We usually save anonymously-sourced, totally unconfirmable Apple rumors for our weekly Apple rumors roundup; but when a likely iPhone 5 announcement date emerges along with the best-yet photos of the next-generation iPhone, you can't stand on ceremony.
iMore -- the Apple blog you might remember as the first to correctly predict the 'iPad 3' (Apple's New iPad) announcement and release date -- published a rumor piece late Sunday evening claiming that the iPhone 5 (or whatever it'll be called) and the iPad Mini (or whatever) will be announced at a small event on September 12, with release following on September 21.
Why is this news? Just last week, two separate blogs reported that September 21 would be the Big Day for the next iPhone. iMore's article, however, separates itself in a few key ways:
1. It also has an announcement date -- September 12 -- attached to it, which we have not heard yet.
2. The two blogs (PhoneArena and App4Phone) have empty track records when it comes to Apple rumor reportage, so we can't know how reliable their unnamed sources are. iMore's sources have been accurate in the past, especially when it comes to announcement and release dates.
3. iMore includes the iPad Mini in its report, which no other news site had yet done.
Recent reports from respected Apple sources like KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (one of the few financial analysts not to buy into the redesigned iPhone 5 hype last year) have strongly argued for a September release date for both the new iPhone and perhaps the iPad Mini, too; if iMore's dates aren't exactly correct, in other words, they are likely close to accurate. Another Apple site with strong credentials, iLounge, also has a report Monday morning claiming that the new iPhone will be released in the "third week of September."
iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz, however, does not necessarily agree with iMore's Rene Ritchie on the topic of the iPad Mini. Writes Horwitz:
The iPad mini will apparently not be ready to ship at the same time as the new iPhone, and might have its own debut event. Our source says that it could ship by November, which we noted would be really close to year’s end, during a month that typically doesn’t see new hardware releases from Apple; our source stood firm on the target date.
While the exact details of the announcement date and release date of the smaller, cheaper iPad (dubbed "iPad Mini" by an analyst about a year ago) remain mired in disagreement, it appears pundits with anonymous sources do agree on a release date for the next iPhone: The third week in September, perhaps on Friday September 21. The iPhone 4S was released on October 12, also a Friday.
As for the details of the so-called iPhone 5, we're still expecting the usual features: 4G LTE connectivity; a larger 4.0-inch screen, with a taller, thinner phone body; the headphone jack moved to the bottom of the phone; and a smaller dock connector. Up to now, we've seen a few good renderings and mock-ups of what that phone could look like; now, however, we have some gorgeous high-def photos, from the Japanese website iLab. These iPhones were apparently constructed from leaked parts assembled outside of a manufacturing plant, according to CydiaBlog:
If that's not enough for you, another Japanese Apple blog, Macotakara, has posted a new video to YouTube, showing what is allegedly the casing for the next iPhone. It gives a good multi-dimensional look at what might be the design of the upcoming, September-bound iPhone:
Does the two-tone, taller and thinner casing in this video and in these photos contain the look of the new iPhone, and will it be available for purchase on September 21? Given the consistency of leaks, and the provenance of iMore and iLounge, both scenarios are looking ever more likely.
Are you less than two months away from holding the new iPhone 5 in your own hands? Only Apple execs, and perhaps their spouses and/or lovers, know for sure, but two separate blogs this week reported that they had discovered the next iPhone's official release date. One of the blogs (App4Phone) is written in French, and the other (PhoneArena) is written in English; and though the two can't agree on a common language, they did come together on one thing: The iPhone 5 will be released on September 21. That's what they've heard, anyway. PhoneArena has claimed that September 21st is the day once before, and now they're confirming that date. The first time PhoneArena heard this rumor, their source was an accessory maker; this time, the source is "an employee working for a large U.S. retailer." (Because it has been in the news so often this week, I can only assume that the "large U.S. retailer" in question is, indeed, Chick-Fil-A). The Francophones at App4Phone, meanwhile, also have an "exclu," reporting that the "date de sortie" is September 21, while also corroborating earlier rumors that the dock connector will be smaller (the reputable Reuters confirmed that one this week, too), that the headphone jack will be "déplacée" to the bottom of the phone, and that the phone itself will be taller to accomodate a larger, 4.0-inch "écran." That last bit either means that the next iPhone will have a 4.0-inch screen, or that it will ship with a new, innovative 4-inch long "E-Crayon" stylus. I don't know, I don't speak French. (Bonus France joke: As a footnote, App4Phone is also reporting that, in France, the iPhone 5 will not be called the "iPhone 5" but will rather be called "iPhone 5 with Cheese." Either that, or "Jacques.") Could September 21 truly be the end to almost two years of iPhone 5 rumors? We've been hearing more and more that September, not October, will be the release month, so if it's not exactly September 21, that date could at least be close. Now we have even more evidence that September will indeed be the month. If you come with me to the next slide in this merry slideshow, you can learn why.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a Korean analyst with KGI Securities, is something of a celebrity in the Apple rumors circles, as he is the Apple analyst that has been the most accurate, BY A LONG SHOT, with his predictions. He called the iPhone 4S (and dismissed claims of a redesigned iPhone 5) last year, and recently he was the analyst who had all the details on the Retina MacBook Pro before it was unveiled. When Kuo talks, Apple watchers listen, in other words. This week he's back with a fresh, juice-filled report. For the next iPhone, Kuo predicts a launch in early September. Kuo also predicts an "iPad Mini" to debut some time that month, as well as a slightly tweaked iPad to address those pesky overheating issues from around the time the iPad 3new iPad was launched; a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro may also join the 15-inch model in September, Kuo says, and Ivy Bridge iMacs could be unveiled around that time, too. MacRumors has more details on Kuo's report here. Kuo didn't stop with the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, the MacBook Pro, and the iMac, however, because apparently in addition to all that Apple is going to introduce yet another new gadget later this year. No, it's not that egg-beater you've been hoping for, but rather...
And so here's the big reveal: Kuo also thinks that Apple is set to update its iPod line for the first time in two years. This could be the updated design we've been hearing about for some time now (corroborated by a Macotakara report from this week): A 4.0-inch screen and a squarish design that will mimic that of the supposed next-generation iPhone, as well as the faster A5 chip inside. A redesigned iPod Nano could be on the way as well, Kuo says. If you're in the market for an iPod, in other words, try sitting on your wallet for a couple months, just in case the analysts are right this time. You'll still be able to download Carly Rae Jepsen in October, I promise.
No, it has nothing to do with shiny new gadgets, but the biggest and most credible Apple rumor of the week may have concerned Apple's on-going buddy-buddy relationship with Twitter. The New York Times reported on Friday that Apple almost #ff'ed Twitter in a big way, investing up to $300 MILLION in the social network. That would have valued Twitter at $10 billion dollars, even though the company is expected to pull in just $300 million of ad revenue this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Also according to the Wall Street Journal: This Times report is old news. Hours after the NYT pubbed its article, the WSJ was out with a report of its own saying that the Apple-Twitter investment discussion happened over a year ago and were no longer ongoing, despite Apple and Twitter's close relationship (what with Twitter integration now appearing in iOS and OS X on the desktop). The Reuters followed with a story of its own saying the two were not, in fact, in discussions. At the end of its report, the Wall Street Journal finds the real story: Tim Cook, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, just enjoy chillin' out together and knockin' back some Zimas: At a media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, this month, Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, ducked aside with Messrs. Dorsey and Costolo, according to journalists who saw them, fueling buzz among investors that the companies appeared particularly cozy. Sorry, finance types, it's not a strategic investment. Costolo and Dorsey just needed a third for their Jonas Brothers tribute at the Sun Valley Conference Talent Show, and Tim Cook kind of looks like Kevin.
Remember earlier in July when it was discovered that Apple had been granted a patent for a Google Glasses-like system for a heads-up display set of tech-enabled spectacles? Of course you do, you take gingko biloba and have great memory! Well, Apple has been granted another patent, and this one comes with some pretty, pretty goofy drawings, of what appears to be a man wearing a cereal bowl over his head with an Asthma inhaler clipped behind his right ear. The patent itself is -- in the words of Patently Apple -- "one of the driest reads of the year" and covers a system by which Apple could make that tiny monitor that sits in front of your eyeball a Retina-quality display. And then we all made really funny jokes about your actual retina vis-à-vis a Retina display and had a great, great time together. Let's get drinks some time. Before we do, however, let's just note the significance of the patent: Apple is certainly working on some kind of Google Glass competitor -- yes, I will be calling them iGlasses until someone official tells me not to -- and has been for some time (the first patent, remember, was granted way back in 2007). Should Google Glass turn out a smash success, Apple won't be totally flat-footed, in other words. That's all for This Week In Apple Rumors. Make sure you check back for next week's TWIAR, which I will type while wearing a cereal bowl and clip-on Asthma inhaler on and about my forehead. And if you can't wait one week, remember that you can always get up-to-the-minute Apple rumors by following me on Twitter right here.