No iPhone 5 Until 2013? Cue the Newest Round of Rumors

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If you thought Apple’s iPhone 4S announcement would put an end to iPhone 5 rumors, you’d be wrong.

Already, the rumor mill is predicting when Apple will release the iPhone 5 with 4G LTE support. According DigiTimes, market research firm IHS says the time frame is late 2012 or mid-2013, when chipsets for thinner designs become available. (In other news, I’m predicting zero to 24 inches of rain in Cincinnati this weekend.)

(MORE: Apple Announces iPhone 4S: Old Design, New Specs, Siri Assistant)

From what I can tell, though, IHS’s statement is pure speculation, not the usual "supply chain sources" that make up so much of DigiTimes’ claptrap. Not that it matters; iPhone 5 rumors have been so unreliable that you might as well just make wild guesses.

IHS pats itself on the back for predicting in July that the next iPhone would not support LTE networks–as if to lend credence to its latest forecast–but most pundits figured as much already, because the current technology wastes battery life. Predicting the iPhone 5 for next year or the year after that doesn’t give us much new insight, either.

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Fortunately, not every rumor monger is non-committal. Hard Candy, a maker of iPhone cases, was so confident that Apple would launch a redesigned iPhone this year that the company started making 50,000 cases ahead of Apple’s announcement, accommodating a bigger design, 4.44-inch display and lozenge-shaped home button, Cult of Mac reported. Maybe next year, right? Or 2013. Or maybe Samsung will copy the design for its own smartphones. Anything’s possible!

I know, I know. By spreading these rumors, I’m just being an enabler. My colleague Matt Peckham is totally right that the media is to blame for blowing iPhone expectations out of proportion. But it’s not going to stop unless tech writers come to some agreement that Apple doesn’t deserve as much media frenzy as it gets, which in turn won’t stop unless people don’t click on this stuff. And that won’t stop unless people cease to be fascinated by Apple products. In other words, it never ends.

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