iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending September 3

Apple iPad scuttlebutt: iPad back panel, September launch and no-launch all confirmed'

The iOSphere equivalent of food-binging on potato chips is picture-binging on iPad front and rear housings. This week the binge binges on.

Still more photos purporting to be of the iPad 5 rear housing emerge. They “confirm” that the next iPad will indeed have a rear housing. One made of aluminum.

Also this week, new rumors that “confirm” the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will not be announced in September. And new rumors that “confirm” it will be. There is evidence and reasoning, though both fall somewhat short in the grand scheme of credibility.

You read it here second.

We’re not quite sure what else Apple has in store for this new iPad.

— Todd Haselton, TechnoBuffalo, unintentionally summarizing the iOSphere’s complete lack of any consensus about iPad 5 beyond “it will look more like iPad mini” and “it will be announced in the fall.”

iPad 5 will have a back panel, photos prove

And they also “prove” that it will look like the iPad mini – with rounded sides and a front display “frame” or bezel that has narrower sides.

The newest photos, like nearly all of the other recent ones, were posted by Australian blogger Sonny Dickson. In an email to Network World, Dickson says he receives actual parts and then has them photographed. As usual in his posts, he gives no explanation about the components’ provenance, or whether he even knows their provenance himself.

[IPHONEYS: The iPhone 6 & 5S edition]

Sites like TechnoBuffalo dutifully took note, and reiterated, in the words of Todd Haselton, that the new photos “show off a similar design to the iPad mini.” Here’s one from the new batch

“We’re not quite sure what else Apple has in store for this new iPad,” Haselton confessed, with refreshing honesty. And looking again at Dickson’s posts, it’s apparent that we know even less than we think.

Dickson rarely comments on the photos: most of his posts are simply the photographs themselves and a headline, sometimes arranged in a gallery or slideshow.

What’s missing in information that he could provide: based on a quick review, The Rollup couldn’t find any Dickson post that mentions the dimensions of the either the “iPad 5” or the “iPad mini 2.” It’s an odd gap since he could simply measure the front and rear casings himself.

In the new post, Dickson says the latest photos and the recent front-panel photos together provide a great deal of perspective on what we can expect from the next iPad – namely a much thinner iPad mini-like design.” We could get even better perspective if he’d just whip out a tape measure.

Also missing is a side-by-side comparison of these purported next iPads with the current models: a simple step that would let readers instantly make comparisons. One recent post is headlined “iPad Mini 2 and iPad 5 Rear Shells Pictured Side-By-Side” which suggests at least a comparison between the two upcoming models. Dickson makes that explicit: “You’ve no doubt already seen our leaked rear shells for both the iPad mini and 5th-gen iPad, and our exclusive images of the iPad 5 front panel. So, how can we make this even better? By comparing them side-by-side in high quality images, of course!”

Yet even here, Dickson doesn’t actually put both models into the same photo. Instead he has a series of iPad 5 pictures on the same webpage as a series of iPad mini 2 photos. No true side by side comparison is actually possible.

So some of the very few things that we could know about the Next iPads, if one assumes these are authentic parts, we can’t know. Until Dickson gets his hands on a ruler.

“I will be soon,” he promises in his email.

iPad 5 Not Launching Early September

“Possibly the biggest question in the tablet world today is ‘When will Apple introduce the iPad 5?’”, writes Ed Hardy at TabletPCReview.

It’s a biggie for sure. It takes a while to realize that Hardy can’t answer it.

Hardy’s post late last week noted Clashing Predictions in the iOSphere: a Bloomberg story saying Apple will announce the iPad on Sept. 10 with the new iPhones, but others saying, “nope.” [Apple this week officially issued media invitations to a Sept. 10 event at the company’s headquarters.]

But Hardy is an optimist. “No Evidence Is Good Evidence,” a subhead reassures his readers.

Here’s the reasoning for what he calls “indirect evidence.” He doesn’t explain the relationship between indirect evidence and no evidence.

“There is some indirect evidence to support the premise that the iPad 5 is still some weeks away,” he writes. “Apple's next-generation smartphones are rumored to be unveiled in just 12 days, and numerous images of fully-assembled iPhone 5S units have leaked out. However, there have been no images of assembled iPad 5 units.”

Actually, The Rollup doesn’t recall any pictures, except the ever present fan art, of “fully-assembled” iPhone 5S models. But there are, after all, so many pictures and the Internet is a big place.

According to Hardy, “a lack of images of the full device could mean that the iPad 5 is still a good ways away from release -- farther away than the debut of the next iPhone.”

There you have it: it’s a kind of iOSphere Doppler Effect: as the announcement date nears, more photos of the product to be announced appear. It all makes sense…if you have a very elastic idea of what “sense” means.

iPad 5 will be released in September

Talk about deja vu all over again. International Business Times cites not just indirect evidence and no evidence but, you know, evidence. Based not just on that Bloomberg story but “many reports.”

The intrepid Kristin Dian Mariano gives her readers five reasons why iPad 5 will be released in September. She, like so many others, doesn’t make clear whether “release” and “announcement” are the same thing.

Mariano begins her post with phrasing eerily similar to that of Ed Hardy.

“The iPad 5 release date is one of the most anticipated launches this year and many reports claimed that it will happen on September 10,” she writes.

It’s a biggie for sure.

Here are her Fab Five Reasons: retailers are busily discounting current iPads; iOS 7 is due to be released really soon; rivals like Samsung are planning September announcements and Apple “will most likely counter the hype” with its own; and, finally, Tim Cook earlier this year said "amazing" new products are coming "this fall and throughout 2014."

Obviously, this all adds up to much, much less than it first appears. And all of them actually hinge on Cook’s revelation that new product introductions would start again this fall, about a year after the iPhone 5, iPad mini, and iPad fourth-generation were announced.

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

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