iPhone 5 release date, other rumors

Steve Jobs (Norbert von der Groeben / Reuters)

It's time to round up the iPhone 5 release date rumors and all the other Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) chatter about this ridiculously-anticipated pomaceous device. Well, Jonny's away, and someone's gotta do it; so I might as well step into the breach with The Long View...

Today, Apple makes two versions of the iPhone 4 -- one for GSM/UTMS (e.g., AT&T) and one for CDMA (e.g., Verizon). It's been generally assumed that the iPhone 5 will be "one device to rule them all" -- containing a baseband chipset that can work on both GSM and CDMA.

Robin Wauters has a deep-throated source offering proof that this is indeed the case:

I was recently approached by a developer of some of the most popular [iOS] apps...[who] offered solid proof that supports the above claim. ... [P]eople have recently registered for one of their applications from...what is almost certainly an iPhone 5...sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). ... some registrations for the app...were logged...using the MNC/MCC codes from both Verizon and AT&T.
[This] would be great news for consumers. ... Traveling abroad with a phone that only supports CDMA, in particular, is a major pain in the ***.

This could also point to iPhone 5 availability from T-Mobile USA. A new baseband chipset should allow today's unlocked iPhones to use T-Mobile's 3G signal. At present, T-Mobile uses the 1700Mhz band, which the iPhone 3GS and 4 hardware doesn't support. 

Does that mean it could also support "4G" LTE networks? Unlikely. All indications are that the initial LTE chipset designs suck too much battery, and if Apple wants to make the next iPhone thinner and lighter, that's big no-no.

As Devindra Hardawar puts it:

[It] likely won’t feature LTE 4G support. Honestly, that was a longshot...LTE chipsets are still too bulky and power-hungry to meet Apple’s...standards. It also doesn’t help that AT&T still hasn’t rolled out its LTE network yet.

How about the camera? Will Apple match Nokia's latest 8-megapixel lead? Various rabid fanboi Apple-watching sites have seized on an apparent leak of iPhone 5 parts imagery. A Chinese wholesaler, called TVC Mall, is already offering several replacement bits and bobs for the as-yet-unannounced pocket computer.

Arnold Kim was among the first to notice:

[The] new claimed iPhone 5 parts...includ[e] the Battery, Back Camera Lens, and Headphone/Earphone Audio Jack Flex Cable. [They] are definitely different from the existing iPhone 4 parts.
The back camera module shown here seems to reveal a closely embedded camera flash much like the iPhone 4's design. ... iFixit's Kyle Wiens [says] the sensor is essentially identical to the iPhone 4's camera [with] the same 5-megapixel resolution.

OK, but what about this persistent rumor about a cheaper iPhone? Well, various Paul Julius Reuter employees have been chatting to sundry Apple suppliers, out in Asia.

They're concluding that a cut-down iPhone 4 is on the starting blocks:

[An] 8GB version is expected to launch within weeks. ... In addition to...the smaller iPhone 4, Apple is targeting an end-September launch for...the iPhone 5...will have a bigger touch screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera. ... The phone will be made by Hon Hai and Pegatron.

Wait, did you just say 8-megapixel? But didn't we just learn that the new camera is only 5MP? Could it be that those parts were for the cut-down iPhone 4? Or perhaps someone's spreading false rumors at our expense.

It's long been my suspicion that Apple PR deliberately seeds these rumors, just so that idiots like me will write about them. Otherwise, what does Katie's department actually do, exactly? It's not as if they spend loads of time actually communicating information.

But, no, that's just crazy talk. Isn't it?

Other stuff we're expecting:

  • Dual-core A5 CPU
  • Smaller bezel
  • Curved back
  • Improved antenna (even though Steve said there was "nothing wrong" with the one in the iPhone 4) 

Perhaps we should all just get a life, and wait for Apple's announcement in September. Oops, did I say September? I meant October.

Have you had enough rumorage yet? Leave a comment below...

Richi Jennings, blogger at large

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. As well as The Long View, he's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: TLV@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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