This week: We have the Shipment Date, again; details only a geek would love; dire rumors that iPhone 5 users will be stuck with a 5 megapixel camera; tech specs of the unannounced product; and a vision of how iPhone 5 speech recognition will change our lives forever.
You read it here second.
The nature of rumor is known to all. -- Tertulian
The Date: iPhone 5 will ship in September.
Reuters confidently asserts that Apple will start production of iPhone 5 in "July/August" and the device will ship in September (perhaps they mean "September/October?"), based on information from "three people with direct knowledge of the company's supply chain."
It will have a faster processor than iPhone 4 (a long-standing rumor or expectation or yearning) but it will look a lot like the current model.
APPLE IPHONEYS: The iPhone 5 edition
Beatweek is far more precise on the date. In effect, the website says that if the iPhone 5 does ship in September, it will ship after Sept. 13. That's because "Apple traditionally holds its fall press event on the second Tuesday of September, namely the 13th in 2011."
In light of this newest rumor, Beatweek's "buying recommendation" now is: Don't bother to wait for i5, go with i4 which is "nearly the perfect smartphone."
Whoa! iPhone 5 will have a different LED camera flash module.
It doesn't get much more techno-fetishistic than this. AppleInsider says iPhone 5 could have a "new LED camera flash module from a different manufacturer" than iPhone 4. That's because "Apple is said to have 'greatly reduced' orders of Philips LED flash components in the last one to two months."
You're wondering what that means. Philips supplies the LED flash component for the current iPhone 4. So, if Apple has slashed orders for this component, it "may" [quotes by AppleInsider] indicate that the Philips component won't be used in the upcoming iPhone 5. And, therefore, a different LED flash component will be used instead!
It's just simple logic.
AppleInsider's source for this deductive exercise is a "person familiar with the company's supply chain," who's likely right because this same person "has provided accurate information on Apple's iPhone in the past."
This latest tidbit let AppleInsider rehash all the previous iPhone 5 camera and LED flash rumors: the purported iPhone 5 case that showed a new location for the LED flash; a purported camera component showed the lens and flash as separate elements.
Electronista puts a narrative spin on these fragments, claiming they show that Apple is redesigning ... the camera flash system. "Apple is rumored to be using an eight-megapixel CMOS sensor [camera] from OmniVision that would be more sensitive than in the past," the website says. "While excellent for low light, it could also be overly sensitive to light from a flash that on the iPhone 4 is just a fraction of an inch away."
Don't bet real money on iPhone 5 having an 8-megapixel camera.
Sure to send a frisson of technological angst rippling through the iOSphere, AppleInsider says in the same post about the new flash component that, in reading the entrails of the just-announced iOS 5 beta release, there are signs that iPhone 5 will continue with a 5-megapixel camera.
ArsTechnica puts the best face on it: "It's hard to say for sure whether it will be 5MP or 8MP in the final shipping version -- it may be an error or outdated information in the preview -- but at least the 5MP sensor in the iPhone 4 is one of the best we've seen."
The iPhone 5 specs. And as a bonus the Google Nexus 4G specs.
These have been published by CNET Asia, in a side-by-side comparison of the two unreleased and unannounced phones. The headline is "What we know: iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4G." But CNET undermines itself a bit by admitting, "Officially, there are no hardware specifications announced yet ..."
Undeterred, the website assures readers "we can take a pretty good guess with the rumored information on what you can expect in the later half of the year." That seems to mean that CNET is guessing based on ... other people's guesses, which in turn are based on guesses. And possibly on the same person who's familiar with Apple's supply chain and was so helpful to AppleInsider.
iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch screen. Or not.
9to5Mac is on a roll this week. The site posted some iPhone screenshots sent to it by an app vendor called SpeechTrans, and wondered breathlessly in the post headline: "Did SpeechTrans just spill the beans on iPhone 5?" SpeechTrans offers an app called SpeechTrans Ultimate Powered by Nuance, which translates text from one language into another using the speech/text processing technology.
How did SpeechTrans spill the beans? Because, says 9to5Mac, the screenshots "seem to depict an iPhone with a 4-inch screen" instead of the current 3.5-inch screen.
It's up to Ubergizmo to explain why the photos seemingly depict this: From left to right, the onscreen image runs edge-to-edge, without the narrow borders of the existing iPhone 4.
But then 9to5Mac deftly plunges a knife into the beating heart of this scoop: "This is a third-party app, so the chances are slim that SpeechTrans knows something."
And Ubergizmo notes, at the end of its post, that the photos aren't really screenshots after all: "The image above is a Photoshop job (obviously), where it was posted for reference purposes and serves as a form of illustration. It must not be taken as the final product."
So, no spilled beans after all.
Speaking of speech recognition: iPhone 5 will use it and our lives will change.
Nuance has for months been the focus of ever more elaborate iOS/iPhone rumors, inspired a year ago when Apple bought Siri, which offers a personal virtual assistant that uses the Nuance engine. In May, VentureBeat said that Apple is running Nuance software in its new North Carolina data center to service iOS users and Nuance-based Siri would be a big part of iOS 5.
There wasn't any indication of that when Apple unveiled iOS 5 earlier this month at its Wordwide Developers Conference.
But hope springs eternal. Over at our sister publication Computerworld, Apple Holic blogger Jonny Evans has a lyrical post about "How September's iPhone 5 voice recognition could change our lives."
Reassuringly, it's all for the better. "I can't help but reflect that I haven't actually had to touch a computer all day, beyond reading my morning paper on the iPad, taking a few photos, and making sure I'm carrying one with me," Evans writes. "I've sent and responded to multiple emails, texts and calls, I've written a letter, got to a meeting and learned a lot about an artist I'd never heard of before. I've listened to talk radio and Bob Dylan. And I've not needed to touch a computer at all -- just talk to it."
Just like Harrison Ford, 19 years ago, in Ridley Scott's movie "Bladerunner."
Whatever its screen size, the iPhone 5 is now in the "final testing stage."
That's the rumor from 9to5Mac, based on a "previously accurate Apple source."
To most of us, "final testing stage" probably conjures up images of white-coated lab geeks peering anxiously at screens, poring over data and so on. But according to the Previously Accurate Apple Source (or PAAS), what it really means is that iPhone 5 "is now being carried around by high-level Apple and carrier executives."
The PAAS also says the "current plan is for a September launch" for iPhone 5. But, he warns, the Verizon model may not have FaceTime over 3G, because the carrier and the vendor are still working on a deal.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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