FRAMINGHAM, MA, USA, JUNE 12, 2011—In the nick of time, Apple announced iOS 5. Single-handedly, it's saved the increasing stale, desperately-seeking iPhone 5 Rumor Industry from self-extinction. Re-energized, the rumoratchiks are streaming the stuff out: wireless charging, no iPhone 4S, iPhone 4S confirmed, the end of SMS as we know it, two iPhone 5 models, price cuts, 8 megapixel camera, SummerFallWinterSpring announcement date!
It's a great time to be rumoring. Here's the iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending June 10.
Delaying iPhone 5 is part of a clever Apple strategy.
The "delay" in announcing iPhone 5 is a Good Thing because it shows Apple is serious about the competition from Google Android and Microsoft, according to ITPortal's Desire Athow. So it's focusing energy on creating really cool software and services.
Athow gets extra points for creating this week's most-labored-analogy: "Announcing the iPhone 5 now would be the sporting equivalent of showcasing a horse for a race without knowing who the jockey will be; Apple needs both the hardware and the software to be ready."
Wireless charging for iPhone 5
An Apple patent indicates the company could be readying a wireless charging system that would be built into its iMac computers to charge nearby wireless devices, such as a keyboard, mouse, "and -- yes -- iPhones containing the appropriate receivers," according to FoneHome.com, which headlined its story "Wireless iPhone 5 charging patent revealed."
FoneHome had picked up on the patent information posted at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which of course doesn't mention iPhone 5.
Apple's approach sounds similar to that of MIT researchers (and many others) using electromagnetic resonance between coils to transfer energy without wires and then convert it into power. The MIT team demonstrated a more efficient version of the technology just over a year ago.
Forget the "iPhone 4S"
Beatweek conclusively speculates that all the speculation about a kind of souped-up iPhone 4 model, usually dubbed iPhone 4S, preceding the iPhone 5 is and always was codswallop. "While there's no specific evidence to suggest that the iPhone 4S was 'made up' by folks with any intention to deceive, at the very least the iPhone 4S was indeed a made-up product. In other words, it never existed."
By contrast, Beatweek goes on to conclusively speculate on all we do "know" about the real iPhone 5. Stuff like ... it has an operating system: the just announced iOS 5. And: "We've identified at least two carriers that it'll be on. We know it'll sport an A5 processor."
"We learn a little bit more about the iPhone 5 each day, piece by piece, and slowly," according to Beatweek. Sort of like weaving a tapestry of rumors, or like building a smartphone sculpture out of Legos.
There's only one problem with Beatweek's claim that iPhone 4S never existed ...
Sprint has the iPhone 4S. Or something.
"Sources" have told 9to5Mac that a version of the iPhone intended for Sprint is right now in "advanced testing." This is being done in Apple's sinisterly-but-coolly-named "Black Labs," presumably a reference to office space and not dogs.
Could it be the iPhone 5? "The physical design of this device is akin to the iPhone 4 of today, so this might be the iPhone 4S device with support for all carriers that we have been dreaming up and hearing whispers about." Unless you're Beatweek.
But there's more -- a second iPhone for Sprint that will support 4G, however that's defined by this month's TV ads: "Sources also say that talk of a 4G variant of the iPhone for Sprint is moving along, but the first generation Sprint iPhone that is currently in testing does not feature support for 4G bands."
So apparently the first Sprint iPhone will be the iPhone 4S, and the second Sprint iPhone will be the iPhone 4S 4G, which means the third Sprint iPhone will be the iPhone 5, which may or may not be 4G, because that would make it the iPhone 54G.
But there's even more. 9to5Mac linked to another rumor at TalkAndroid, which according to 9to5Mac claims that a Sprint iPhone will include dual-band support for T-Mobile, about which 9to5Mac rhetorically asks, "weird, right?"
It would be, if that's what TalkAndroid actually said. The rumor actually posted is this: "Sprint and T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone 4S. 'It's kind of a leap-frog system where AT&T/Verizon take turns getting the newer model first, then with Sprint/T-Mobile' [the quote is from one of TalkAndroid's sources, who are "some people in the Sprint store"]."
TalkAndroid helpfully explains What It All Means. "What this is basically saying is that the iPhone 5 will probably be out first on AT&T/Verizon, and then Sprint/T-Mobile." In other words, Apple's alleged "leap-frog system" will have future iPhone models being released first on alternating pairs of carriers.
And for the record, TalkAndroid also thinks Sprint is getting something called iPhone 4S.
iPhone 5, and other iOS 5 devices, with iMessage means the end of SMS as we, and the carriers, know it.
"Apple iMessage an unexpected shock to carriers: Goodbye SMS cash-cow" screamed the Slashgear headline. Carriers were "blindsided" by this new messaging feature in iOS 5, the story reports, threatening the carriers' one really profitable revenue stream: SMS and MMS messaging.
The Slashgear "story" is based on one, brief blogpost by John Gruber, who writes the Daring Fireball blog. Gruber's post was a link to a MacRumors story on iMessage, and offered one comment and a parenthetical note. iMessage, Gruber wrote, "means iPhone users with iPhone-using friends and family no longer need SMS. I'll cancel my SMS plan as soon as this ships."
He concluded with a parenthesis that a "well-informed little birdie tells me that Apple's phone carrier partners around the world found out about iMessages when we did: during today's keynote [Monday, June 6, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference]."
The next rumor will be: As mobile carriers go bankrupt due to the loss of SMS revenues, Apple plans to deploy and run its own free, nationwide 4G cellular network.
There will be two iPhone 5 models, and two iPad 3 models. And iPhone 5 will be announced in September.
More "sources" spent some time sifting through USB device files in the beta iOS 5 firmware and shared what they what discovered with TUAW.com.
"TUAW sources inspecting the USB device files in yet-unreleased iOS 5 firmware have discovered suggestions of two future iPad 3 models as well as a pair of iPhone 5 models. What's most surprising is a big omission: no mention of an iPod touch 5."
The system files showed declarations referencing "iPad3,1" and "iPad3,2" as well as "iPhone4,1" and "iPhone4,2." Aha, you exclaim. How can the iPhone 5 be an iPhone 4?
TUAW has it figured out. "The iPhone 5 will be a 4th generation unit because the iPhone 3G was technically 1st generation," TUAW says. "This throws off the numbering and confuses everyone, so don't fret if you were confused." Or if, after that, you still are.
No mention of an iPod touch 5 shows the iPhone 5 will be announced in September! Here's the reasoning behind that, from International Business Times' Carl Bagh: "Apple customarily releases the iPod refresh in September. Since the iPod touch is not mentioned in the firmware, it seems the iPod refresh meet will be used by Apple to launch the iPhone 5."
Talk about QED
iPhone 5 pricing will be the same or lower than iPhone 4.
That welcome rumor comes from OnlineSocialMedia.com, although it's not based on much more than wishful thinking.
This rumorwish notes that the iPhone 4 prices were $199 or $299, depending on storage capacity, subsidized by the carrier (and $499 and $599 for the unsubsidized models).
"We think it's likely then, given Apple's recent efforts to keep prices lower, that the iPhone 5 will be the same price on release as the iPhone 4 was (although it has recently been cut)," according to OSM. "In fact Apple could surprise us further by making prices at least $50 cheaper."
"Bear in mind here that the new Mac OS X Lion that was announced on Monday will have a price of only $29.99, and also Apple's iCloud was unveiled and will be completely free so this also shows that Apple is trying to shed its reputation for high-priced products," OSM confidently concludes.
At this rate, driven inexorably by Moore's Law, Apple will be paying users to buy iPhone 10.
iPhone 5 will unquestionably have an 8 megapixel camera.
The staff at International Business Times knows the difference between a mere rumor and a confirmation. "Now, it looks like the 8 megapixel camera is one feature that's finally confirmed," the site reports. And why? Because DigiTimes reports, citing "market source," that "OmniVision has grabbed a majority of total CMOS image sensor orders placed by Apple for the fifth-generation iPhone."
DigiTimes clearly is still confused about iPhone numerology even after it was explained by TUAW.
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