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Network World - The iOSsphere is buzzing this week as "evidence" surfaces of schematic drawings and photos of new iPhone cases for a new iPhone, a furtive photo of a commuter using an "amazing" device, facial recognition software with vast implications, and a report that Apple plans to become a weapons manufacturer.
Evidence is to rumors like wind is to sails: It fills them out and drives forward the ship of speculation.
"Rumors are like songbirds; they sound filling but make a poor feast." -- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, "People of the Nightland"
Third-party case schematics reveal big changes for iPhone 5.
A bigger screen, curved back and fewer buttons will define iPhone 5. Those claims, by U.K.-based MobileFun, are based on the site's analysis of a schematic of a new third-party iPhone case, from one manufacturer, and a picture of a mockup of a case from a second manufacturer.
IN PICTURES: Inside iOS 5
In comments, one wag summed up the resulting phone: "Wow it looks like ... an iPhone 3."
- The screen size is "extended considerably" from the current 3.5 inches to 4, by minimizing the bezel around it on all four sides, and extending the screen from edge to edge.
- The phone's rear panel curves around its edges, similar to the iPhone 3G. (Oddly, MobileFun extends this observation: "This likely means that the back will be metal, and could serve as a replacement for the iPhone 4's unique side antennae ..." That seems a stretch since making a curved metal rear case the antenna means the user's entire palm would be touching the antenna, not just his fingers.)
- In place of the current physical home screen button, there is a small, touch-sensitive oval area which takes up the middle half of the bottom border. "This area might be used for unique multi-touch gestures, given its increased size."
- Side buttons are shifted to the opposite side of the phone, with the lock button close to the camera, the volume buttons moved further toward the bottom.
MobileFun has a handy July 28 update at the bottom of its story, summarizing and linking to other news and technology sites that picked up on the story, adding assessment and insights of their own. CNET UK, for example, noted "that even with the expanded home button, it would be difficult to get more than a single finger in there, meaning that the gestures for that area are likely to be specialized one-finger gestures."
Another purported iPhone 5 case, a silicone sheath in a luscious shade of lime green and allegedly indicating a thinner model, was also posted by 9to5Mac.
We have found the iPhone 5.
Actually the 9to5Mac headline reads, "Have we found the iPhone 5?" but it's one of those rhetorical questions.
A "tipster" sent the website two grainy photos of a fellow commuter, apparently on a train, using a phone the tipster didn't recognize. Ergo, it must be the iPhone 5 or a prototype of it.
"Our tipster has had an iPhone 3GS and currently has an iPhone 4," 9to5Mac revealed, breathing heavily. "He knows his iPhones and iPods and this was like nothing he's ever seen."