"This Week In Apple Rumors" is starting a little early this week.
On Monday Apple released iOS 5.1 to developers; this is good news for iPhone owners, as it means the general release of iOS 5.1, which should once and for all fix the battery drain problems, is coming soon. But Apple fans may have more than just a software upgrade to look forward to.
Apple blog 9to5Mac found a few interesting goodies in the code of iOS 5.1, namely references to a new iPad, iPhone and Apple TV.
First, the iPad: Last week the rumor mill churned up references to j1 and j2 iPads, internal code names for tablets in development (not necessarily products that will be released). In the iOS 5.1 code, 9to5Mac found a reference to an iPad 2,4, which the blog interprets as an upgrade to the current iPad 2 -- most likely a new iPad for Sprint with 4G WiMAX capability. The blog also found a reference to iPad 3,3, which might be the iPad 3, rumored for a March release with double the screen resolution of the current iPad.
Next, the iPhone: Yes, we've all heard a lot about the mythical iPhone 5, with the slimmer body, larger display screen and 4G capability. It was supposedly coming out in October, and many were disappointed when only the iPhone 4S was announced. No matter: Software developer Filippo Bigarella located a reference to the iPhone 5,1 in the iOS 5,1 code. Let the rampant speculation begin anew (as though it hadn't already, with rumors of 4G and 4-inch display screens already proliferating).
Finally, Apple TV: No, not the magical television set, or iTV, that Apple supposedly has planned for some time in 2012 or 2013, but the little black box that hooks your TV up to the Internet. A new one has been rumored to be coming in previous Apple rumors, and 9to5Mac pulled a reference to an upcoming update out of their magic code-searching hat.
A busy day for 9to5Mac writers!
These discoveries don't bring with them much new information, aside from the possibility of a wholly new iPad 2 for Sprint that would take advantage of their faster 4G WiMAX network. Otherwise, these are continued signs that Apple is working on new products: A new iPad 3 (most likely for March), a new iPhone 5 (for either the summer or October 2012) and a new Apple TV (rumored for this December or early 2012). This week in Apple rumors is heating up, and it is only Tuesday as of publication.
Check out our slideshow (below) for a refresher of the hottest Apple rumors from last week.
Just about everyone with a mouse and keyboard (or finger and touchscreen) thinks that the iPad 3 is in production. That same number of people all have different opinions of what Apple's followup to the iPad 2 is going to look like. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sharp has begun to supply the display panels for the iPad 3, though there is much dispute about what kind of power those panels will pack. DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim is confident that the resolution will hit 2,048 x 1,536, compared with the 1,024 x 768 resolution of the iPad 2. Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., thinks that the Sharp displays will be...well, sharper, sporting an HD display that will allow for a thinner design and better battery life. He also notes that "the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved," though he does not note what the "meaning" in "meaningful" could possibly mean. And now the exciting part: That was the least crazy iPad rumor of the week. Put on your crazy hats; we're going to looney-town! Now let's think back: Remember when Apple was going to launch both an iPhone 4S and an iPhone 5 in October? Sure you do! We were all so disappointed when it didn't happen! Well, let's all get ready to foolishly pump ourselves up over nothing once again, because...
Here we go again! Apple is developing two different iPad 3 prototypes as we speak, code-named J1 and J2, according to a report by DigiTimes. The article shows some restraint (a journalistic breakthrough!) in noting that Apple is planning to choose between the two when release time comes in early 2012. The same rumor claims that Apple will NOT release two different iPads at once, unlike that time that they released two different iPhones at the same time just this year. From DigiTimes: Apple is currently giving two tablet PC projects codenamed J1 and J2 to its upstream partners for development. The sources revealed that the major differences of the new tablet PCs compared to the previous model are their size, specifications and technologies. The sources pointed out that the J2 project seems to be an upgrade version of the J1 and although Apple has not yet decided which project will be used for the final launch, Apple is likely to make the final decision based on its needs. So, there may be two iPad 3 models in development, with minor differences distinguishing the two. Corroborating these rumors of J1 and J2 iPad 3s, 9to5Mac found a reference to J2 in some hidden iOS 5 code strings; this discovery of hidden iOS 5 code is kind of like a scene out of The Da Vinci Code, if The Da Vinci Code had been a thousand times nerdier. (Paging Ron Howard....) AND EVEN THAT was not the wildest iPad 3-related rumor of the week. For that, we turn to predictably off-kilter Business Insider (truly the whiskey-drinking, conspiracy theory-believing, Crazy Great Uncle of the Apple rumor family), who has a source claiming that...
Like the Nintendo 3DS, it would not require 3D glasses! Also, it has been permanently discontinued! Wait, what? According to "a source who says he has friends at Apple, and who has been reliable about future Apple products in the past" who spoke with Business Insider, an original iPad 3 prototype had a 3D screen. However, the source said that the design was scrapped because Apple "didn't want it to be a gimmick." (Glasses-free 3D a gimmick? Nooo...) The source did not rule out Apple returning to 3D screens in the future, so start saving up now for your 3D iPad 47. Speaking of devices that were never released: The iPhone 5. Remember that one? The thinner iPhone with the 4-inch screen, the 4G capability and the bonus electric Ginsu knife? Yeah, it didn't come out in October like we all thought it would, but that doesn't make the next rumor implausible...
From Japanese-language Apple rumor vomitorium Macotakara.jp, we have a rumor that suppliers Hitachi and Sony are working on an unspecified 4-inch device for release in 2012 (um, just like they were presumably working on a 4-inch iDevice for release in 2011). According to "sources in Asia," the 4-inch device will ship in 2012 and Macotakara's sources in Asia aren't saying whether it will be an iPod Touch, an iPhone, a really, really small iPad or some kind of deeply unsatisfying handheld television. As usual, who knows? Our impotence as accurate prognosticators of Apple's future product line often comes up against all-too-familiar boundaries. In other iPhone 5 news: The thing might have NFC-capability, according to DigiTimes. Game changer! And now, let's talk the Apple television that is going to destroy every other television ever made (uh, according to some). More specifically, let's talk the release date of this apocalyptic television. Spoiler alert: It could be coming much sooner than you think. According to a questionably-reliable Apple analyst...
You may remember Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek from earlier in the slideshow, when he predicted that the iPad 3 was on its way. You may also remember him from super-fun Apple rumors of the past like "iOS and Mac OS X will totally converge by 2012." For his latest trick, Misek has predicted that the Apple television -- the Siri-integrated, remote-less, paradigm-shifting one leaked by Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson -- will be released in "mid-2012." Details on the so-called iTV are scant, so scant, in fact, that neither Misek nor anyone outside Apple has any details on it (this according to Misek himself). The rush has begun to unearth the killer features of Apple's television, Misek writes (as quoted in AllThingsD). "Based on our discussions, interestingly other TV manufacturers have begun a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do...," said Misek, per ATD. "They hope to avoid the fate of other industries and manufacturers who were caught flat footed by Apple." Never again, say industries and manufacturers! We'll let you know when they (or we) find something out about Apple's television. Until then, satisfy yourself with Apple's potential entrance into scanning and recognizing your face...
It's your Crazy Apple Patent Of The Week! The website Patently Apple, which covers Apple patents, uncovered a patent that Apple secretly purchased from Swedish researchers that could give iOS devices the ability to scan and recognize your face. Patently Apple lists several possible applications for this patent, including a facial recognition-based security system, a use for MRI scans at hospitals and foreign object recognition for the military. None of these, you will note, are industries that Apple currently does much business in. From Patently Apple: Face recognition could be an effective way of identifying a person without their cooperation or knowledge. There are two main general problems associated with a face recognition system; identifying a person via images and verifying the identity of a person to certify that the person is who they claim to be. Apple's acquired patent states that it will be able to rectify the known short comings noted above and enable the creation of specific apps such as immigration ID-cards, passports, computer logon, intranet security, video surveillance and access systems. The present invention aims at increasing the performance and efficiency of such systems using geometric information available through the use of statistical shape models. Chew on that one! You may have heard that a certain Apple competitor in the mobile space is using facial recognition to unlock their phones in an upcoming release. Could Apple be following suit? For now, we have to say goodbye to This Week In Apple Rumors; for all the up-to-the-minute rumors on the way suggesting that your iPhone could be spying on your face as we speak, and much more on the iPad 3, iPhone 5, and iTV, follow me on Twitter.