This week in rumors, there was a warming trend in the iOSsphere with renewed hope that iPhone 5 might actually have LTE radios after all, along with a magnetic power connector, and with speculation the iPhone was delayed because of either an HTC patent complaint or Steve Jobs' upcoming biography.
In the face of Apple's continued silence about the iPhone 5, the iOSsphere's rumor rating may be downgraded by Standard & Poor's, according to numerous sources familiar with the situation.
You read it here second.
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"What some invent the rest enlarge." -- Jonathan Swift, "Journal of a Modern Lady"
LTE iPhones being tested on mobile carriers might be iPhone 5.
Coyness is a hallmark of iPhone 5 rumoring, and few have the deft touch of BoyGeniusReport's Jonathan Geller. His "exclusive" post begins, "Apple's iPhone 5 is set to be unveiled in the next month or so, though no one quite knows what the device will feature ..."
Nonetheless. "While we can't confirm that the upcoming fifth-generation iPhone will be able to support 4G LTE, we can now exclusively confirm that Apple's carrier partners are testing iPhone models with LTE capability." He leaves it to his readers to connect the first dot and the second dot even though there's no actual connection there.
The basis of this exclusive confirmation is a bit vague, though it doesn't sound vague: "BGR has obtained evidence of an internal iOS test build from one of Apple's major carrier partners, and buried in the firmware is a property list (.plist file) for LTE."
In the iOSsphere these geek-like assertions are reinterpreted and passed on in generous fashion. At MacPost, for example, Mike Webb writes: "BGR were able to procure an internal iOS test build from one of Apple's major carrier partners." Yet Geller only says it obtained "evidence" of such a build, and his sentence structure leaves unclear whether the evidence's source is actually one of the carriers.
According to Apple, property lists, or "plists," are structured data representation that's extensively used by software in iOS and Mac OS X as a "convenient way to store, organize, and access standard types of data." The Mac OS X Finder application uses plists to store file and directory attributes. "Many applications require a mechanism for storing information that will be needed at a later time. For situations where you need to store small amounts of persistent data -- say less than a few hundred kilobytes -- property lists offer a uniform and convenient means of organizing, storing, and accessing the data."
BGR shows four photos that in sequence seem to show the complete plist in question. Near the top of the file is the following:
Without knowing anything about LTE or intra-frequency measurement, it still seems a stretch to conclude that LTE-equipped iPhones or even prototypes are actively being tested on carrier networks.
Geller concludes with a rhetorical device, which we call "extremification of banality," that's characteristic of tech rumoring. It takes the form of "This doesn't ... but ..."
Geller writes: "This doesn't necessarily mean every Apple device that's about to be released will feature an embedded 4G LTE modem, but it certainly means Apple isn't sitting on the sidelines as 4G LTE networks continue to roll out around the world."
The first clause carries an unfounded conclusion to an extreme, and absurd, conclusion. No one, or no one with a mind unwarped by drugs or mental defect, would conclude that because some LTE-equipped prototypes are in early testing that "every" Apple device "about to be released" will have an LTE radio. But it serves to make the second clause, which is always a banality, sound measured and profound, despite the fact that in this case there's no evidence and no serious accusation that Apple is "sitting on the sidelines" with regard to LTE.
iPhone 5 will have MagSafe magnetic power connector.
Patently Apple, which covers ever known and revealed patent or patent application associated with Apple, uncovered a recent patent award, which indicates that Apple's MagSafe coupling technology could be coming to future iOS mobile devices.
Clearly this is what's known as a "fact," and therefore inadmissible to the weekly iPhone 5 rumor roll-up except for the fact that this particular fact at once became the basis of a new rumor.
MagSafe is a power connector that's held in place by magnets in the plug and in the port on the client device. It's a safety feature: If the power cord is caught by a hand or foot, the magnets separate, pulling the cord from the socket without yanking the computer to the floor. It was first introduced for the MacBook Pro in January 2006, according to Wikipedia.
The new patent outlines using a similar coupling for iOS devices, according to Patently Apple.
CNET UK's Luke Westaway at once saw The True Meaning: "iPad 3 and iPhone 5 could have MagSafe chargers." Which is technically true, of course. They could have also have: LTE radios, near-field communications, advanced speech-to-text, 3D, Apple's high-resolution Retina display, a Thunderbolt port, and every other feature that's been rumored for the last nine months.
It could even have a Delta wave augmenter. You read it here first.
HTC patent complaint could delay iPhone 5.
Another fact-to-rumor transmogrification. A Bloomberg news story reported that HTC this week filed a patent complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). HTC told ITC that Apple's iOS devices violated a trio of HTC patents. The Taiwan-based handset maker wants the ITC to block importing iOS devices; the company also filed a federal lawsuit against Apple over the same patents.
That didn't deter the iOSsphere. At ITPortal.com, Radu Tyrsina concluded iPhone was at risk. "[T]he autumn months could come and go without seeing an iPhone launch," he wrote, with poetic glumness. "The reason? HTC has filed a patent-related complaint with the International Trade Commission against the Cupertino-based company, which could see the iPhone release being delayed, Bloomberg reports."
The Bloomberg story doesn't mention iPhone 5, or "next iPhone" or even "future iPhone."
Tyrsina's misreading of Bloomberg became a "report" for Michael Nace, who cited it in his iPhone5NewsBlog.com. Nace wondered, "Could the later-than-usual release of the iPhone 5 be a result of an aggressive patent lawsuit levied by HTC against Apple?"
"Later than usual" refers to the expectation by some that Apple "should" have announced iPhone 5 at or near its Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Following this logic, it means that Apple didn't announce the next iPhone in June because it intuited that HTC would file in August a patent complaint that would force Apple to delay announcing it in September. Or maybe October.
The real reason for iPhone 5 delay: Steve Jobs' biography.
"Steve Jobs Biography reportedly set to hit the stores on Nov. 21, 2011, ahead of its original release date of early 2012, could this hint for an arrival of iPhone 5?" That's the question posed by Michael Kelly in a Myona.com post that reads like it was copied and pasted from a Chinese original via Google Translate.
"Citing a source from All Things D, bookseller Barnes & Noble has moved up the publication date for the authorized biography of Apple's iconic CEO to November and revealed the new cover, black-and-white photo of Jobs. This sudden change of the release date spark some speculations whether the CEO will indeed unveiled the next generation iPhone due to the decision."
Myona's tag line is: "Myona is free, simple, and most importantly. It's news."
Kelly was apparently referring to a post by AllThingsD's Kara Swisher about the first photos of the book's cover and the earlier release date.
Swisher reiterated AllThingsD's view, based on its sources, that Apple will announce iPhone 5 in October. 9to5Mac seems baffled by what it terms her "combative insistence" about that, while combatively insisting that its own sources say that "Apple has plans to begin selling [emphasis added] the next-generation iPhone on Friday, October 7th," and will start taking pre-orders "in the final days of September." Which would require Apple having to announce iPhone 5 in September.
iPhone 5 screens being made in China right now by stalwart poisoned workers!
"Is Wintek Producing the iPhone 5 Screen Right Now?" is the headline to a rumor by Chris Chang at MICgadget (MIC for "made in China"). In the iOSsphere, that's one of "those kind of questions" -- the kind of question to which everyone is expected to just know the answer.
His rumor is based on what seems to be a single photo posted, he says, by a user on Sina Microblog, a Twitter-like service for The Evil Empire. MICgadget apparently then created at least two closeups, each one more grainy and blurry than the last.
Change clearly studied the photo carefully and offers incisive analysis. "From the pic, we see three things," he writes. "The workers are wearing protective uniforms and masks."
He missed a lot: They're wearing gloves, sitting in chairs, the floor is green, the tables seem to be made of steel, and there are strange electrical devices.
"They seemed to be checking (or cleaning) the touchscreen component of iPhones." Or doing something with something.
"Previously, we reported that workers of Wintek getting poisoned during the production of Apple touchscreens by the N-Hexane cleaners [Bloomberg had a February 2011 follow-up on the incident]. And there's even a rumor saying that Wintek is using video cameras to monitor their poisoned workers. Today, we see these Wintek workers are still working hard to produce touchscreens for Apple. Great."
Great indeed. During breaks they probably relax by chanting slogans like, "Those who are against CEO Steve will have their dog skulls smashed into pieces," "Grasp magic and promote production," and quoting the Wisdom of CEO Steve, "Put a ding in the universe!" and, "One home run is much better than two doubles!"
The eyes of Chang also see an "elongated gesture home button" and "the size of the screen looks bigger than our iPhone 4 screen." This could be IT.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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