You can trust iOSphere rumors emerging from China, because that's where the iPhone is manufactured. Just ask anyone. And since it's China, there are a lot of people to ask.
This week, we celebrate presence technology, which will let the iPhone 6 detect your heartbeat, paint you with infrared rays, sense your skin tone, hear you breathing, and probably even smell you.
You won't have to wait long. Those loquacious Chinese and History itself reveal Apple is about to start trial production runs of the Next iPhone. And you know what that means: It will be announced in the spring of 2013. Unless it's announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June of 2013.
You read it here second.
"Forget the iPhone 5, Apple's seventh-generation iPhone is already in development, according to the latest rumors out of China where the device is manufactured." -- a "staff reporter" for International Design Times, consigning iPhone 5 to the dustbin of history almost two months to the day after it was announced.
iPhone 6 will have "presence technology" like radar and carbon dioxide sensing
The Patently Apple website, which "celebrates" Apple's Spirit of Innovation, is in high celebratory mode following the publication of an Apple patent application for "presence technology."
You may not be aware of the trend in advancing presence technology, or PT for short. But it's all about the device, in this case, the iPhone, detecting that Someone is drawing nigh, or perhaps, exiting stage left, and doing stuff that would be important, like activating the screen or switching off power.
Or, as Patently Apple helpfully explains, "Generally, Apple's invention is directed to user presence determination and related computing device functionality."
There are various ways in which this invention might be "embodied," according to the website. For example, "power saving and/or power efficiency may be realized" or the device may "provide an operating state based on the presence and/or absence of the user." Patently Apple has a tendency to say the same thing over and again, as here: "In response to a positive determination that the user is present or upon achieving a threshold probability that the user is present, the device may power up, exit a sleep mode, and/or provide some feedback to the user."
Heady stuff. Especially this part: "Bayesian optimal thresholds may be implemented that achieve desired performance." If you're not au courant with Bayesian probability theory you can check out what Wikipedia has to say about it.
So, the invention uses sensors to detect presence or absence, and the iPhone responds. What kind of sensors, you ask. A radar sensor to "detect and/or locate a heartbeat in the room." A depth sensor using a whole flock of infrared-based techniques like "active IR time of flight" or "passive IR (motion detector)" or "passive IR thermal imaging (2D)," not to mention "stereo vision" and "polarization techniques."
There could even be a ... skin tone detection sensor. "The method includes capturing an image using an image sensor and computing at least one of the following from the captured image: a skin tone detection parameter, a face detection parameter, a body detection parameter and a movement detection parameter."
To its credit, Patently Apple never implies that a patent application means that the invention will appear in the next iteration of the iPhone. The presence technology invention here is attributed in part to Myra Haggerty, who is listed in LinkedIn as senior director, Mac technology software.
But the iOSphere is even more celebratory than Patently Apple. Andrea Weidlemeyer, writing at a site called Press Blue, was the first to boldly go where many more will follow: "Apple has applied for a new patent which may offer an insight into one of the most advanced features the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S may carry upon its eventual release."
What's the Bayesian optimal threshold for that?
iPhone 6, or 5S, whatever, starts trial production run in December
The ever vigilant DigiTimes, in a brief post, says that the Chinese-language Commercial Times says that "Apple is expected to begin trial production of a new version of its iPhone 6, or iPhone 5S, in December with initial production volumes likely to top 50,000-100,000 units."
They should have stopped there. But the post continued, "while the speculated iPhone 5S is expected to enter volume production in the first quarter of 2013, Apple is also likely to release a new version of iPad a quarter later than the iPhone 5S, since the display resolution of its latest version of iPad has come out lower than expected, the [Commercial Times] paper added."
The timeline is confusing, freely mixing manufacturing, announcement and release schedules. And it makes it sound as if Apple was taken by surprise at the new iPad's display resolution -- apparently referring to the iPad mini, which has a lower resolution compared to the full-size iPad -- and tried to make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
But apparently it wasn't confusing for International Design Times, which leaped to the Obvious Conclusion faster than an LTE iPhone.
"Forget the iPhone 5, Apple's seventh-generation iPhone is already in development, according to the latest rumors out of China where the device is manufactured," a "staff reporter" posted. "Wether it's called the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or something else, it looks like Apple's redesigned smartphone could hit stores early next year."
RegHardware.com, a website of U.K.-based The Register, dug a little deeper, linking to a money.chinatimes.com post, which may or not be the original Commercial Times rumor, and attempted to translate it.
The result was a bit...odd.
Here's the Google Translate rendering of the opening of the China Times rumor: "Apple against Samsung quietly trial production, December edition iPhone (rumored iPhone5S) of 5 to 10 million units in the first trial production point of view, forecast massive shipment of the first quarter of next year. The industry pointed out that Apple's new machine together, the new version of the iPhone, iPad and iTV in the first half of next year will be launched, including in low-priced products are also expected to debut, breaking Apple over the years, the practice of the year a new machine."
The very obscurity of the rumor lends it that certain "je ne sais quoi," that air of tantalizing mystery, a seedbed of speculation.
Which brings us to the next rumor, based upon this rumor ...
iPhone 6 will be launched at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference June 2013
In the iOSphere, rumors beget rumors. The true iLluminati are those who can discern the mysterious connections and implications, invisible to the uninitiated.
And Alan Ng, writing at Product-Reviews.net, didn't shy away from connecting the dots between the large-scale manufacturing rumors mentioned above and product announcement dates.
"Whispers coming out of Asia this week have speculated that Apple are planning to put the iPhone 5S into the first production trials in December, with a view to full production starting during the first quarter of 2013," Ng writes. "If this is confirmed to be legitimate information, then we may see the iPhone 5S at WWDC [Worldwide Developers Conference] 2013 in June, after Apple has used the first quarter of 2013 to produce as many new iPhones as possible."
"History tells us that the iPhone 5S will be next and it could happen at WWDC 2013 instead next year, rather than in Fall 2013 as we've seen with the last two iPhone launches," according to Ng.
So that's where all these leaks come from: History.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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