While many in the iOSsphere are preordering the relentlessly familiar new iPhone 4S in record numbers, and standing in the rain to buy one today, many others simply wait. They know, they just know, that the iPhone 5 is out there. Calling to them.
Just like the mythical white iPhone did.
This week, hang onto those iPhone 5 cases, recycle your most-wanted lists, and just believe.
"There was supposed to be another phone." -- Jason Perlow, blogger, Tech Broiler, ZDNet.com
FIRST LOOK: Apple iPhone 4S
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iPhone 4 users are waiting for iPhone 5 because they want something DIFFERENT!
This is the latest, umm, idea from Beatweek's Bill Palmer. He acknowledges that the "iPhone 4S launch will of course be massive."
But. "But plenty of iPhone 4 users will opt to wait for the iPhone 5, despite not knowing a thing about it for sure," he opines.
What are they waiting for, you ask? Palmer asks that, too, and answers it. "For one thing, they want an iPhone that doesn't look exactly like the last three iPhones ..."
You remember them: the "white iPhone 4, Verizon iPhone 4, and original iPhone 4, marking the fourth time Apple has pushed a 'new' iPhone out the door which employed the iPhone 4 body shell." Well, when one puts it like that, it all does sound soooo repetitive, so boring. What possessed 40-plus million people to keep buying the darn thing?
Not to worry, at least, not too much. "The next iPhone ... will almost certainly have to look different than the 4S," Palmer declares. And why is that? "[B]ecause Apple will have gone to the well one too many times otherwise."
Hang on to that "iPhone 5 case" you bought.
Remember all those "leaked" iPhone 5 cases and prototypes cases? Created by an array of companies in the $436 million case market, they "proved" that iPhone 5 would have radical redesign: thinner, tapered, bigger screen.
Businessweek has the intriguing story of one of those case manufacturers, Hard Candy Cases, headed by a guy named Tim Hickman, who was "determined to get a jump on production" and on his rivals.
"After three separate manufacturing partners in China sent him detailed 3D models of an iPhone with a widened, pill-shaped "home" button and a slightly tapered back, Hickman decided to roll the dice," Businessweek reports. "He paid $50,000 to make steel moldings to mass-produce cases for the new design and, on the morning of Apple's announcement, began taking orders on his website. The gamble backfired: Apple's new iPhone 4S included no major changes to the exterior design. The home button remained circular. Hickman suddenly owned $50,000 worth of paperweights."
Hickman says he didn't pay for the iPhone 5 specs: They were supplied by Far East factories that want his business. He doesn't think the paperweights are entirely worthless. "[H]e surmises that his prep work could ultimately pay off, and that the erroneous design he bet on might turn up in a future Apple announcement, according to Businessweek. Sounding like a true iPhone 5 rumorista, Hickman explains why. "The data we got came from somewhere," he says.
Maybe it came from the iOSsphere.
We want what we want on the next iPhone: 15 new features, more or less.
"I have no choice but to go ahead and update this most-wanted list because, well, a lot of you are already looking past the 4S as you continue to hold out for the true iPhone 5," warns CNET's Dave Carnoy, rather ominously.
The good news is that because iPhone 4S did a few things right, like having a dual-core processor, his list drops from 20 to 15 items.
Although a close reading of the slideshow creates a dispiriting realization: that for many of them, there is "zero chance" of implementation. That would include such essentials as: micro-HDMI, a removable battery, expandable (and presumably removable) memory and Adobe Flash support. Almost as unlikely, are more memory, built-in inductive charging, biometric security and (at slightly better odds) near-field communications for all those "wave-the-phone" payments we've been yearning to make.
So what can you expect? Carnoy is betting on: improved graphics, an A6 processor, support for 4G/LTE, some kind of "new design" and maybe a larger screen.
Where have we heard all that before?
The iPhone 5 exists. Believe.
No one likes to admit he's wrong. And over at ZDNet's Tech Broiler blog, Jason Perlow doesn't.
It's true that in his blog post he admits, "Like many other members of the technorati, I thought a completely new product was going to be announced."
But that doesn't mean he was wrong.
He was expecting two new iPhones. "[I]t was a given that in addition to a completely new iPhone with a thin-profile design, there would also be a iPhone 4 refresh as well," he says.
But that doesn't mean he was wrong.
Heck, there's "actually a heck of a lot of evidence" to support his expectation. "Like all of the cases made by accessory makers in China that appeared in AT&T stores and also in stores all over Asia," he explains. (What would be the Third Law of Journalism -- "Where there's smoke, there's fire," or as Mr. Hickman put it, the information came from, you know, somewhere.)
"So ... what the heck happened?" Perlow asks. This is a rhetorical question. He actually has figured it out.
"Look, it doesn't make any sense to me that the anti-climactic 4S launch was 'The Plan,'" he explains. "There was supposed to be another phone."
So ... what the heck happened? "It just wasn't ready." You can tell he's been reading Beatweek, which, for weeks, has been pushing the same idea: The Great iPhone 5 was brought low by some incompetence on the part of Apple or, more likely, its manufacturing partners.
"Why it wasn't ready is anyone's guess," says Perlow, before giving his own guesses. "I've consulted a few folks that work in embedded device engineering and they suspect that because of how thin this phone is, the battery may not have yielded enough life to pass Steve Jobs' final QA."
So even though he was mistaken, he wasn't. "But I really doubt this is an aborted design," he says. "This phone is coming. That I'm sure of."
Take a deep breath and let this be your mantra, oh iOSsphere: "This phone is coming. Of that, I am sure."
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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