iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending July 30

Apple iPad 5 rumor include: Fingerprint match, fan art, GoFigure2 displays

Delving into the depths of the iOS 7 beta code revealed that, finally at last thank heavens, Apple really and truly will bring a FingerPrint Sensor to iPad 5 as well as iPhone 6.

Users will be able to lock and unlock their device by pressing their thumb pad against the home button with an embedded scanner. And what a wonder that will be.

Also this week: “mock-ups” of the Next iPad based on previously disclosed but unsubstantiated “schematics;” and more assurances that iPad 5 will use a glass-film display such as the one used on the current iPad mini.

You read it here second.

Here you’ll find the iPad 5th generation mock-up (we can’t be clear enough at this point that this isn’t the real deal, it’s just an artist rendering) to take on a form not unlike the iPad mini.

— Chris Burns, Slashgear, who clearly can’t seem to make up his mind whether the phony deal he’s presenting – a 3D illustration of iPad 5 based on purportedly leaked schematic drawings -- is something his audience should read or not.

iPad 5 will have fingerprint sensor in home button

The latest beta release of Apple’s iOS 7 firmware has revealed what many believe is conclusive evidence that the next iPad, and iPhone, will incorporate a fingerprint sensor into the device’s home button.

Which is a profound disappointment for those who have clung and no doubt still cling to the conviction that Apple must or should eliminate the home button entirely.

[IPHONEYS: The iPhone 6 edition]

The evidence is some code strings in the beta software, sent to 9to5Mac, and then posted via Twitter, by Hamza Sood @hamzasood who found them in the beta 4 release of iOS 7. Marc Gurman posted the information at 9to5Mac

You can find the full details in our coverage, “Latest iOS 7 beta reveals possible fingerprint sensor for iDevices.” 

A separate source told Gurman that the “user-interface for the fingerprint scanning system has been complete[d]. This person also says that the technology is focused around unlocking the phone, so it is unclear if it is built for a payment system (as rumored) in the next iPhone.”

The fingerprint scanner has been enthusiastically predicted for at least 12 months, ever since Apple acquired Florida-based AuthenTec in July 2012 for $326 million. The company specialized in a range of mobile security products and technologies apart from, and in tandem with, its fingerprint scanner. The real question, to which Gurman alluded, is whether Apple intends the scanner mainly as a device lock or as the foundation for a range of new or expanded secure services in the future, including mobile payments.

iPad 5 revealed by fan artist working with “leaked” – rumored – specifications

Slashgear’s Chris Burns is excited, because the iPad 5 “appears to be aiming for a whole new form factor.”

“What we’re seeing this afternoon is a series of mock-ups of this new device based on previous specification sheets leaked several weeks ago,” he reveals to his readers. “In short – this device is not just short, but thin and a bit smaller around the edges, too.”

The “mock-ups” or more accurately fan art are based on purported iPad 5 “schematics” first published by the French techsite NoWhereElse. The Google Translate version of that post is here

So, to be clear, this post is about drawings that may or may not be genuine, used by a fan artist, to create what he thinks a finished iPad 5 will look like, if it was made according to the drawings.

Burns doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea, though. In a parenthetical aside he assures readers that “we can’t be clear enough at this point that this isn’t the real deal, it’s just an artist rendering.”

But still, “Here you’ll find the iPad 5th generation mock-up…to take on a form not unlike the iPad mini. Its edges are rounder than its predecessor, its body is significantly smaller in both height and width, and it seems to be a bit thinner, as well.”

Here’s one of the drawings featured in this revealing Slashgear post, showing how the iPad mini-like iPad 5 rear end compares with the iPad 4 rear end.

The fan art is by Martin Hajek, who, judging from his website, has a full-time unpaid job creating 3D renderings of non-existent products. As he himself says, “I make 3D models and render these up quite nicely. With many years of 3D design experience I can even predict what Apple's newest iPhone will look like - just give me a few leaked pictures, a lot of coffee, add some patience and off you go!”

iPad 5 will have GF2 IMHO OMG technology

A seven-paragraph DigiTimes post on iPad 5’s display technology recycled long-standing rumors and triggered another reflexive wave of repostings in the iOSphere. As usual neither DigiTimes nor the reposters bothered to decipher the alphabet soup of acronyms that plague tech rumoring.

GF2 could stand for “Go Figure 2” based on the lack of information in repostings at places like PhoneArena and iDownloadBlog

In fact, Apple’s iPad mini shifted from the glass-on-glass structure still used in the full-sized iPad to a glass-film structure, eliminating one layer of glass and creating a lighter and thinner panel.

The original DigiTimes post that stirred all this up again is now behind a paywall, but is accessible via Google’s cache

DigiTimes essentially repeated a post it’s made before – that the iPad 5 will use glass-film technology, and be thinner and lighter as a result.

The touch panel technology itself, according to DigiTimes’ anonymous sources, will come from two suppliers, General Interface Solution (GIS), a touch-panel subsidiary of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, and Taiwan’s TPK (for more background on TPK and its founder, you can check out this May 2012 Forbes profile). The final Retina displays for both iPhone 5 and iPhone mini 2, according to the post, will be supplied by LG Display, Samsung Display and Sharp.

The GF stuff was covered by The Rollup back in February, with an attempt to unpack some of the acronyms. Essentially, it’s one of a range of improvements and new technologies that the display industry is developing. The result is screens that are thinner and lighter, use less power, are more readable in bright sunlight, and offer improved resolution and optical qualities; and do so cost-effectively for the screen sizes required by the likes of Apple and Samsung.

But this DigiTimes post adds something new. “Additionally, Apple is reportedly still choosing whether to use oxide TFT or LTPS backplane technology in its next-generation iPad mini,” according to DigiTimes’ sources. “The sources said that Sharp is looking to provide Apple with Oxide TFT technology while LG and Samsung are leaning towards LTPS, as the Korea-based companies believe using oxide TFT does not result in significantly less power consumption.”

According to the post, Apple is still dickering with LG about pricing, and Samsung “does not have a significant amount of capacity for oxide TFT.”

To The Rollup, without any direct knowledge of the complexities of Apple’s supply chain, these seem to be fairly big uncertainties for products that are supposed to reach mass production volumes in a few weeks and be released in September or October.

What confidence one may put in DigiTimes’ sources is put to the test reading this: “The sources revealed that Apple has had an internal debate on whether to use Retina display technology in its next-generation iPad mini because it is afraid the device may take away sales from the iPad.”

There may be, and frankly we hope there is, an internal debate about putting a Retina display on the iPad mini 2. But the idea that Apple might not do so in order to protect sales of the full-sized iPad is just dumb. “We’re not going to improve the iPad mini because then more people will buy it.”

iPad 5 will drive marketing shift to in-cell display technology

Another DigiTimes post (now behind a paywall) was the basis for a reposting wave that declared iPad 5 will spur the industry adoption of “in-cell display technology.”

One example is James Cull’s MacRumors post on this topic. But the post’s headline – “Apple's iPad 5 Set to Continue Driving Market Shift Toward In-Cell Display Technology” – actually gets the substance wrong: in-cell displays are used by iPhone 5, while the iPad is making use of glass-film displays.

“Digitimes reports that the adoption of new touch-sensor systems in both the iPhone 5 and iPad has caused a notable shift in the supply chain of the touch panel market, according to research carried out by the firm DisplaySearch,” Cull writes, and in that, he’s correct.

He also reveals that both posts are based on a press release from NPD DisplaySearch. Why didn’t anyone just say that, and link to it? Here it is.]

Essentially DisplaySearch says that Apple’s adoption of in-cell technology for the iPhone 5 display and of glass-film technology for the iPad – two different things -- is boosting shipments of both.

Doh.

But in fact all the device makers are moving in the same direction: making use of the advances (see previous section) that create lighter, thinner displays that use less power and have better optics, and are more economical to produce in large numbers.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwjohn_cox@nww.com

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