More rumors confuse the iPhone 5

Aug 29, 2011
Tech

Rumors about Apple products are part of the game when you follow the company. Apple is extremely tight-lipped about its future products, so even though we all know it releases new products on a yearly cycle and a new iPhone is due sometime this year, we still know only what anonymous sources and leaked components […]

Rumors about Apple products are part of the game when you follow the company. Apple is extremely tight-lipped about its future products, so even though we all know it releases new products on a yearly cycle and a new iPhone is due sometime this year, we still know only what anonymous sources and leaked components can tell us.

And it seems that if there’s something we’re learning from rumors about the iPhone 5 as time goes on, it’s that we really don’t know much of anything about the iPhone 5. The device is believed to be just a little more than a month away, but conflicting reports from respectable news agencies, including the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, make it hard to gauge whether the device will even be a true iPhone 5 or not.

The latest rumor comes from Asian publication DigiTimes, which cites “upstream component manufacturers” for its information. DigiTimes’ leaks don’t always turn out to be accurate, but they do sometimes offer insight into the final devices as they speak with employees of companies that make the parts for Apple’s devices. The newest rumor, according to MacRumors, states that the next iPhone 5 will have a 3.5- to 3.7-inch screen, with its surrounding plastic “bezel” shrunk from previous models to make the screen appear to be bigger.

The weird thing about the DigiTimes report is that it seems to endeavor to disprove a “leak” from earlier in August that most of the Internet has deemed to be a fake. That leak, a video that MacRumors puts no stock in and TUAW also debunked, purports to show a 4.2-inch screen on the next iPhone.

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DigiTimes also says that the next iPhone will have a metal back chassis, rather than a glass back panel like the iPhone 4. That’s at odds with another leak which foretold parts including a back panel for an iPhone 4-like device that carries Apple’s A5 processor, the chip it introduced in the iPad 2 that just about everyone expects to migrate to the next iPhone. That part was marked with the internal name ‘N94,’ which, following Apple’s internal naming conventions, was believed to be the next iPhone.

And in fact, there have been a lot of conflicting reports. Earlier in the year, the prevailing leak was that Apple was releasing a more incremental update of the iPhone 4 called the iPhone 4S, which wasn’t much in the way of a redesign but would include the A5 chip. Then we started to hear that the iPhone 5, a true new product iteration, was on its way, and that it would be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4. Now the rumors between a redesigned iPhone 5 and a largely identical iPhone 4S are interchangeable, although when Reuters reported on the latter, it mentioned the device would have a bigger touchscreen and an 8-megapixel camera. Oh, and the whole camera thing is conflicted, too.

So unfortunately, it seems like we’re no closer to knowing anything about the iPhone 5 or 4S or whatever than we were way back in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, when there was still speculation the company might announce the new handset there. The most solid piece of information right now seems to be that we should expect the iPhone 5 in October, although it could be September. There are conflicting reports.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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