iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Sept. 25

The rainbow tablet, price expectations, MS Office, stolen goods

With the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 widely expected next month, the iOSphere still isn't willing to admit that it doesn't know anything about what will be in them, apart from iOS 7. Perhaps that's why colors and pseudo-analysis loomed large in the past week.

New photos revealed rear housings in space gray and silver; one analysis concluded that Apple will price the next iPads just like it prices the current iPads; another post breathlessly assured us of rumors and hints that Microsoft Office would come to the iPad because, as it turns out, Microsoft said it plans to do that. And some guy in a YouTube video brandished Next iPad components, blissfully unaware that they could only have been stolen by someone far down the supply chain.

Yesterday I showed you some components from what will be the next generation iPad, or the iPad 5 if you want to call it that. But those are not the only components I received. I also got this [brandishing a smaller rear housing] right here, and if you can’t tell already, this is the backplate for what will be the next generation of iPad mini.

— Lou, of Unbox Therapy, apparently happily unaware that he has, in effect, admitted in a public YouTube video to receiving property that was stolen from Apple or one its suppliers

iPad 5 will be available in new colors, if space gray and silver are colors

Down Under Leak Star Sonny Dickson posted new photos of what he says are the iPad 5, in two new colors, space gray and silver.

So far, no sign of champagne gold.

Dickson’s misleading headline is “Hands-On With the iPad 5 in Space Gray And Silver!” 

The reason it’s misleading is that he apparently doesn’t actually have the components in his hands, which would explain the lack of details in his post, including even something as basic as measuring the cases’ dimensions.

Dickson was interviewed earlier this month by Reuters, which must have been a real boost for a teen-aged ego. He told the news service that he has “five to 10 sources in China who buy Apple prototype parts directly from factory-line workers, which are then sold from $250 to $500.”

Astoundingly, Reuters didn’t press him about the implications of that statement, which at first blush sounds like a straight-forward business transaction. Like walking into a Chinese “Prototype Depot” and buying two iPad 5 rear housing prototypes, and getting one free. Except that what he’s actually saying is “My sources bribe factory workers to turn over equipment that they steal, either from their employer or from Apple.”

It’s still unclear whether Dickson any longer physically receives any of these components. According the Reuters story, his sources now only send Dickson “photos and videos of the parts, which are posted under his name on his website and YouTube channel, which generate ad revenue.” The Rollup doesn’t pretend to know anything about Chinese or Australian law but it’s at least interesting to wonder if any statutes are relevant to profiting from stolen property that Dickson is careful to not actually receive himself.

Dickson tells Reuters that he spends “12 hours a day maintaining his website,” and he earned about $1,850 (U.S.) from online ads when his August web traffic jumped to over a million hits. The income helps to finance his “penchant for luxury accessories such as watches that pepper his photos on the online Instagram service.”

The most recent post of the purported rear housings for iPad 5 simply consists of images, without any explanation or details. Sure enough, they show space gray and silver.

9to5Mac last week referenced photos from the French site, NowhereElse, allegedly showing a space gray iPad mini 2

iPad 5, iPad mini 2 price “expectations” are…what you’d expect

The linkbait site, PhonesReview, posted a pseudo-analysis of the “price expectations” surrounding iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.

Essentially, after a bunch of blather for padding, the post summarized prices for the current models, which vary based on storage and cellular radio options.

And then it reached this conclusion: “Although nothing is set in stone, we don’t expect the iPad 5 and mini 2 to increase from these pricings. Even if the prices do go up we don’t anticipate any more than slight increases.”

In other words, PhonesReview thinks it’s pretty likely Apple will price the next iPads just like it has priced the earlier iPads (and the iPhones for that matter) because…that’s how Apple has priced them in the past.

Expect, and it shall be given to you.

iPad 5 targeted by Microsoft with iOS version of Office

This could be biggest thing since the Windows Surface RT tablet, which is most notable for leading to a $900 million write-off and the early retirement of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In any case, International Business Times seems to think this is big, devoting a post by Sachin Trivedi to the question of “iPad 5: Will the New Apple Tablet Come with Microsoft Office App?” 

“There are rumours making the rounds online that Microsoft is preparing to launch the MS Office for tablet devices of Apple, like the much-anticipated iPad 5,” Trivedi reveals.

What could be the basis for these rumors? Oddly, it turns out to be Microsoft itself. Because Ballmer and another executive spoke at last week’s financial analysts’ conference call. (Full transcript is online at SeekingAlpha.)    

Ballmer “was not specific about bringing the software to tablet devices like the iPad 5,” according to Trevidi. But “hints and indications were strong” from another executive, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, who “is reported to have said that a key focus area for the company is to bring ‘Office mobile experience’ to iOS and Android platforms.”

In fact, here’s the relevant Turner quote from the transcript: “The two key areas that we are going to focus on, on mobility first and foremost is around productivity. We are really driving for the best Office Mobile experience across all platforms. And we want to provide a great experience on both iOS and Android phones. And when you think about what we have done, we now have Office Mobile for iPhone in the Apple app store.”

Well. Gosh. No wonder there are strong hints, indications and rumors about Microsoft bringing Office to iOS and Android platforms. Because Turner said that’s what they’re doing, at least with Office Mobile.

“Will the Office be available on the iPad 5? If so, can Microsoft afford to offer it for free to capture some market share? It remains to be seen what exactly the strategy of the company is going to be,” Trevidi concludes.

In other words, the answer to the question “Will the New Apple Tablet Come with Microsoft Office App?” is “I have no idea.”

iPad 5, iPad mini rear housings revealed in video

It’s unusual to see a YouTube video that begins, in effect, with “I’m going to show you some stolen property that I recently received.”

But that seems to be what “Lou,” of Unbox Therapy, a “show dedicated to product-based video coverage,” means as he introduces this YouTube video in which he waves around two rear housings purporting to be that of the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.

“Yesterday I showed you some components from what will be the next generation iPad, or the iPad 5 if you want to call it that,” he cheerfully informs his audience. “But those are not the only components I received. I also got this [brandishing a smaller rear housing] right here, and if you can’t tell already, this is the backplate for what will be the next generation of iPad mini.”

As we noted above, in “iPad 5 will be available in new colors, if space gray and silver are colors,” these kinds of components are not being sold on the open market by either Apple or the various suppliers who manufacture and assemble them. The only way one can “receive” them is if someone else has stolen them and then given them or sold them to someone else.

Lou compares the purported next-generation iPad and iPad mini with each other and with the current models. And he actually uses a tape measure to reveal dimensions (unfortunately in centimeters, requiring some translation effort on the part of those who are metrically challenged).

Lou says the next iPad 5 will be “closer” in size to the next iPad mini, but misses the point that the screen sizes for both presumably will remain the same as the current models. Apple may be making the iPad 5’s body less wide, and possibly thinner, but keeping the same display dimensions.

Intriguingly, Lou thanks Sonny Dickson for helping him make the video. Maybe the young Australian entrepreneur with a penchant for luxury items also will help Lou with any legal bills if the cops come asking about exactly how Lou received those iPad components.

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

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