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Rumor Roundup: Case not quite closed

The calendar pages are flipping away rapidly now that the Labor Day break is done; September 12th is right around the corner.

As is the way of such things, the wilder speculation and left-field rumors of the fallow months between product introductions gradually give way to the reality of shipping gadgets and actual features.

The closer we get to iPhone Day, the more concrete things get; we begin to see the bright line between "rumor" and "news" get fuzzy and soft. That's why this week's Roundup splits its focus between things we think we know, and things we know are fake.

German Carriers Receiving Nano SIMs (iFun.de, AppleInsider)

The tiny, controversial Nano SIM cards essential for the next-generation iPhone are reportedly showing up at Telekom stores in Germany. As Steve pointed out earlier today, these cards don't have a specific phone associated with them... yet.

The other interesting point in this story is that the carrier reps are supposedly also seeing a new 10-euro LTE plan add-on. Right now only one HTC handset is LTE-enabled for Telekom, so it's a fair bet that the next one on the list will be le iPhone nouveau (or, properly, iPhone 5).

Sharp Lagging On iPhone Displays (Reuters)

A source "familiar with operations" at the Japanese manufacturer told Reuters that production on screens for iPhone 5 is not keeping up with demand, and that the company's profit margins are being squeezed by the high costs of making the new screens.

While it's certainly possible that Sharp is running into issues with the newer, thinner in-cell screens that supposedly will front the iPhone 5, the other two manufacturers tasked with building the screens haven't yet said a peep about issues they might be having. In this case, since Apple will be building these widgets as fast as they possibly can, having 1/3 of the screen suppliers struggling to keep up isn't great, but it's not necessarily catastrophic.

Video Of Assembled iPhone Next-Gen Parts (MacOtakara, iLab Factory)

Proving again that the whole does not equal the sum of its parts, several Japanese sites posted videos of an assembled mockup built from leaked iPhone components. The mockup shows all the rumored features: longer screen, next-gen dock connector, two-tone back panel, and so forth.

If the parts are legit -- and at this stage in manufacturing, there's no reason to think they'd be fake -- then the assembly does give some sense of what the iPhone 5 will look like in hand.

iPhone 5 Dummy at IFA 2012 (iMore, GSM Israel News)

There's an iPhone at IFA! There's an iPhone at IFA!

Well, actually, there's not. What was showing up at the European trade show was a dummy iPhone that case makers are "confident" represents the dimensions of the next-gen device. According to the Italian site HDblog.it, similar "mockups" are readily available at retail in China. (Apparently the word "fake" means the same thing in Italian that it does in English.)

Nevertheless, the same deal as the Japanese parts assembly above: assuming that the pieces fit together as expected, this should be a reasonable proxy for the finished device. The Verge put together a video hands-on that shows the mockup next to an iPhone 4.

Video Shows Redesigned "iPhone 5" Headphones (Tinhte.vn via MacRumors & BGR)

Those are some seriously funky earbuds. Are your ears shaped that way? Mine aren't -- but then again, they're also not shaped like the original iPhone earbuds, which I find downright impossible to use.

If the Vietnamese site's pictures and video are accurate, Apple's next-gen earbits will be tapered and sleek. That's a pretty big "if," however. As BGR points out, the headphones as pictured lack an in-line remote control -- so they can't possibly be intended for an iPhone in their current build state.

iPhone Board Shows A6 CPU Branding (iMore)

Given that the ARM chips powering the iPhone and iPad are Apple's own to brand as it sees fit, there wouldn't be much surprise if the next phone carries an "A6" chip versus the A5X quad-core currently found in the Retina-equipped iPad. As iMore points out, the phone version doesn't need four cores, and if it's trying to run LTE it definitely doesn't need the battery drain of that class of CPU.

New iPad Model Identifiers Show Up In Logs (Marco.org)

Instapaper's head honcho believes he's spotted the telltale signs of the iPad micro in two model identifiers that appeared in his server logs. One would be the WiFi version, the other the LTE or 3G build. Although in theory they could be die shrinks or other modifications of existing models, that's not what Arment's gut tells him.

We know from past experience that these browser strings can be forged, but in this case it's plausible that the real devices are really hitting the Instapaper servers. Unfortunately, if the other rumors are true, that won't be confirmed for a month or so.

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