iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Aug. 10

Pin proof, MagSafe mania, cases before the phone, ennui

How many pins can dance on the end of an iPhone? The iOSsphere darkened with crisscrossing claims of 8, 9, 18, 19, and debated whether they'll be incorporated in a MagSafe port.

Also this week, the French-Chinese Leak Connection leaked a rising flood of component images and iOS 6 was mined for tantalizing clues to iPhone 5 features.

You read it here second.

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"These cases are likely designed based on the same iPhone 5 leaks and rumors we report. So it's no shock that they match most of the rumors."

~ Josh Smith, GottaBeMobile, unintentionally describing the self-reinforcing and self-deluding nature of iPhone rumoring

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iPhone 5 connector dock will have nine (9) pins

9to5Mac has added an authoritative voice to the intense iOSphere debate over the question of "how many pins can dance on the end of an iPhone?"

The answer, according to Mark Gurman, is nine.

"At this point, it seems highly likely that the next-generation of Apple's iOS devices will carry smaller dock connectors," he confidently assures his readers. "However, the exact size and amount of pins has been up in the air."

It now comes down to Earth. "However, today, we discovered a possible reference to a 9-pin dock connector in the iOS 6 beta [code]," Gurman reveals. "The reference comes as a new iOS hardware feature called "9Pin," so we're assuming this has to do with the dock connector. Obviously, there is no way to be 100% about this."

Needless to say, that will not stop many people from being 150% about this.

Here's what 9t05Mac found: 00002d9c t_copyDeviceSupports9Pin. And here's the screen shot with the tantalizing 9Pin reference. 

"Of course, this is only a single iOS-based reference, and Apple's plans for pin-formations could change at any time." Of course, if the phone is going to be announced on Sept. 12, there aren't going to be changes in the pin formations, or in anything else.

iPhone 5 will have the teensy dock, and it will be a new MagSafe connection

CultofMac.com was thrilled to relate that "leaked" photos showed a comparison between the bottom edges of the iPhone 4S and the upcoming iPhone 5.

And among other things, that means the photos show or confirm that iPhone 5 will have a really teensy dock connector (see prior rumor), possibly in the form of a modified MagSafe connector to support both power and data.

"Leaked photos have depicted a micro dock that could very well consist of only 7-9 pins," writer Alex Heath announced. The photos came from the French site Nowehereelse.fr, which actually got at least some of them from a post in Taiwan's AppleDaily.

A "leak" in traditional journalism parlance is an act committed by someone with insider knowledge, and with insider motives, on a reporter who's more than willing to be leaked upon, but in theory at least thoroughly considers the leaker's motives. That doesn't happen so much in the iOSphere, where "leak" means "an unsourced photo, or something made to look like a photo, that I've never seen before."

That's enough for Tapscape, for example, which took the same photos noted by CultOfMac, reiterated the same unfounded Consenus Rumor Estimate, and had the audacity to run the result under the bold headline "iPhone 5 Features In-Depth: The New Mini Dock.

Heath focuses on one picture in particular from Nowehereelse.fr which shows the bottom edges of the pressed together iPhone 4S and the Mystery Phone. The "dock connector pic is the best quality we've seen so far," he assures us, apparently fully prepared to accept the French language posting at face value. How anyone in the Age of Adobe Photoshop could write that with a straight face is a modern wonder.

Heath says the photo shows a "surprise" - a metal ring surrounding the connection port, which to Heath looks rather, kind of, somewhat like the MagSafe port on Apple's computers. MagSafe is the proprietary Apple power connection, which uses magnets to hold the cord to the device so it will break apart easily if someone accidentally hits the cord. It was updated recently on some new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Mag nuts have predicted for months that Apple will bring it to iPhone.

Not everyone buys this. The headline at iPhone5NewsBlog reads, "The Fakest-Looking Part Of The Purported iPhone 5." Which, to us, is another way of saying "The Fakest-looking Part Of The Fake iPhone 5."

Editor Michael Nace says "If the glimpses of the purported iPhone 5 units that we've seen thus far are all fakes, then they are the best fakes we've seen to date." But he thinks the bottom of the revealed iPhone 5 "looks really off." He uses a rendering of a pretend iPhone 5 originally created by Bryce Haymond, a freelance designer operating as Blackpool Creative in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Haymond released updated fake images in June. 

"The bottom of these iPhone 5 units, to me, look[s] really 'off,'" Nace says. And this isn't just a gut feeling, he says: there are cold hard facts, or more precisely, cold hard rhetorical questions, to back it up.

For one thing, the "gaping hole" of the iPhone 5 port depicted in all these pictures looks nothing like the MagSafe port on the MacBooks, Nace says. And that headphone jack on the bottom? Not gonna happen. "Does it not seem rather odd that Apple would move it from top to the bottom?" Finally, there is the fact of having more speaker perforations on one side than the other. "I get it — the presence of the headphone jack reduces the left hand number of holes to only five," Nace writes. "But does Apple do asymmetry like this?"

If you're going to asymmetry at least do it elegantly. "The asymmetrical, clumsy look of the speaker array on this model is homely by Apple's standards."

Perhaps the best commentary, which unintentionally reveals how irrelevant iOSphere rumors actually are, is by a reader with the handle cosmin, who added a comment to Nace's post: "i still belive that this is the real thing.i dont know why,but i am pretty sure that this is the new iPhone."

Just believe. The Code of the iOSsphere.

iPhone 5 will fit these just-revealed Chinese protective cases

The Rollup is not ashamed to admit that GottaBeMobile's Josh Smith had us going there for a second or two.

When we read "iPhone 5 Cases Ready to Ship from China (Photos)," the first thought was "A-hah! The smoking gun...or...case!" We thought Smith was talking about the Next iPhone's actual body. You know, the case.

But that's not the case.

As you read on in Smith's post it becomes clear he's referring to third-party protective cases that you slip over The Precious in order to protect it. But it sounded promising, as he assures us that "Chinese manufacturers are gearing up," and they sent him photos to prove it.

"These aren't the first iPhone 5 cases we've seen, but it is the largest variety of cases," Smith writes.

We're not sure what that means, exactly. Maybe he thinks there are SO MANY cases from this company that it must be right.

This being the iOSphere, with information from China, Smith plunges in to read the tea leaves. "Chinese manufacturers [of iPhone accessories] are preparing for a taller thinner iPhone, and the hard cases show they think the sides will stay flat like the iPhone 4S."

Not to mention, "The rear of these new cases show what appears to be a wider camera opening, which may accommodate[sic] the rumored rear facing microphone." Finally, the base of the case shows an "opening for a small dock connector," a reference to the ever-shrinking dock connector.

And then, there's this: "These cases are likely designed based on the same iPhone 5 leaks and rumors we report," Smith notes, blithely. "So it's no shock that they match most of the rumors."

No shock at all. Rumor sites "report" what unnamed sources in the Asian supply chain tell them; manufacturers read rumors; manufactures build products based on rumors, and send them to rumor sites; rumor sites accept products as new evidence the rumors are true; new post by rumor site is read by other manufacturers who...well, you get the idea. It's the iOSsphere equivalent of photosynthesis.

iPhone 5 will have taller but not wider screen: more proof

In a separate 9to5Mac post, Gurman also has more "proof" - again culled from the iOS 6 beta code - that iPhone 5 will have 3.999-inch diagonal screen, and resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, compared to 3.5 inches and 640 x 960 for the current iPhone 4S.

The increase would yield an aspect ratio of almost exactly 16:9, and maintain something close to the 326-pixels-per-inch density of Apple's Retina Display technology.

"Thanks to some tweaks to the iOS Simulator application that is included in the iOS development tools, we were able to run the simulator at the rumored next-generation iPhone display resolution of 640 x 1136," he reveals. "The iOS 5.1 simulator displayed the home screen with a stretched set of four rows of icons. On the other hand, iOS 6 displayed five complete rows - as our sources said Apple was testing for taller iPhone displays."

"This proves that the upcoming release of iOS 6, which will obviously come pre-loaded on the new iPhone, is well-aware of taller iPhone displays," Gurman says. Though he adds that "this is not exactly definitive proof that Apple will go with this resolution and screen size." Nevetheless, "we think that we have proof that the next iPhone's operating system is definitely aware and supportive of the rumored, taller screen."

iPhone 5 will have different but unexciting new stuff

It was big week for the French-Chinese Leak Connection. The French site NowhereElse also showed photos, originally posted at the Chinese online forum iColorOS, new "leaked" parts of the Next iPhone. That post was picked up by, among many others, GottaBeMobile.

It was a cornucopia of components, notes Shawn Ingram. "The parts show the glass front piece, nano-SIM tray, home button, volume buttons, sensors, and the protection piece for the back of the screen," he summarized. "The glass front panel definitely looks like all the previous leaks we've seen, as does the tray for the new nano-SIM and the home button."

"This is the first time we've seen the rest of these pieces. They look like they will fit neatly into the assembled parts we've seen already." Anyone can tell that, just by eyeballing the photo.

Despite the Leaked! Photos!, Ingram expresses something dangerously close to boredom. "While it is interesting to see more parts of the new iPhone, none of these other internal parts are particularly groundbreaking," he wrote. "Their presence does seem to confirm the smaller home button and nano-SIM tray, but otherwise these parts aren't particularly exciting."

If Leaked! Photos! Aren't exciting, what is the iOSphere coming to? Could we be staring at the Apploclypse - the pending announcement of the dreaded iPhone 4S+?

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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