The week in iPhone 5 rumors

Here's the weekly roundup of iPhone 5 rumors from around the Web, and they range from the latest on everything from more white models to wireless charging to the coming of iOS 5.

The release last week, finally, of the white iPhone 4, has sparked a new round of speculation on when iPhone 5 will be released.

BACKGROUND: Apple testing iOS 5 with third-party apps reads the tea leaves with certainty: "Apple isn't about to introduce the iPhone 5 barely a month after it just added a new color to the iPhone 4 matrix," the Website says. And that mean unveiling the iPhone 5 at the early-June Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) "is almost certainly out."

That sounds plausible. But most of the iPhone 5 speculation does.

Beatweek reckons that the new phone will be released in September "or maybe August, but that would be pushing it." Perhaps if they really pushed it, it could be July.

So to the Big Question: buy iPhone 4 now, or wait for the Fall iPhone 5? "Our recommendation is that unless you're the patient type, or unless you already have an iPhone 3GS and are doing well with it, it's okay to go ahead and buy an iPhone 4 now," Beatweek concludes. That was easy: all you have to do is figure out if you're patient, or if you're "doing well" with your 3GS model, and how long you want to continue doing well.

Or, you could opt for something from the fast-growing mob of Android smartphones.[see "Android will be on almost half of smartphones by 2016, ABI projects"]

Speaking of the white iPhone, MIC Gadget, a China-focused tech blog, published what purports to be photos of a white iPhone 5, though even the blog admitted they had no way to authenticate the images. They show a white phone with a slightly larger display than today's iPhone 4 and a nearly edge-to-edge glass display on the front. There is still a physical home button.

A Taiwan-based component supplier to Apple, Pegatron, reported a 50% drop in profits for the first quarter, according to MobileMedia, which concluded that the financial results are the "latest evidence that Apple is reducing orders of the iPhone 4 to prepare for the iPhone 5." The tech Website says Pegatron is one of the "suppliers" of the iPhone 4. "What is clear is that consumer demand for the iPhone 4 is waning as expectations rise for the iPhone 5," the story says. Apple sold 60 million iPhone 4s last year but projects that consumers will snatch up more than 100 million iPhone 5s in 2011.


Still anticipating iPhone 5 to incorporate the first dual-core CPU, the A5 chip, expects the next handset to come closer to game consoles in entertainment performance. "The iPhone 5′s dual-core CPU will be able to handle multiple calculations simultaneously, which will result in richer and more complex game worlds," according to the smartphone-focused site. "Put simply, the iPhone 5′s dual-core processor will allow for more on-screen characters rendered in greater detail and doing more interesting stuff. If that sounds like we're approaching console-levels of accomplishment, you're right."

In another speculative story, Fonehome wonders if a battery technology patent indicates that Apple may introduce wireless charging with iPhone 5, because "just under a month ago, Apple won a patent for a wireless mobile device charging technology." Of course, not every patent results in new capabilities in the next iteration of the iPhone, or even ever.


A number of sites picked up on a comment in Apple's official Q&A on iPhone location data: "Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years." is among those that think this refers to vehicular traffic, with a service based on a new turn-by-turn navigation capability. "That traffic experience would presumably be built on top of a turn-by-turn navigation system separate from the Maps application included in iOS and driven by Google," according to Macrumors. Some are speculating, despite the "next couple of years" reference, that at least some improved traffic or navigation capabilities could appear in iPhone 5.


There was evidence this week that Apple has iPhone 5 prototypes in-house and is testing them with third-party apps. [See: "Apple testing iOS 5 with third-party apps"] A developer reported receiving a software crash report that listed the iPhone as running "iOS 5.0." That triggered speculation on when iOS 5 would be released, and renewed interest in what it might have. A number of observers think Apple will unveil the next OS release at the upcoming June WWDC, a time frame that also suggests a very late summer or early fall release for the handset itself.

Many bloggers and Apple watchers are expecting iOS 5 will feature an array of cloud-based improvements to tie the iPhone, apps, and users into an array of cloud services.

Yahoo! News' Becky Worley has a video report on possible iPhone 5 innovations, some of which are a rehash of what's been rumored before, such as it will have Near Field Communications (a very short-range radio link being used for payment and other transactions) and so on.

But she mentions several interesting items. One is a new case, with a brushed metal back; Another is the elimination of the phone's physical ‘home' button, replacing it with an onscreen ‘virtual' button. "This would give it a four-inch screen, half an inch bigger than the iPhone 4's," Worley reports. Of course, this intriguing possibility is somewhat undermined when she immediately adds, "But another rumor has the display bumping up to only a 3.7-inch screen, and the home button getting slightly larger."

And that pretty accurately sums up the character of iPhone and iPad rumors.

She also takes note of an Apple patent filing, reported on early in April, and says it could indicate that Apple might introduce on iPhone 5 a "smart bezel" – the area surrounding the screen proper. The smart bezel would have touch points that act like function buttons: touching the top right side would answer the phone, for example.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for "Network World."Twitter: john_cox@nww.comBlog RSS feed:

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