The iOSphere Ecstasy Index soared on reports that iPhone 5 will be announced on Sept. 12, but so did the Rage Index with the rumor that it will sell for $800.
Also this week: The new small dock connector just got smaller, iPhone displays ship this month, and more Bluetooth stuff but no one seems quite sure what exactly.
You read it here second.
"But while plenty of rumors are speculation, this one is just ridiculous and meant to provide comedy more than actual information." -- Anonymous post at Tapscape.com, on the trending Twitter topic that iPhone 5 will be priced at $800, apparently oblivious to the fact that true comedy lies in thinking that there are iOSphere rumors that contain "actual information."
iPhone 5 to be announced Sept. 12
News and/or rumor websites reached a more or less, kind of, accord this week, citing various kinds of sources to trumpet the news that Apple will unveil iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, and release it nine days later.
Perhaps the 9/12 event is a kind of public service, designed to take people's minds from the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Seriously, what could be more important than the Next Big Thing?
This iOSphere definiteness seemed to trigger a swarm of related rumors, apparently eager to piggyback on "sources who have proven accurate in the past," as iMore's Rene Ritchie put it. These rumors included: Apple also will announce at or near the same time a new, smaller version of the iPad (the so-called "iPad mini"), a new iPod nano, a new iPod touch and even the iPad 4.
Surprisingly, though the sources were specific about the date, that's all they were specific about. Ritchie had to fall back on repeating what could be called the iOSphere Consensus Rumor: The Next iPhone will have a 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, using what's called "in-cell display" technology (which would result in a thinner screen assembly), a smaller dock connector and a smaller SIM card. Together, these "should leave lots of room for the LTE radio we learned about earlier in the year, and the bigger battery to go along with it," Ritchie says.
Two other sites, The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD blog and The Verge, also cited sources saying Apple will hold an "event" the week of Sept. 9, but couldn't say it will be for the new iPhone, though both think it will be.
John Paczkowski, at AllThingsD, posted that "Sources tell AllThingsD that Apple is currently planning an event for the week of September 9th, with Wednesday being the date on which it will likely be held. And while we haven't yet confirmed the event's focus, history suggests it will indeed be the new iPhone."
"Our own sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that date," posted Dante D'Orazio at The Verge. "It's still not certain what will be announced at the event, but it seems very likely that it will be the next-generation iPhone."
As evidence for a "big fall product cycle" from Apple, Paczkowski says "you need only look at the recent spike in the company's prepayment for inventory components."
"According to Apple's latest 10-Q filing, prepayment for inventory components rose $1.15 billion sequentially in the June quarter," Paczkowski writes. "That's a big increase, one that puts such prepayments at their highest level in four years -- 12.6% of Apple's total sales, according to Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um. And as Um notes, they're a good indicator that Apple is ramping up for a big product launch -- or several of them."
But there's a big difference between one big product launch and several product launches. In the case of iPhone and iPad, Apple is making them available in new, and big, markets, notably China. Just to have more iPhone 5 handsets available for sale will require expanded "inventory components" and production capability, for which Apple plans to spend around $8 billion this year.
The Loop's experienced Apple watcher, Jim Dalrymple, had a typically laconic comment on the rumored Sept. 12 iPhone event: "Yep."
Apparently based on the same previously accurate sources, iMore's Ritchie also claims Apple will announce the iPad mini, which "will be exactly like the 9.7-inch iPad, only scaled down to 7.x-inches," and a new iPod nano.
One part of iPhone 5 is about to ship already
That would be the display, according to a Reuters story that recounted a statement by Sharp Corp.'s new president, Takashi Okuda.
He spoke at a Tokyo press briefing this week after the Japanese company released its latest quarterly earnings.
"Shipments will start in August," Okuda told reporters. And apparently that's all he said.
Sharp was identified by Apple earlier this year as one of its suppliers, according to Reuters. There's nothing definitive in the Reuters story, thought it sounds definitive, about who's actually building the iPhone 5 displays. The story repeats the accepted consensus that Sharp, LG Display Co. Ltd and Japan Display are display builders for Apple, and that the new screen will use in-cell technology.
The in-cell rumor, as alas are so many others, is not new. The Rollup covered in-cell technology in March, drawing on information made public by Toshiba America Electronic Components, based in Los Angeles, which unveiled the technology in May 2011. Essentially, in-cell technology can eliminate some of the component layers needed in conventional touch displays by integrating some circuits directly with the glass. But in-cell also creates very clear crisp images, has greater resistance to vibration and impact, reduces the total components, reduces thickness and weight, uses light more efficiently and, as a result, lowers power consumption.
But Okuda didn't mention any of that. That's the job of rumoring.
Speaking of that new, smaller iPhone dock connector, it's going to be even smaller
Just when you thought it was safe to be sure that iPhone 5 will have an 18-pin, or possibly a 16-pin, dock connector in place of the traditional 30-pin connector, doubt rears its ugly head.
Not one but two (2) otherwise-unidentified sources told iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz that the iPhone 5 (five) dock will have only eight (8) pins!
At this rate, the final iPhone 5 could end up with a four- or even two-pin connector.
"Both of our sources concur that there are eight pins in a line within the new Dock Connector, which may well receive a different name going forward," Horwitz says. Like "New Dock Connector," perhaps.
And that's not all. "One source claims that the new connector will feature other design innovations, potentially including the ability to be connected to docks and cables in either orientation (like MagSafe), but the other source could not confirm this or additional changes we've heard about," Horwitz says. "[C]onsequently, we consider other changes 'quite possible' but uncertain."
Quite possible but uncertain (QPBU), which certainly describes the very soul of the iOSphere.
iPhone 5 will have more Bluetooth 4.0 stuff
This rumor seems a bit more confused than usual.
iLounge's Horwitz, in the same post as above, says one of his sources "claimed that Apple is working on an as-yet-undisclosed iOS 6 feature that will act as a bridge between its Bluetooth 4-capable devices."
The best use of this that Horwitz could come up with? "The feature would enable, say, a future iPod nano to display iMessages received by an iPhone, record voice memos that could be shared via the iPhone, and even initiate phone calls through its own headphones."
"OK, this is where the whole thing gets silly," groused Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, writing at ZDNet. "Having [iPod nano] display iMessage or text messages -- but not be able to respond to them -- or make calls seems rather lame at best."
But Apple introduced Bluetooth 4.0 in MacBook Air and Mac Mini models in mid-2011, in the iPhone 4S that October, and the new iPad earlier this year. More importantly, iOS 5.0, as well as OS X 10.7, for the first time incorporated support for the "CoreBluetooth.framework," a set of classes developers can use to implement a Bluetooth profile, specifically for a new class of energy-efficient Bluetooth devices, dubbed "Bluetooth Smart," using the low-power technology that was one of the key changes in Bluetooth 4.0.
This is not compatible with traditional Bluetooth and it's not designed to be a "magical battery life saver for phones," says Joris Kluivers in a May blog post. He's an iOS and OS X software engineer based in Amsterdam.
Bluetooth specifies a cluster of 32 "profiles," each one essentially a behavior -- consisting of one or more services -- that lets devices with Bluetooth radios interact with each other in a defined way. Vendors can pick and choose from the profiles, so devices like the iPhone typically have a subset of Bluetooth functions, which have to be mirrored in the device you want to "talk" to. Here's Apple's list of the six Bluetooth profiles currently supported in iOS.
Kluivers' post cites a new heart rate monitor as among one of the first new generation of battery powered sensors to use Bluetooth Smart. Other uses for it will be new low-power keyboards and trackpads, remotely controlling devices like cameras, TVs and home automation systems, personal health and fitness gear, and even wrist watches.
If Horwitz's source is correct, this rumor apparently means simply that Apple is adding one or more additional profiles to iOS. The change, especially if accompanied by adding Bluetooth 4.0 to more Apple products, will let all these devices interact with each in more, and in more interesting ways.
"A more likely use for a Bluetooth bridging technology would be to allow users to have a quick and easy way to connect their iDevices direct to Macs, no cable required," speculates ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. "That makes a lot more sense than some dumb 'Smart Watch.'"
iPhone 5 will cost $800
This seems to be a pure Twitter-inspired rumor, that swept the Internet on Thursday, as noted by CNBC and other websites.
"Rumors that Apple's new iPhone will cost $800 swept the internet Thursday, and needless to say Apple fans were beside themselves -- taking to Twitter to vent their outrage," according to CNBC. "The hashtag '#800dollarsforaniphone' became the second most popular non-promoted trending topic worldwide on the social network. The phrase 'iPhone5$800' also was trending worldwide.
"It is unclear where the rumors stemmed from." Apparently it wasn't any of the usual suspects: a source in the Asian supply chain or a trusted source or a source who's been reliable in the past. An anonymous post at Tapscape fingers the Chinese: "A rumor was started by a posting on a Chinese auction site, taobao.com. It listed what appeared to be an iPhone 5 priced at the equivalent of $800. Then Twitter got a hold of the rumor and it absolutely exploded ..."
In fact, the iPhone 4S is priced at over $800, for the 64GB model, if you buy it without a two-year carrier service contract. As CNBC notes, the subsidized price of the iPhone 4S starts at $199, but without the contract, the price range is $649 to $849.
Tapscape was furious at this perversion of iOSphere rumoring. "This also isn't the first time a rumor appeared involving Twitter and Apple. But while plenty of rumors are speculation, this one is just ridiculous and meant to provide comedy more than actual information."
Now THAT is funny.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww Email: email@example.comBlog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed
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