AsHurricane Irene closes in on the East Coast, iOSsphere rumours of iPhone 5 ticked up slightly to Category 2. Fueled by hot air, rumours broke out about iPhone 5 sales starting in October, a new battery design and audio jack flex cable, new carriers, Steve Jobs' cunning PR plot, and much less.
You read it here second.
"A dubious source from a no-name site -- but it makes sense!" -- Gizmodo, covering without a trace of irony a rumor that iPhone 5 is coming to T-Mobile
iPhone 5 will go on sale in October, at least at AT&T.
Citing "one of our high-level AT&T sources," Jonathan Geller at Boy Genius Report reveals that an "AT&T Vice President has confirmed to several employees that the iPhone 5 is slated to launch in early October."
In the iOSsphere, "launch" is used interchangeably to mean "announcing a new product" and "making a new product available for purchase." Geller here means the latter.
But there's more. "Additionally, the VP communicated the following to a group of managers ..." Your breath catches, your pulse races. You think, "LTE? Lower price? The return of unlimited data plans?"
But no: "Expect things to get really, really busy in the next 35-50 days, so prepare your teams accordingly." Oh.
The fact that this rumor has not merely a source but a high-level AT&T source, means "this particular rumor is worth paying attention to because BGR was one of the first sites to heavily push a September release for the iPhone 5," reasons Devinda Hardawar at VentureBeat. "I don't suspect the site would backtrack on its previous reports unless it had a legitimate reason to ..."
The best kind of rumors are the ones grounded in facts.
Apple will reveal the date for the iPhone 5 announcement on Monday, Aug. 29.
That's the conclusion of Beatweek's Bill Palmer, who uncovers Steve Jobs' cunning PR plot.
How can he know? Because Steve Jobs resigned on Wednesday, Aug. 24. It makes complete sense, of course.
"Steve Jobs just resigned his Apple CEO position, and on a Wednesday no less," Palmer writes. "This is the strongest evidence yet that Apple will send out invites for an iPhone 5 event as soon as next week."
He reasons that the Jobs resignation is such bad news that Apple wants to bury it under good news. And what could be gooder than the iPhone 5?
BACKGROUND: Steve Jobs: "I hereby resign as CEO of Apple"
"The remedy for getting the Jobs news out of the tech headlines, then, is to put out the iPhone 5 news quickly thereafter so that attention shifts as quickly as possible," Palmer theorizes. "Jobs and his PR team likely decided to hold this news until the iPhone 5 was just about ready to be announced, so as to deliver the two in a one-two counter punch which would cancel out the former with the latter. The fact that the news was pushed out mid-week means that Apple is looking for this news cycle to have fully dissipated by the end of the weekend, with no Monday carryover. That in turn suggests that by Monday, Apple will be looking to turn attention elsewhere."
He apparently has convinced himself by this "reasoning" that Apple will send out press invites to the fall iPhone 5 announcement next Monday.
More purported iPhone 5 parts reveal there are indeed iPhone 5 parts.
MacRumors picked up on a post by an iPhone parts supplier, TVC Mall, which posted a "few new claimed iPhone 5 parts" including the battery, back camera lens and, most of all, the "headphone/earphone audio jack flex cable."
"The new parts are definitely different from the existing iPhone 4 parts," Kim writes. And here's a photo that proves it. Yet Kim doesn't seem to fully appreciate the nature of iPhone 5 rumors: "the superficial changes seem unrevealing."
Unrevealing? The photo shows the dull, unimaginative, blocky, rectangular iPhone 4 battery, and the sleekly unorthodox design of the iPhone 5 battery, where one side is shorter than the other!
Finally, there is the audio jack flex cable. "There isn't much we can say about it, though it does look very different from the existing GSM and CDMA parts," Kim writes, defeatedly. "We asked iFixit's Kyle Wiens [about it] and just based on the images shown, Wiens said that the part numbers were reasonable, and the markings consistent with the currently shipping cable."
Chris Foresman at Ars Technica concludes that if there's not much change in the parts, there's probably not much change in the new phone. "If these are indeed parts for an iPhone 5, it does suggest that the design won't be radically different from the existing iPhone 4," he posts. "Some rumors have pointed to a completely different form factor for the next-gen iPhone, while others suggest a more conservative update with largely internal changes, similar to the iPhone 3GS. The less radical approach is the one we believe Apple is most likely to take for this revision."
So, the truly radical step would be for the iPhone 5 to be not radical.
Real evidence the iPhone 5 will run on both GSM and CDMA networks.
TechCrunch's Robin Wauters brings forth evidence that the iPhone 5 will be able to run on either GSM or CDMA networks, which would be great news for the millions and millions of iPhone users who are globetrotting all over and need to use either one.
"With a dual-mode iPhone 5, users will be able to roam between both networks effortlessly," he explains.
What's the evidence? Usage logs.
"I was recently approached by a developer of some of the most popular apps on the iOS platform today, who asked not to be named and offered solid proof that supports the above claim," he says. "According to this person, and app usage logs I was sent, a tiny number of people have recently registered for one of their applications from a single, brand new Apple device that is decidedly dual-mode ..."
"The logs show that the app has been briefly tested by a handful of people using what is almost certainly an iPhone 5, evidently running iOS 5, sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). Those codes can be used to uniquely identify mobile carriers." Some of the app registrations were logged from the same new Apple device, "using the MNC/MCC codes from both Verizon and AT&T."
Of course this would mean bad news for another persistent rumor, Wauters notes: that iPhone 5 will run on LTE networks.
And yet ...
iPhone 5 with LTE rumor persists.
A site called iPhone5Release.org apparently didn't read Wauters. It picked up on last week's "evidence" by some iOS developers sifting through the latest beta release of iOS 5, finding references there to LTE.
The post urges readers to "sit tight and keep your fingers crossed that Apple does decide to include support for the incredibly fast 4G LTE networks in the upcoming iPhone 5 handset."
Because that would be magical.
Sprint will finally offer the iPhone, and it will be iPhone 5.
Sprint will begin selling the new version of the Apple iPhone in mid-October, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter."
That's in keeping with the AT&T-related rumor regarding iPhone 5 availability. It also indicates, the Journal says, that iPhone 5 will be "too late to contribute to sales in Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September." Not that Apple, which has been reporting record revenues and profits quarter after quarter, will be much affected by that delay.
As the Journal notes, "Landing the iPhone is a big win for Sprint, whose results have suffered without being able to sell the trend-setting device." The iPhone has driven AT&T sales since it was introduced in 2007 and Verizon Wireless began selling iPhone 4 in February 2011.
Sprint itself is convinced that the lack of an iPhone offering has been hurtful. "In the second quarter, Sprint blamed a decline in its contract subscribers on more pronounced 'competitive headwinds,' most prominently, 'the first full quarter both major competitors offered the iPhone,'" the Journal says. The carrier reportedly will also be offering the iPhone 4, according to one source.
And it's coming to T-Mobile T-oo!
A site called MacTrast claims, based on a "contact within T-Mobile who claims to have been briefed on the matter," that T-Mobile also will be selling the iPhone 5 and it will run at 3G speeds on what T-Mobile claims is its nationwide "4G" network.
According to MacTrast, unlocked iPhone models are limited to the 2G T-Mobile connections today.
Then, MacTrast draws some rather far-fetched conclusions: The T-Mobile iPhone 5 "could indicate that the iPhone 5 could launch as an unlocked [emphasis added] phone capable of use on any network, without containing any carrier restrictions." Or it could mean that four U.S. carriers are offering the same phone, locked to their respective networks. Adding a fourth carrier, and its chain of retail centers, somehow also "would serve to ease Apple's shipping and distribution."
Well, what can one expect from a "minor league rumor cottage" and "no-name site" with a "dubious source," as Gizmodo disdainfully describes it.
Not like those major league rumor cottages that pay for stolen property.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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