The iOSsphere hungers for news about iPhone 5. It can't let go of LTE, and new images of what the Next iPhone will look like again rear their Photoshopped pixels. Contemplating a quad-core mobile processor causes swooning.
And just in time for Halloween, authoritative word that the late Steve Jobs will not introduce the iPhone 5. He'll introduce the iPad 3.
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You read it here second.
"I don't know about you, but the stretched out iPhone 5 is starting to look a fair bit like the Android superphones that are out there with their 4+ inch displays." -- Michael Kwan, Mobile Magazine, commenting on imagined "concept art" for the non-existent iPhone 5
iPhone 5 will have LTE you betcha!
At least, "according to industry sources in Taiwan," as reported by DigiTimes, which has more of them than anyone else.
The published account is actually headlined "Competition for LTE-enabled smartphones to heat up in 2012," but the story itself is about the U.S. LTE smartphone market. "Competition among handset vendors for a bigger share in the US LTE-enabled smartphone market is set to intensify in 2012 when Sprint Nextel starts kicking off its LTE services in the middle of the year."
That's a bit like saying, "Competition among Republican presidential candidates is expected to intensify in 2012 when primary elections start."
The industry sources refer to Apple almost in passing. "Nokia, Apple, RIM and Sony Ericsson are expected to join the LTE club in 2012 ...,"using the Passive Rumor Tense which always makes rumors sound more like facts.
So CNET rewrote the headline when it "reported" the DigiTimes story: "Apple expected to launch 4G LTE iPhone next year."
The bulk of the CNET is a summary and linknest of previous stories dealing with LTE market projections, other LTE handset vendors, Apple's rare comments on LTE technology and so on. The general iOSsphere assumption seems to be that Apple will miss the tidal wave of LTE adoption, or reveal itself as technologically inept, if it fails to introduce an LTE iPhone 5 in 2012. CNET repeats some ABI Research projections: "To keep up with the likely consumer demand, the number of 4G smartphones shipped annually is forecast to reach 245 million in 2016, compared with just 4.6 million last year ..."
That sounds like a lot. But then Morgan Stanley is forecasting nearly 2.8 BILLION "3G+" users by the end of 2014. It's likely that a somewhat more "mature" cellular market like the U.S. will have a higher penetration of 4G by 2015, but the bulk of usage will still be 3G-related. Apple can afford to wait on the 4G iPhone.
Christina Bonnington, writing for Wired's Gadget Lab blog, slaps the LTE dreamers upside the head. "LTE support isn't something that Apple can just instantaneously 'flip on' for everyone," she points out. "A host of technologies -- from network towers to hardware chipsets -- must first converge, and if the short history of 4G deployment is any indicator, Apple's 4G future could be bumpy."
The iPhone 5 with LTE is a distant reality. "We'll believe it when we see it," Bonnington writes. "And then we'll immediately begin testing the handset in various locations to see just who's really served by LTE support."
People with Photoshop already know what iPhone 5 will look like
We enter, once more, that strange land where virtuality imitates reality imitating virtuality imitating reality. Several rumor sites again are posting renderings, mockups, concept art or, more simply, made-up images of the Next iPhone. Then, they're talking about them as if these were real.
Mobile Magazine has posted images by ADR Studios' designer Antonio de Rosa, who "culled together the most current rumors and put them together in a clever package."
What are those current rumors, you ask? They include an "aluminum or 'liquid metal' unibody type body, a capacitive home button in an oval-like shape, a larger 4.3-inch screen that goes nearly edge to edge, an upgraded Apple A6 dual-core processor, and improved versions of both iOS 5 and iCloud."
We think Mobile Magazine's Michael Kwan might be getting carried away since de Rosa's concept art doesn't actually show us the A6 or the "improved" OS and cloud service. But, that's just a quibble.
But Kwan is also dubious. Maybe this isn't such a clever concept after all. "I don't know about you, but the stretched out iPhone 5 is starting to look a fair bit like the Android superphones that are out there with their 4+ inch displays," he writes. "The edge to edge display looks nice, but I'm not sure I'm a fan of that grey-ish curved back."
Over at the iPhone 5 News Blog, they're not so sure either. "I tend to agree with MobileMag's general observation, particularly as it relates to the larger screen size on the iPhone 5," writes Michael Nace.
He also references the metal unibody "construction" (if one can use that term for a Photoshop imagining) "thanks to groundbreaking 'LiquidMetal' technology, which many believe will also debut on the iPhone 5."
That's a nice touch: "many believe." That could be a reference to "industry sources in Taiwan" or the legions of "graphics designers" furthering the conversation about what the Next iPhone will look like.
"LiquidMetal" apparently refers to the alloys created by Liquidmetal Technologies: alloys that have, among other properties, more than twice the tensile strength of conventional titanium alloys. Yet Apple has created aluminum unibodies for MacBook Air and more recently the MacBook line itself without any liquidmetal.
Not to be outdone, GizmoCrunch has concept art and concept specs from another designer, Alexander Black.
"Hardware-wise, this iPhone 5 concept purportedly packs an A8 1.9GHz dual-core processor, 10-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel front camera, 4.5-inch Retina Display, a touchpad integrated at the back similar to the Sony PS Vita, 2100mAh battery and of course, iOS 5," gushes Steve Taylor.
"We can't even imagine just what a 1.9GHz dual-core iPhone 5 is capable of," he writes, clearly on the verge of swooning over an imagined phone with made-up specs created by a graphics designer.
iPhone 5 will have a quad-core processor
To be honest, we missed this rumor from last week. Living up to its name, MacRumors carried a story based on a story in Korea Times that Apple will shift from to TSMC instead of Samsung for production of the next-generation, Apple-designed A6 and A7 chips for future iOS devices.
But then it gets confusing because the MacRumors story goes on to say that Apple in fact is sticking with Samsung for the A6, a quad-core processor "to be used in the next iPhone." Citing an anonymous "executive from an Apple parts supplier based in Korea," MacRumors/Korea Times said Samsung "has been increasing the output of the Apple-designed A6 chips in its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas."
Quad-core mobile chips are pretty rare at this point. Nvidia earlier this year demonstrated its "Kal-El" addition to its Tegra product line. And Qualcomm and Freescale also are both touting higher performing quad-core silicon, which can do things like support 3D graphics ... on a screen smaller than a slice of bread.
Life doesn't get better than that. Until we have six-core mobile processors.
Steve Jobs will not introduce the iPhone 5
Just in time for Halloween.
Given that he's dead, this would seem like a no-brainer. But there are now rumors that Jobs recorded a product introduction to either the Next iPhone or the Next iPad or both.
Forthrightly, if ghoulishly, Beatweek debunks any expectation that Jobs will introduce iPhone 5 from beyond the grave. "If Steve were to make a posthumous product introduction (again, we're not saying the idea sounds realistic, but rather merely addressing viability of the buzz we're hearing), it would be at Apple's next event -- and that'll be the iPad 3 event," writes the assured Bill Palmer.
Of course, if the idea sounded realistic, no one would be rumoring it; or explaining why it's not actually realistic after all.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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