The last week has been filled with iPhone 5 news items that seem to be important markers on the way to the device’s highly-anticipated release this fall.
First, we got confirmation from Reuters of the new, smaller Dock Connector that had been rumored for some time. A pain for owners with many Dock Connector accessories, this update will nonetheless be a welcome one for fans of smaller cables. USB 3.0?
Next, there was a series of photos, including the one above, which iLab Factory purports to be of a fully assembled, ready to roll iPhone 5 production unit. These photos aren’t fuzzy, sneaked shots of a prototype in a darkened closet, but full-on, high-res images of what looks to be a handset that matches every rumor and leak we’ve seen over the last few weeks.
And finally, iMore.com is reporting that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 – and perhaps the new “iPad mini” and next-gen iPod nano as well – on September 12, with new products shipping the following Friday, September 21 – the first day (though not full day) of fall. This is the least reliable of the recent news regarding the 6th Generation iPhone, but it sounds right to us. If true, there are just 44 days until we get our first official look at the hardware and are told how the design team at Apple started from scratch again to build the best phone ever.
Purported iPhone and iPhone component photos are a dime a dozen – and mostly crap. But every now and again a few crop up that are difficult to dismiss. Such is the case with new photos obtained by 9to5Mac.com, which claim to show the rear shell of the iPhone 5.
These photos are quite clear, and actually available in high resolution if you visit the post. The photos show a largely aluminum rear shell with colored sections above and below.
They also show that the new iPhone – if these photos are accurate – will continue to have antenna bands along the sides, or perhaps just at the top and bottom of the handset. The long-rumored mini Dock Connector can also clearly be seen, flanked by redesigned speaker and mic grills. The 3.5mm audio jack is show as having been moved to the bottom of the phone.
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Since the first iPad was introduced in early 2010, there have been constant predictions of an “iPad mini,” an Apple tablet with a screen significantly smaller than 9.7-inches.
All have been wrong.
Even before being proven so by history, the prognostications were routinely quashed by naysayers, who – like Steve Jobs – believed that smaller 7 and 8-inch tablets lacked the utility of the larger iPad; Jobs even went so far as to say that such an iPad would not be produced by Apple. After three iPad generations’ release, we haven’t seen so much as a quarter-inch change in the screen size, mostly because Jobs’ was the only opinion that counted for much the last two and a half years.
But his influence, lasting though it may be in many respects, is no longer a deciding factor at Apple.
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New reports this week from the Wall Street Journal and Reuters have bolstered persistent rumors that the next iPhone will have a 4-inch touchscreen, bringing it closer to competing smartphones with 4.3, 4.6 and 4.7 inch displays.
Each iPhone released has featured the same 3.5-inch multi-touch display size, though resolutions have varied. But rumors predating the current iPhone 4S’s announcement have pointed to a larger iPhone screen for 2012, with the exact size of the increase a matter of some debate. In light of these long-standing reports and two leading news sources’ confirmation, the idea that the iPhone 5 will have a larger screen – likely 4-inches – is now all but certain.
According to the stories, screen production will begin next month, with the first iPhone 5 units rolling off the assembly line in August. It is generally accepted that the U.S. release will follow shortly thereafter, likely in September or October. There has also been a great deal of speculation that the smartphone will feature a new design, as Apple has not updated the size, shape or style of its iPhone since the summer of 2010.
Rumors have also persisted that a smaller iPad, with a display perhaps 7-inches diagonally, will be released at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Concept image courtesy of BGR
One day before Apple unveils its next tablet device, the rumors are predictably swirling.
First, it’s being reported by CNet and others that the 3rd Gen iPad will not be known as the iPad 3, but the iPad HD. This is believable enough since the new screen will feature a resolution – 2048×1536 – that certainly qualifies as high definition by any standard.
Next, LTE. Whether or not LTE would be included on the iPad 3, excuse us, iPad HD, has been a topic of much debate. This morning, iMore (which doesn’t have a spotless record of Apple rumors) is “confirming” that LTE will indeed be part of the mix: “The same source that originally told iMore Apple would be holding their iPad 3 event on March 7 has now let us know that the announcement will include 4G LTE networking.” We’re still skeptical of this, but if true, it would be a welcome feature, and would all but guarantee that the iPhone 5 (iPhone HD?) will have LTE as well.
Dual or quad-core A-whatever processor? The debate has been a virtual seesaw. Quad core mobile processors are now a reality, but the real question is whether or not the technology is reliable enough for Apple’s standards. Reports of both a faster dual-core and a new A6 quad-core abound.
Finally, availability. We’ve been assuming that the new iPad would ship Friday-week after its announcement, March 16th. 9to5Mac.com agrees.
Apple’s iPad event is just over 24 hours away. All will be known soon…