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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Sept. 30

By , Network World
September 30, 2011 12:43 PM ET
iPhone rumors

Network World - After months and months, the iOSsphere has exploded with an iPhone 5 rumor that finally is worthy of the name. The pedestrian predictions of a dual-core processor and more memory and the labored explanations of why a tear-drop profile and marginally larger screen are a "radical" redesign pale in comparison to a Revolutionary Voice Interface, or RVI.

Other Apple rumor developments: The Date passes beyond rumor to fact; iPhone 5 might have 4G after all, depending on how you define it; Pent Up Demand, out of control-ness, and buying frenzy ahead.

You read it here second.

"The missing [iPhone 5] prototype is said to have been enclosed in a case to disguise it as a current-generation iPhone 4....How Apple applied that with the iPhone 5 supposedly wider and longer than the current iPhone 4 is a point to ponder."

- Chris Chang, M.I.C. Gadget

The end of rumors about The Date. This week Apple sent out press invitations with the folksy, and to some highly suggestive phrase (more below), "Let's talk iPhone." The talk will be Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 10 am Pacific Time at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. Finally, someone's rumor was actually right.

Forget about the touch thing. iPhone 5 has a Revolutionary Voice Interface.

This rumor has exploded through the iOSsphere like an instant digitalnova, fueled apparently by leaks and some informed and intriguing speculation.

Mark Gurman at 9t05mac has an extensive story about a new iOS software program called, somewhat misleadingly in our opinion, "Assistant." Assistant lets you verbally tell iPhone 5 what to do, such as schedule an appointment or find a store: the phone processes the speech and Assistant interacts with an array of systems and application software to get it done. It can even ask you questions, such as which email address or phone number to use to contact someone.

The basic idea is not a new rumor: it's been circulating for nearly a year since Apple acquired a startup called Siri. VentureBeat has been covering this since before the acquisition. Apple in 2009 with iPhone 3Gs introduced a feature called Voice Control, with a relatively small group of commands. Siri originally created a verbal assistant for the iPhone, using speech technology licensed from Nuance.

It was impressive but still constrained, according to VentureBeat's Anthony Ha. He wrote, in the article linked to above: "The main limitation was the fact that it only focused on a few areas, including restaurants, movies, events, local businesses, taxis, and weather. For that reason, even though I always mentioned the app as an impressive technology, I didn't actually use it as often as I thought, and I've heard anecdotally that others had the same experience. As Siri (or whatever Siri becomes) adds more features, that could change."

That's exactly what Siri and Apple seem to have done, which, if that's the case in iPhone 5, elevates the embedded voice technology from being a limited-function assistant to a full-blown user-interface, not replacing touch, but relegating to touch those things that voice can't, for now, do. (And Assistant doesn't require you to speak slowly, or repetitively: it can, says Gurman, process your normal speaking voice.)

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