 5 will be radically different from iPhone 4.
The BoyGeniusReport announced this week it has "independently confirmed" that iPhone 5 will be, like, totally different from iPhone 4.
Kaboom. What a great advance in the iPhone 5 Rumour Sweepstakes.
You're salivating for details. And here they are, every one of them that BGR was able to independently confirm: "We have been told by a reliable source to expect a radical new case design for the upcoming iPhone, though we have not been given any additional details surrounding the design of the new iPhone case."
To make up for that disappointment, BGR linked back to Joshua Topolsky's April 22 post to ThisIsMyNext.com, complete with an artist's rendering, wherein he described an new iPhone that will look more like an iPod Touch, and have, in profile, a teardrop shape, moving from thick to thin.
That's the neat thing about rumors: When they get old enough, they don't go bad; they become new all over again!
iPhone 5 will be just like iPhone 4
Plenty of people with access to a keyboard and the Internet think BGR's independent confirmation is independent "bunk."
"The iPhone 4 design has been an undisputed success," says Jeff Bertolucci at our sister site PC World. "Why radically change something that people really, really like? Common sense tells me the 'radical' redesign rumor is bunk."
But ... There's always a "but" when it comes to iPhone rumours.
"Then again, this is Apple we're talking about -- always on the bleeding edge of industry design -- so you never know," Bertolucci writes.
Another debunker is Desire Apthow, at ITPortal, who thinks a radical redesign is "not very likely we reckon, based on the fact that the iPhone 4 was itself very different from the previous iPhone 3GS, which itself was very similar to the iPhone 3G and first generation iPhone."
So, past history being an infallible guide when it comes to consumer product design, that apparently means we'd have to wait until iPhone 6 (heaven help us) for a "very different" iPhone.
At MacNewsWorld, the Radical Redesign Rumor renewed a fever of anticipation in Chris Maxcer, who publicly admits his initial, disturbing lack of faith: "I had pretty much written off the idea that Apple would release a new form-factor for its upcoming iPhone. ... But the latest rumors ... have me entertaining a tantalizing thought: With a new release slated for as early as August or September, might Apple wow us all heading into a new fall selling season?"
Apparently despairing of breaking new ground in the Rumor Sweepstakes, Bloomberg this week simply recycled several well-worn iPhone 5 memes: that it will be pretty much like iPhone 4, except with a more powerful CPU, and more megapixels in the flash camera (and, you know, that radically redesigned LED camera flash system that so [yaaawwwwnnnnn] fired the hopes of the iOSsphere last week. See below for the latest.). And of course it will run iOS 5, but then so will the iPhone 4, making them even more like each other.
The cheaper iPhone. Which may not be iPhone 5.
The same Bloomberg story also repeats the persistent, and confusing, rumor that Apple is readying another iPhone model, apparently separate from iPhone 5. It's designed to be cheaper to buy, and targeted at buyers in the developing world. "This device would use chips and displays of similar quality to today's iPhone 4," Bloomberg reports, "according to two people familiar with the product."
Which as of today could mean anyone on Planet Earth.
The Date. September for sure. Unless it's August.
Maybe we should just start an Internetwide pool and let people bet on the date. Sooner or later, eventually, someone will be right.
The above Bloomberg story also claims that iPhone 5 will be revealed in September, still the general rumor consensus. (BusinessInsider blogger Henry Blodget realized this story revealed something that the Bloomberg reporters missed: "The first sourced explanation we have heard for why Apple delayed the release of the iPhone 5." To wit, from the Bloomberg story, Apple "pushed back the release of the next iPhone to coincide with the release of the new iOS 5.")
News sites, including The Boy Genius Report, picked up on an investors note released this week by a securities analyst, who was told by an employee of China Mobile, who was told by his superiors, who were told by an Apple executive, probably, that iPhone 5 is due out in September. If that isn't conclusive, we don't know what is.
Except that another BGR story, first mentioned above, reports that a source told the news site that "Apple may hold an event in the beginning or middle of August to announce the new iPhone, with availability to follow in the last week of August."
TechCrunch's MG Siegler doesn't buy it. "From what I've heard, this is unlikely," he writes. "Apple has stated that iOS 5 is due this fall, August is not the fall, and there is no way Apple releases the iPhone 5 without iOS 5."
But iPhones and summer just seem to go together:
Oh! How I long with you [iPhone 5] to pass my days,
Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;
Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,
And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But wou'd you sing [with mp3s], and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!
- Alexander Pope, "Summer"
iPhone 5 will have Flashes!
No, not Adobe's Flash: dual LED flash. This is another twist in the ongoing rumoured radical redesign of the LED Camera Flash System. And it's the kind of stuff that gives one a headache.
9to5Mac posted an item with the headline "iPhone 5 to come with not one, but 2 LED flashes?" The post says, "According to Digitimes, Apple's next iPhone will have two LED flash bulbs."
But in fact Digitimes didn't say that (and to be fair 9to5Mac quoted fully from Digitimes). What it said was: "Recent market rumors have indicated that Apple's iPhone 5 is likely to come with a dual-LED flash ..."
That means a summary of rumours became the basis of news that fueled new rumors which became the basis for ...
Working against the rumors was Digitimes' assertion in the same post that the three Taiwan-based LED packaging firms rumored to be the source of dual-LED technology have all "denied they are involved in the production of dual-LED flashes."
But, as rumour veterans know full well, that's what you'd expect them to say.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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