With the advent of the northern summer, the iOSsphere is heating up, through recirculating tried and probably-not-true rumors about iPhone 5. The good thing about Apple shifting iPhone announcements to the Fall, is it gives us a new summer entertainment option.
iPHONEYS: The iPhone 5 edition
This week: the rumored “mini” dock port is confirmed, by more rumors; the dimensions of iPhone 5 are laid bare by anonymous images from anonymous tipsters; Liquidmetal is back in the picture; and hundreds of millions of Chinese love the idea of a 3G iPhone.
You read it here second.
“The photos were sent over to us from an anonymous source that claims to be an employee of a ‘known’ 3rd party [iPhone] case company.”
~ anonymous poster at PCTabletCase.com, showing there is no discernible difference in the iOSsphere’s treatment of openly faked iPhone 5 concept art and unopenly faked rumors.
iPhone 5 will replace the 30-pin connector with a smaller 19-pin connector, fur shur
This rumor about a new “mini” port has been around for at least a year. What’s new is that TechCrunch’s John Biggs claims that it is now “confirmed.”
“TechCrunch has independently verified that Apple is working on adding a 19-pin port, replacing the current 30-pin port, to the new iPhone,” Biggs writes. “The new port…is similar in size to the Thunderbolt port available on many MacBook devices but I’ve been told by three independent manufacturers that the pin-out will be different.”
The 30-pin port has been Apple’s standard since the company released the third generation iPod, according to Biggs. “The connectors offered structural stability when connecting to most accessories but it’s clear – especially with the introduction of the MagSafe 2 port [announced for the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display] – Apple is more concerned with space savings inside each device,” Biggs writes.
And what a surprise that is.
“It is a move that will surely send shocks through the iPhone accessory ecosystem,” Biggs opines.
It certainly sent shock waves through his readers, as the comments to his post reveal.
“Top commenter” Scott Ableman was resentful. “Ugh. A reminder of one of the many reasons I resent Apple. Every other phone manufacturer decided back in 2008 to conform to the MicroUSB standard, and that's been wonderful, but Apple wants people to feel they have to buy proprietary accessories from them. Don't get me wrong. I respect them as marketers and profiteers. I just hate their contempt for me as a customer.”
SLIDESHOW: 2012 Apple iPhone, iPad, Mac Design Awards
Robert Scoble, of the Scobelizer blog and Rackspace, posted that “An engineer who is working in the phone world told me Apple is making this change for a few reasons. Those include: more control over device manufacturers, so “It will be nearly impossible to make unlicensed devices, if Apple wants it, and totally impossible to make replacement power supplies that Apple hasn't approved’’; to make thinner devices; reduce the possibility of water damage; to create a “magnetic connector that's more durable and easier to dock than the existing one.”
“This is terrible,” groused Nick Fleker Felker. “Now every manufacturer who has made add-ons for iOS devices (or iPods) has to get rid of all their inventory and then start from scratch. Worse, they'd have to sell two versions of the same product, no doubt confusing consumers. This is going to affect all users. They might as well get rid of their original Apple cord. There's no point in keeping it anymore... Why can't Apple just use MicroUSB like everyone else? It works fine. It charges the device and connects it to another device for management.”
The reference to MicroUSB triggered still more controversy. “As someone else pointed out above: the dock connector does FAR more than simple data-transfer and charging,” posted Derek Balling. “Which is why it has needed 30 pins (now 19) to do what it does.”
Reign Johnson was more succinct. “Micro USB is crap! You would seriously rather have Micro than the 30 pin?” he demanded.
Blogging at Forbes.com, freelancer Dave Their summed it up in the headline to his post: “iPhone 5: Every iPhone Accessory You Own Just Became Obsolete.”
Apple and technology: two steps forward and one step back. Or is it the other way round?
iPhone 5 dimensions will be 4.87 x 2.3 x 0.03 inches
The last dimension actually is a mistake or a typo since the 7.6 millimeters cited by the post at the jazzily-named PCTabletCase.com would convert into 0.299 inches, a smidgen thinner than the current iPhone 4S, at 4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches
“Are these the new iPhone 5 dimensions?” asks the anonymous poster.
“iPhone 5 rumors have been exploding across the web as the release date of the next generation iPhone nears,” the site notes, accurately enough. “We would like to add a little fun to mix, and is bringing [sic] to you today alleged schematic drawings of the new iPhone. The photos were sent over to us from an anonymous source that claims to be an employee of a ‘known’ 3rd party case company.”
Rumors don’t get much better than that. The anonosource also sent along a “rendering” of an iPhone 5 case; this known case company is already cranking out the cases. The “tipster” also provided a rendering of an iPhone 5 case and claims that their company is already creating them.
Based on the drawings, PCTabletCase.com discerns the dimensions, along with enhanced speakers, the replacement of the 30-pin connector with a smaller one, and shifting of the headphone jack to the bottom of the phone near the speakers.
iPhone 5 will keep carrier subsidies and a lot of people will buy it
Securities analyst Peter Misek, of Jefferies & Co., thinks buyers of the iPhone 5 don’t have to worry about mobile carriers cutting subsidies for the phone. And he thinks that more consumers than ever will upgrade to the new phone whenever it’s released.
So he’s reiterating his “buy” recommendation for Apple stock, now at about $585, and predicts it will hit $800 at some point, according to Tiernan Ray, writing at Barron’s Tech Trader Daily blog.
Misek downplays the risk of a cut in subsidies, which means end users don’t pay the full price of the phone if they accept a two-year contract deal. “We believe carriers will continue to manage the subsidy expense through various initiatives including a diversified handset selection and upgrade fee, however the subsidies are unlikely to be curtailed,” according to Misek. He adds that “Ralph de la Vega, the CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, recently noted, ‘[the] subsidy model is one that the American consumer likes’.”
Surely this understates the case. The American consumer assumes iPhone subsidies are included in the penumbra cast by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
The deals with the carriers are hugely profitable for Apple; globally, data shows that Apple has the lion’s share of all global smartphone profits. The carriers have to “manage” the subsidy expense through other initiatives because Apple doesn’t leave them much alternative, especially now that iPhone is available on a growing number of first and second tier U.S. carriers.
Misek is predicting that both AT&T and Verizon will activate more iPhones in the last quarter of 2012 (when the iPhone 5 will presumably be on sale) than they did for the most successful iPhone, the current 4S model. He predicts AT&T will activate 7.96 million (versus 7.6 million in Q4 2011) and Verizon will switch on 5.1 million, compared to 4.3 million a year ago.
LTE will be one of the big drivers, he thinks. “Because we believe the LTE iPhone will be among the most significant consumer device launches ever and will take much greater advantage of Verizon’s network, we believe the take rates could be higher than the ~30% that was seen in Q4:11 (this was substantially lower than AT&T’s 58% take rate),” Misek says.
In summary, carriers want the iPhone 5 almost as much as their subscribers do, so buy Apple stock now before it gets even pricier.
iPhone 5 will have Liquidmetal body after all
This rumor is based on the “If A, then X” logic of the iOSphere.
Sarah Martinez, writing at iTechpost.com, was one of several who picked up on an SEC filing that reveals Apple and Liquidmetal Technologies have extended their intellectual property deal for another two years, until February 2014.
In mid-2012, Apple paid for exclusive global rights to use Liquidmetal’s innovative alloy in “consumer products.” Ever since, there have been recurring rumors that Apple is on the verge of announcing an iPhone with a full Liquidmetal body. Today, the iPhone uses it only in the SIM card extractor arm. The rumors continue despite the clear comments earlier this year by one of Liquidmetal’s inventors, who said it would be several years, and millions of dollars, before Apple, and especially its supply chain and manufacturers, could tool up for such a product.
And yet. “Will iPhone 5 Come With Liquidmetal As Apple Extends Deal With The Company?” is the headline to Martinez’ post, despite the fact that the contract extension by itself could have nothing to do with the manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance challenges involved in actually producing such a case.
Don’t hold your breath.
iPhone 5 available to 650 million Chinese in October
And, of course, they won’t get it before folks in the U.S. Would they?
AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes posts on the conclusions in a new report by stock analyst Shaw Wu, of Sterne Agee.
Wu says he has heard from his supply chain contacts in Red China that iPhone 5 will support the proprietary 3G network of China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile carrier with over 650 million subscribers (or roughly twice the population of the U.S.). Wu apparently says this will make the Next iPhone a “true world phone.”
It seems more accurate to say it will be a true Chinese phone, since it will have to add silicon in one way or another to connect to China Mobile’s unique TD-SCDMA 3G network.
LTE network trials are underway in China but Wu estimates that widespread adoption is two or three years out. Wu says the phone, at least in China, will be available in October.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for “Network World.”
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