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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Sept. 9

Inventories of Apple iPhone 4 smartphones, carrier promotions and fake iPhone 5 documents, plus third-party cases and a magic number of 27 million

By , Network World
September 09, 2011 02:05 PM ET
iPhone rumors

Network World - President Barack Obama's jobs speech this week might have been better received if he kept repeating, "Release this iPhone right away!" The iOSsphere this week seized on iPhone 4 inventory levels, carrier promotional documents, third-party phone cases, and reports of plans to build 27 million Next iPhones by January to reassure itself that The Wait is nearing an end.

This week: speculation that the "iPhone 5" is really a redesigned iPod Touch with a 3G data option, and a photograph not of the iPhone 5 but taken by the iPhone 5.

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You read it here second.

"It's all so very confusing." -- Charlie Sorrel, Wired.com's Gadget Lab

The "iPhone 5" is actually the "iPad Nano."

That's how Charlie Sorrel, at Wired's Gadget Lab, sorts out the persistent, and persistently confusing, rumors that variously portray the Next iPhone as 1) having a bigger screen, smaller bezel, thinner case, and 2) as just a tweak of the current iPhone 4 by adding a more powerful CPU, and 3) as being a cheaper, smaller, prepaid phone.

Unfortunately, Sorrel's post adds considerably to the confusion. He alternates using the terms "iPad Touch" and "iPod Touch" and "iPad Nano." He asks, "What if [these rumors] are instead mixing up an iPhone 4S (faster A5 chip, better camera) and a replacement for the iPad Touch -- an iPad Nano, if you will?"

There is of course currently no "iPad Touch." The iPad is Apple's large-format tablet. The iPod Touch is the Wi-Fi-only mobile device that closely resembles the iPhone, but lacks a 3G cellular radio. The iPod Nano is the newest design for Apple's popular music player: now a small square with multi-touch screen.

What Sorrel seems to be saying is, "What if Apple plans the Next iPhone as a beefed-up, prepaid iPhone 4, which we can call iPhone 4S? And also a larger-screened version of the iPod Touch that includes a 3G option, similar to that found in some iPad models, which we can call the iPad Nano?"

The current iPod Touch is "fantastic" he says, but lacks the always-on cellular link of the iPhone. Which is fine with Touch users because they "don't want a cellphone contract. If they did, they'd buy an iPhone."

But Apple could create new iPod models, one with only Wi-Fi, another with Wi-Fi and 3G (and GPS) and all of them, with bigger, 4-inch screens. They can use data-only communications alternatives like Apple's FaceTime video chat and iMessage as replacements for voice calls, and select just a monthly data plan that makes sense for their budget, without being tied into a two-year carrier contract. (Sorrel notes that FaceTime doesn't currently run over 3G but many expect that to change with the release of iOS 5 in the coming weeks.)

Refreshingly, he freely admits "this post is pure speculation." But it is, for a change, intriguing speculation.

iPhone 5 "launches" first week of October, and Sprint will have it.

BoyGeniusReport has a picture of what it says is a Best Buy internal document, which shows, according to BGR's headline, "Best Buy anticipating iPhone 5 for Sprint, preorders starting next month."

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