Rumors abound on new Apple products

Feb 11, 2011
Finance

The CDMA-enabled iPhone 4 broke Verizon (VZ) sales records yesterday, and on the heels of the launch are rumors that Apple (AAPL) is working on a smaller, nano version of the iPhone that will be CDMA/GSM compatible and include a universal SIM card. Yeah — this isn’t new. The “iPhone Nano” rumor has been kicking […]

The CDMA-enabled iPhone 4 broke Verizon (VZ) sales records yesterday, and on the heels of the launch are rumors that Apple (AAPL) is working on a smaller, nano version of the iPhone that will be CDMA/GSM compatible and include a universal SIM card.

Yeah — this isn’t new. The “iPhone Nano” rumor has been kicking around for a while, according to Ars Technica. But Bloomberg is reporting the new rumor, and they were right about the Xperia Play and Sony’s (SNE) new NGP handheld gaming system. That at least counts for something.

Bloomberg’s anonymous sources say the phone will be about a third smaller than the current iPhone and make use of components from the iPhone 4 to help keep it cheap — about $200 without a contract. At least one of the sources has seen an iPhone Nano prototype, Bloomberg said, and the sources claim Apple has been looking at launching the tiny new phone in the middle of this year — which would put it out right around the same time as the still-unannounced iPhone 5, if we go by Apple’s past hardware cycles.

Ars also has heard rumors that upcoming iPhone products will be dual-mode, allowing them to contain chips compatible with both AT&T (T) GSM network and Verizon’s CDMA network. Teardowns of the Verizon iPhone show that it’s pretty much identical to the AT&T iPhone, except for the CDMA chip. With the addition of a SIM card slot, the phone could have been made to work on either network, and the thinking there is that Apple’s future iPhones will indeed have that ability, allowing the company to manufacture just one model that will work on both the networks it supports.

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Talk says there will be two new iPads this year

And while we’re talking about rumors, there has recently been a lot of noise about the iPad 3 (not even the iPad 2 anymore, that’s soooo earlier this month). TechCrunch has a story claiming that Apple is prepping for a new iteration of the iPad for next fall. They’re tentatively referring to it as the iPad 3, for lack of a better term.

That’s following the Wall Street Journal letting us know that they had anonymous sources claiming Apple has production working on the iPad 2. Like right now.

The iPad 3 rumor comes from Daring Fireball writer John Gruber, who was speculating about HP’s (HPQ) new Touchpad, which is set to come out later this year and looks like an iPad, but will be more powerful, and was announced without a release date. Gruber’s comments kicked off a flood of rumor when he wrote this:

Summer feels like a long time away. If my theory is right, they’re not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3. And not only did they announce this with a distant ship date, they did it with no word on pricing.

Yup, a sneaky reference to another iPad that could show up in the summer, with the iPad 2 rumored to be set to appear right around April. This is from TechCrunch’s story, adding more fuel to the fire of an iPad 3:

A few days ago, we heard from a very good source that Apple was assembling the pieces for a “big fall surprise”. While intriguing, that could obviously mean anything. But the “surprise” part clearly means it’s something beyond the regular iPod/iTunes (and perhaps MacBook Air) refreshes that Apple does in the fall. Still, that leaves a lot of room for guesses. An actual Apple television? iTunes in the cloud? A touchscreen iMac? Who knows?

Well, until today. We’ve now heard that this “fall surprise” is related to this would-be iPad 3. We don’t have any more concrete information beyond that. But, as of right now, the plan is apparently to release one iteration of the iPad in the next few weeks. And then blow the doors open with another new version in the fall.

From what we’re hearing about the iPad 2, it’s going to be a slightly amped-up version of the iPad, but not a leap forward in technology. It’ll include a rear camera and be thinner, with better speakers, but the resolution of the screen isn’t said to be increasing at all. So imagine iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS and the iPad as the iPhone 3G; the new iPad will be a better machine, but it won’t necessarily be a new one.

So then, come Fall, Apple will release a real-deal new iPad — think of it as the iPhone 4 compared to the other models. That’s the thinking, speculation and innuendo, anyway.

Of course, we’re stuck waiting to find out what will actually happen in the next few months, given that Apple rumors are about a dime a dozen and often don’t last or pan out. But given the onslaught of improvements and new devices going on over in the Google (GOOG) Android camp, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that Apple is readying a big counterstrike.

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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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