New iPhone Rumors Are Boring Already

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Apple CEO Tim Cook at the new iPad launch

Remember when the littlest iPhone rumor would send the tech blogosphere into a frenzy? Those days are apparently over, as a recent scoop by iLounge demonstrated.

iLounge’s story about Apple’s next iPhone seemed juicy enough. Citing unnamed sources, the site claimed that the iPhone will measure 0.39 inches taller than previous versions–but no wider–to make room for a 4-inch display. It will reportedly look similar to the last two iPhones, but will be about 20 percent thinner, and will have a metal panel instead of glass on the back. It will not use a curved design, despite what other rumors might have said, iLounge claimed. Finally, the site reported that the next iPhone will have a smaller dock connector, not the 30-pin connector found on every iOS device to date.

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As far as unconfirmed iPhone info goes, that’s a pretty good haul. And yet this rumor amounted to just a blip on the tech world’s radar. On the tech news aggregator Techmeme, the story was promptly buried by news about Samsung’s Galaxy S III, LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare and Facebook’s IPO range. The story is nowhere to be found on Google News. I haven’t seen many people talking about it on Twitter.

Though I’m sure the next iPhone will be a huge story as the launch date gets closer, and it’ll be another hit product for Apple, the rumors have ceased to be exciting.

One reason might be that we’ve been hearing about a redesigned iPhone with a larger screen even before Apple launched the iPhone 4S last October. This year’s rumors are pretty much the same as last year’s rumors. One more unconfirmed report doesn’t do much to stir the pot.

Another possibility, as I’ve written before, is that we’ve reached a plateau where new hardware has ceased to be exciting. What could Apple possibly do on the hardware front to blow the tech world away? Bigger screen with a high pixel density? Other phones have already done it. Ditto for 4G LTE and near-field communications. Maybe the processor will be faster, or the camera will have more megapixels, but most users probably wouldn’t even notice the difference from the iPhone 4S. A thinner iPhone would be nice, but not really unexpected, because other phones out-thin the iPhone already.

Hardware is what you physically purchase, but software has become a much bigger deal. We saw this yesterday in Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S III–a phone with a larger display and faster processor than its predecessor, but otherwise the same tech specs. Samsung is instead trying to stand out with a whole bunch of software tweaks to Android 4.0, including a Siri-like voice assistant. Siri, for that matter, was the biggest new feature in the iPhone 4S, even though it’s not directly related to hardware.

I haven’t yet seen many rumors about iOS 6–the next version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad operating system–but they’re sure to crop up soon. When they do, I have a feeling they’ll make for bigger headlines than screen sizes and measurements.