As last week's Apple WWDC faded in the rear view mirror, the iOSphere hungered for more. And the hunger gave birth to hope, and hope to more rumors, including the one that predicts iPad 5 will be announced this week to foil and foul Samsung's scheduled London news.
Also this week: the iPad mini 2 or at least its components will be shipping in August; anonymous photo of iPad "prototype" proves that the Next iPads will have a back; and a glimpse of what iOS 7 will look like on iPads when released in the fall.
You read it here second.
~ The entirety of a tweet by Sonny Dickson, via his Twitter account @sonnydickson with a link to a low-res, blurry photo showing the back of an iPad or iPad mini "prototype," without any additional information; the grateful iOSphere supplied the rest, claiming it was the Next iPad.
iPad 5 to be announced THIS WEEK!
"There is a new rumor that is making the rounds claiming that Apple's iPad 5 will be released next week [week of June 17] to counter the announcement of Samsung's phablet - Galaxy Note 3," announced the indefatigable Kristin Mariano, of International Business Times, in a post last week.
The rumor, as the British have it, seems to have been created out of whole cloth: the only source for it seems to be Mariano herself. [William Safire has a 1998 column about the idiom "of whole cloth."]
"After the iPad 5 did not show up this week at the recently concluded Apple's annual WorldWide Developers' Conference, there are speculations that Apple intended to release its tablet in a separate event a week after the event," she writes, without linking to, or even referencing, any specific speculation.
And why would Apple choose this week to announce the Next iPad? "This is to counter the rumored Samsung Galaxy Note 3 press event pegged next week," according to Mariano. The Galaxy Note 3 "is expected" to be revealed in a Samsung press event in London on June 20, according to IBT, along with a bunch of other stuff.
This is a common conceit of the third-rank iOSphere: Apple's primary driver, when it's not profit maximization, is responding to competitors, so it adds features and changes introduction schedules based on what Samsung, or "the industry," is doing.
There's nothing else to the IBT rumor, though Mariano drags in some guy named Horowitz as the source for speculation about the Next iPad's design. "On the other hand, the iPad 5 is rumored to have no bezels, and the whole form factor has been made sleeker. Horowitz believes this design indicates that Apple will be calling on Sharp's IGZO screen technology." Horowitz is apparently Jeremy Horowitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.com, who doesn't seem to have published anything about IGZO or iPad form factors since his Jan. 25 post.
When the iPad 5 fails to materialize this week, look for future rumors that speculate it will be announced next week or so to take attention away from the Galaxy Note 3, or next month to capitalize on the doldrums of summer product news, and on and on and on.
And speaking of which....
iPad mini 2 shipments will start in August
With characteristic brevity, Digitimes launched another barrage of iPad and iPhone rumors in a June 14 post.
Pegatron, the post said, has landed orders for the next-generation iPad mini, along with the iPhone cheapo, and "will begin shipments in August, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."
"The upstream supply chain will start shipping components for the new iPad mini and iPhone in July and players such as chassis supplier Casetek are expected to strongly benefit from the orders," according to the sources.
Of course, this does not mean that the iPad mini 2 will be available or even announced in August. Though that's how the meme evolved through the iOSphere. For example, TechRadar repeated the post, with the headline "Cheap iPhone and iPad mini 2 to ship in August?" At another third-rank iOSphere site, GadgetGestures, that became more definite: "The iPad Mini 2, which holds bright prospects for Apple, is to be released in mid-August, according to TechRadar."
This is a typical chicken-egg iOSphere rumor. Apple CEO Tim Cook, at the April quarterly earnings conference call, said Apple would start introducing products in "the fall" of 2013 and into 2014. Since then, unverified and possibly unverifiable supply chain rumors have said that various next generation iPads, and iPhones, would be cranking up to full production runs by component suppliers and final assemblers during the summer of 2013.
At least on the surface, meaning "without detailed knowledge of the Apple supply chain capabilities, flexibility, and production rates," if those rumors are true, they would lend support to the belief, or hope, that the Next iPad and Next iPhone will be announced and released in the September-December period.
iPad 5 or iPad mini 2 will have a back
This is the best way to create a rumor in the iOSphere: tweet a picture, with the word "prototype" but without any other information whatsoever, and let everyone else rumor it.
That's what an Australian blogger named Sonny Dickson did, when he tweeted a link to a low-resolution, rather blurry photo of the back panel of something that looked like an iPad. The tweet details show that the entire tweet consisted simply of: #Prototype pic.twitter.com/ZcWp0LFoMd
Even some of Dickson's followers and retweeters were confused. One replied "iPad mini ?" and another "iPad 5?" Dickson didn't reply, at least in public tweets.
There's nothing else. Dickson doesn't even indicate whether the "prototype" is of the mini or full-sized Apple tablet or something in between. Let alone whether it's an actual prototype or just a photo of the back of an existing iPad model.
But in the iOSphere, that's all you need. "The Apple iPad 5 prototype has leaked, although we're still far from the moment of the big launch. At first sight, this may seem like your average iPad Mini, but slightly bigger," gushed James A, in a post at Tablet-News. Which would mean that Apple is either abandoning the 7.9-inch screen size for the mini, or introducing a third screen size between 7.9 and 9.7 inches.
And Ian Kersey, in a post at IntoMobile, helpfully expanded on that. "A picture of the rumored iPad 5 has leaked today, revealing an iPad that looks to be just a little bit bigger than the iPad mini."
Dickson runs the eponymous website, where, he writes, "I aim to be your go-to site for stories regarding Apple Internal leaks and prototype information." So far, there are a total of six posts on the site, including the initial "Welcome to SonnyDickson.com" and the most recent, which is an appeal that perhaps says more than was intended: "We need your help."
Mark Chubb at PhonesReview admitted he was confused by the photo, but suggested a novel or perhaps naive reason Dickson's posting. "We are a little confused about a new photo that has been leaked, we are not too sure if this image below is the iPad mini 2 or the iPad 5 or just some sort of ploy to get minds thinking hard."
iPad 5 will run iOS 7
So, this isn't much of a rumor, since if the Next iPad is announced in the fall, and Apple has already said that iOS 7 will be released in the fall, then...you get the idea.
But what has emerged since Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference and the unveiling, and for some reviling, of iOS 7, are some screen shots of what iOS 7 will look like on current and future iPads.
Apple apparently gave only a glimpse of that future, in this image on the official iOS 7 Webpage. But several developers tweaked the emulator in the iOS 7 beta software development kit and conjure additional images of iOS 7 on the iPad. In a sense, it's a glimpse into the future.
Germany-based Apfelpage was apparently one of the first to do so. Here's a photo of the virtual keyboard for the Safari search option. And another image shows a more expansive Control Center on the iPad.
For some, iOS 7 on the iPad is much, much better than iOS 7 on the iPhone, oddly enough. "The larger display does actually make the new icons look better though, oddly enough," wrote Oliver Haslam, at RedmondPie. "It may be the increased space between them, or it may just be the fact that we're starting to get used to them. Either way, we don't want to poke our eyes out with cocktail sticks anymore, which is a major improvement as far as we are concerned."
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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