Raise your hand if you think the No. 5 in Apple’s Sept. 12 press-event graphic is really bait and switch for something not iPhone-related (you know, like an Apple iHovercraft). No hands? Just one? The person in the back wearing the “JFK: It Was Aliens” T-shirt?
O.K. then, let’s assume we’ll finally see Apple’s new iPhone this week, and with that in mind, let’s run down the list of the most likely rumors.
It won’t be called the iPhone 5. The last iPhone was the 4S, so it’d make sense to put a 5 after the next iPhone, because, you know, math, and besides, that’s the shadow of a 5 cast by Apple’s freaky light-source, physics-defying No. 12, right? Don’t assume anything. Apple reverted to calling its tablet “iPad” when it launched the Retina model, leading me to believe the company wants us to think about tablets and phones the way we do Macs. There’s no such thing as a MacBook Air 3 or an iMac 6, after all. Putting numbers after product titles can be helpful when making reference to them, but as they multiply, they can get unwieldy. Do we really want an iPhone 15? A 26G? A 37S? (Source: me)
We’ll see it on Sept. 12. Apple’s invite photo speaks for itself: “It’s almost here,” with the No. 12 casting a shadow that’s unmistakably a No. 5. The San Francisco–based event, which our own Harry McCracken will cover, starts at 10 a.m. P.T. (Source: Apple)
We’ll be able to buy it on Sept. 21. Why nine days after the announcement? A manufacturing ramp-up? Are carriers sorting out last-minute plan details? Is Apple looking to muster another preorder tsunami? Who knows, but event-skeptical Apple watchers like the Loop gave this one the thumbs-up, so an availability delay seems likely. (Source: iMore)
We won’t be able to buy it on Sept. 21. On Aug. 30, a news report claimed that Sharp, which is allegedly manufacturing the next iPhone’s screen, had fallen behind schedule for financial reasons, threatening to pitch the phone’s launch date back. The solution? Apple could provide “financial incentives” to help Sharp out, said the story’s source. A legitimate complaint? Or is someone at Sharp manipulating the Apple-rumor-hungry media to strong-arm Cupertino? (Source: Reuters)
It’ll have a smaller dock connector. Nineteen-pin? Nine-pin? Eight-pin? Who knows, but this rumor won’t go away (the current connector is 30-pin — a veritable monstrosity compared with that of other devices, and probably a design holdover that is fixed because of the scale of industry adoption). The latest snaps of the alleged next iPhone’s connector seem to favor a 9-pin configuration. (Source: Nowhereelse.fr)
It’ll have more screen space. Everyone assumes the next iPhone is going to have a bigger screen because … well, there was no “because” when this rumor started, just (I suspect) a significant amount of Galaxy S-series envy. But several sites have released alleged photos of skeletal iPhone-like frames with more screen real estate (current models are 3.5 in. diagonally). Case in point: a French site that ran comparison shots of the existing iPhone and what clearly looks like an iPhone frame with a roughly 4-in. diagonal (taller, not wider) screen area. (Source: Nowhereelse.fr)
The display will use “in-cell” technology, and the phone will be thinner overall. Like most touchscreen devices, today’s iPhone uses technology referred to as “on-cell,” where the touch sensors lay on top of the color filters, occupying a separate layer that adds a fractional amount of thickness to the design (just under 0.5 mm in the current iPhone). With an “in-cell” configuration, the touch sensors live inside the color filters, eliminating that extra layer and thinning the touchscreen interface through integration of the touch and image components.
The original iPhone was 11.6-mm deep. That grew to 12.3 mm with the 3G and 3GS, then shrank to 9.3 mm with the iPhone 4 and 4S. The in-cell shrink would probably shave off just under 0.5 mm, which isn’t much, but consider what KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo suggested in an April note: Apple could be aiming to bring the next iPhone in at under 8 mm, in part by switching to a metal (though probably not “liquid metal”) backside to replace the iPhone’s existing glass one. According to Chi-Kuo, the new back piece could shave as much as 1 mm off the total width, dropping the iPhone to just under 8-mm thickness. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
It won’t have a Near Field Communication chip. NFC chips let phones communicate with other devices by getting up close. Alleged snaps of the new iPhone prompted some to speculate that Apple might squeeze an NFC chip in for good measure, but a thorough technical analysis by Anand Lal Shimpi pretty much shot this rumor down. (Source: Anandtech)
It’ll support 4G LTE. Does anyone doubt this? Of course it will. (Source: inevitability)