Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference rescued the iOSphere from terminal radiation cooling and created a powerful thermal inversion: the hot air of refueled rumoring trapping the cool air of reason.
This week: imaginative and indeed fevered speculation around iPhone 5, based on WWDC announcements that never mentioned the Next iPhone; the ruggedized iPhone 5 to appeal to the outdoors lifestyle; the reality of fake iPhone photos; iPhone 5 crime and punishment in the U.K.; swappable rear camera lens; e-wallets; and tricksie Apple.
You read it here second.
"Wow!...Interesting, isn't it?...Very nice, huh." -- The anonymous self-styled "Ultimate Tech Geek" and "accomplished technology writer, a sought-after tech blogger, and a published tech examiner" at TechnologyAndGadgets.net blog, whose summary comments on the iPhone 5's rumored swappable rear camera lens show why he's accomplished, sought-after and published, being "one of only a few technology evangelist [sic] in the world."
iPhone 5 details reveal themselves in Apple's WWDC news of iOS 6
Good iOSphere rumors look beneath the surface of things, plumbing the depths for connections hidden to the mortal eye.
Only the rumor adepts can sift Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference announcement about iOS 6 to uncover the details of iPhone 5, as Adam Mills does at GottaBeMobile.com.
"[S]ome of the features included in iOS 6 seem to hint at what we can expect from the company's next smartphone," he writes reassuringly.
For example, as with iOS 5 at WWDC last year, Apple revealed at WWDC this year that iOS 6 will be released "during the fall of 2012," Mills notes. "Assuming Apple follows a formula similar to the launch of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S, we should see the iPhone 5 launch during the fall as well."
But it's precisely these kinds of assumptions that are problematic, especially the one that Apple bases its product launches on a "formula."
Mills makes other assumptions. For example, since iOS 6 will support FaceTime video chat over 3G and 4G cellular data networks, and since FaceTime will impose a potentially crippling strain on a 3G network, then Apple is planning to have 4G/LTE support in iPhone 5, Mills declares.
Similarly, FaceTime over cellular in iOS 6 means that Apple will have to upgrade the front-facing iPhone camera. "If Apple expects its customers to actually use the service outside, it's going to need to upgrade the camera as the current one won't be up to the task of handling outside environments."
Likewise, Apple wants more iPhone owners to use the Siri personal voice assistant, but "many iPhone 4S" owners who have chatted with Mills "rarely, if ever, use the personal assistant. Some complained about the lack of features but others talked about how Siri often fouled up what they were saying." The solution? [D]ual-array mics [already] on the new MacBook Pro, something that is common on Dell and Lenovo business laptops and a feature that produces a noticeable improvement over standard dual-microphones," according to Mills.
But Rollup's favorite Sherlockian deduction is that concerning the "outdoors lifestyle."
"Apple has been partnered with sports company Nike for quite some time now," Mills writes. "And now, with sports scores coming to Siri in iOS, it's clear that Apple has placed importance on sports and those who watch them. The company has also baked in turn-by-turn directions into its new Maps app in iOS 6 which, like the focus on sports and the improvements to the camera, seems to point to the company trying to appeal to those with an outdoors lifestyle."
And what can this mean, at the very least, for the iPhone 5's design?
"[I]t seems, at the very least, that Apple might be aiming to make the iPhone 5's design more durable," Mills concludes.
When you put it that way, it's so obvious: Nike partnership = ruggedized iPhone. But why stop there? Part of the outdoor sports lifestyle is beer-drinking. Perhaps a partnership with Budweiser would result, at the very least, in a beer-proof iPhone 5 with a radical new design, mimicking a beer mug.
iPhone 5 revealed, fully assembled in awesome, though fake, photos
Ubergizmo was uberwhelmed, along with many others, when a Chinese iPhone website (via the ever resourceful if unreliable Japanese Apple website Macotakara) claimed to have obtained "what appears to be a fully assembled iPhone."
But "it should be noted," Ubergizmo noted, "that the site claims that there was some photoshop done with the photos and since these are photos which are apparently 'leaked,' we're not sure why they would bother photoshopping it to begin with."
It's a puzzle, all right. If you've got the real thing, why make them fake and claim they're real?
Despite such philosophical conundrums, and its own admitted skepticism, Ubergizmo concluded that the Chinese-Japanese revelation "does corroborate earlier reports of a unibody iPhone with a design similar to the components we saw a while back, along with a new speaker grill and a smaller dock connector."
So purportedly leaked photos that have been admittedly altered in unknown ways "corroborate" other rumors.
Alas, it was too good to be true, but not too good to be rumor. 9to5Mac did some sleuthing and found that one Martin uit Utrecht created the "photos" using Rhinoceros 3D, and then posted them on his Flickr account. "They were deemed good enough that numerous websites published them, assuming they were real shots of the next-generation iPhone," 9to5Mac noted. Here's an Utrecht "photo" that TechnoBuffalo published.
Utrecht noted in his Flickr post that the "renderings are based on leaked photos and video of what most believe to be the next-generation iPhone's metal back," according to 9to5Mac.
So Utrecht took purportedly "leaked" photos -- fakes -- made them better fakes, and they were accepted as real, and when they were shown to be not real, were in effect still accepted as real.
iPhone 5 causing crime sprees
From the Unclaimed-gold-bullion-in-Nigerian-Central-Bank-account Department, comes a report of fraud-by-rumor.
"A British company who offered 'iPhone 5s' to punters has been slapped with a £10,000 [British pound sterling or just over $15,500 in real money] fine by regulator PhonePayPlus, which ruled that the adverts for the non-existent phone were misleading," reports Ann Leach, writing for The Register.
According to The Register, "The judgment published today, the Bumbalee service run by Mobile Minded BV used 'prizes' such as the iPhone 5 to lure punters into signing up to a premium subscription service that charged them £2 every time they received a message."
That would be $3.10 ... per message. (Among other meanings, "punters" is British slang for "gamblers" with the sense of being an amateur or sucker.)
"In the adverts investigated by PhonePayPlus, the regulator for the UK's premium phone line industry, Mobile Minded offered £150 of 'free' Morrisons vouchers in adverts put on Facebook in September/October 2011 - which turned out to be as illusory as the iPhone 5," Leach reports.
Wait. The "illusory" iPhone 5? What?
"Punters clicking on the offer were asked to fill in a survey, before being taken to the subscription site and offered the opportunity to win an iPhone 5. Entrants paid to do surveys or quizzes and were charged £2 a message with five messages sent a week."
The U.K. regulatory agency -- the one that fined the fraudsters about $15,500 -- estimated the scam reaped five to 10 times that amount: $77,000 to as much as $155,000. The fine doesn't seem like much of a deterrent when you put it that way. You could just write it off as a cost of doing business ... or in this case, fraud.
"As well as the £10,000 fine, the company have two weeks to make all their advertising compliant and have been commanded to refund all complainants for the full amount of money spent by them on the service," according to Leach.
Rollup guesses that what the complainants still really want is ... the iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 will have replaceable back cover with swappable camera lenses
Engadget's Jon Fingas, among others, picked up a just-posted patent application by Apple at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. "The invention would make an iPhone's back panel removable so that owners could swap out lenses like they would with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera," Fingas writes.
He doesn't mention "iPhone 5" or even the "next iPhone." But others were less shy. In fact, "Nicole" at the search-and-link-bait website InRumor.com, used both terms in one headline: "iPhone 5 rumors: next iPhone could feature swappable camera lenses."
And Examiner.com wondered, "New iPhone 5 To Add An Interchangeable And Swappable Camera Lens New Feature?"
Or to sum up the treatment at the TechnologyAndGadgets blog: "Wow!...Interesting, isn't it?...Very nice, huh."
iPhone 5 to have e-wallet capability
For at least a year, it's been rumored that the Next iPhone would have a near-field communications (NFC) radio chip, which could eventually be used to support electronic payments or other proximity-based services. But a new iOS 6 app -- Passbook -- unveiled at Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference is seen by some as a precursor to a more fully developed e-payment infrastructure for the iPhone, an infrastructure that may not need a chip at all, at least at first.
Reporting for The Telegraph, Christopher Williams notes that Passbook was promoted by Apple as an easy-to-use container for various documents with associated barcodes, such as movie tickets, airline boarding passes and the like. Coupled with location data, Passbook can tell when you arrive at the airport, and retrieve the boarding pass, for example.
"Although it has received limited attention compared to the new MacBook Pro or the new maps in iOS 6, Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan identified Passbook as one of the highlights of the WWDC keynote. 'We think that these software-driven services stand to augment the end user's experience and underscore Apple's increasing impact on the digital life,' he said. 'In our view, Passbook is the precursor to what we have referred to previously as 'iPay' for mobile payments.'"
Smartphone archrival Samsung has an NFC chip in its new Galaxy S III phone; Google is promoting its app and in-store system, Google Wallet.
Yet NFC-based mobile payments remain only a small fraction of transactions. Williams notes that Apple could take a software-only approach, at least initially. "Apple may not even need to rely on NFC to take the lead," he writes. "PayPal's mobile payments app, inStore, introduced last month, uses barcodes to verify payments in stores, so Apple could also take that approach until consumers become more comfortable with [NFC-based] 'wave and pay' purchasing."
iPhone 5 with bigger screen, elongated case revealed at WWDC
A sharp-eyed, or highly imaginative, reader alerted iDownload Blog to what some claim is the first real sighting of the iPhone 5, in an Apple presentation at the WWDC keynote.
It takes place during Apple's unveiling of Apple's Hands Free feature, integrating the iPhone's Siri voice assistant with a steering-wheel-mounted button in a car. You can activate Siri on the phone by pressing the button, rather than fumbling with the iPhone and driving at the same time.
Hands Free was demonstrated by Apple's Scott Forestall. "If you watch today's keynote and skip to 79.04, when Scott Forstall is introducing Eyes Free, you'll notice this tall iPhone docked on the center console," writes iDownload's Sebastien Page. He's referring to this image, which does seem to show a taller-than-usual iPhone.
"Is this for real? Is it just a bad Photoshop job? Is it a tease, or an oversight?" Page wonders.
Whatever else it is, it's also the nearly perfect rumor because it can fuel endless speculation, hyperventilation, denunciation, and so much more.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgBlog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed
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