iPhone 5 rumor roll-up for the week ending Sept. 16

It's a sight to behold, even though no one has beheld it

We learn this week that the iPhone 5 is a "sight to behold" even though no one writing about it has actually beheld one. Far from dampening rumors, that vacuum of fact causes them to swell and blossom.

This week, the iPhone 5 will be bigger and thinner and rounder and delayed. Doom for BlackBerry and its inept, chronically misspelling users. The AT&T-iPhone 5-LTE anti-rumor. Assorted radicalness and drama.

You read it here second.

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"When it comes to the iPhone 5, the rumors just can't seem to stop." -- Tyler Lee, Ubergizmo

iPhone 5 will really be bigger and thinner and rounder ... and delayed. iPhone 4, not so much.

Dismissively dismissing the lamestream New York Times blog summary of well-worn rumors, 9to5Mac offers instead what it calls "real info."

"The iPhone 5 itself is a sight to behold, we've been told," Seth Weintraub writes poetically. He repeatedly says "we've heard" but never even hints at who is doing the talking which "we" are hearing. The New York Times, still clinging to outmoded old-journalism "standards," at least referenced "Apple employees."

"It is impossibly light, yet much firmer than Samsung Galaxy phones which are backed in plastic," Weintraub enthuses. "The camera rivals point and shoot cameras and will be a major marketing point for this device."

But, oh woe is we. There is bad news.

"It appears that the tear-drop shaped iPhone 5 with larger screen and thinner, rounder body is seeing continued design and production delays, at least on one assembly line (Apple has multiple production sources -- Pegatron, Foxconn, etc)," claims Weintraub. "We therefore think that iPhone 5 will be delayed slightly at the very least and may see shortages all the way into 2012."

But the "low-end model," the equally elusive so-called iPhone 4S, "which is essentially an iPhone 4 look-alike (glass front and back), is rolling off the assembly line in big numbers right now. Apple expects to have 10+ million of these things on hand for launch and full ramped production into the holiday shopping season. These will be priced aggressively and be everywhere."

What about the date, you ask? 9to5Mac has some real info about that, too. "We still think October 7th is the scheduled release date give or take any delays," he writes, in classic iOSsphere style: It sounds definite without actually being definitive. Is Oct. 7 the "delayed slightly at the very least" date or the original date that might become "delayed slightly at the very least"? Is it the announcement date or the shipment date? Or the order date or preorder date or the online special offer pre-preordering date? Or the date those coveted official Apple invitations will be sent out to the eager throngs of iOSsphere bloggers and pundits?

iPhone 5 spells doom for RIM's BlackBerry line.

Actually, it "marks death knell" for BlackBerry, according to Bill Palmer's confident post at BeatWeek.

"BlackBerry maker RIM has been losing smartphone marketshare since the day the iPhone arrived in 2007, and that erosion will grow by leaps and bounds with the arrival of the iPhone 5 on three U.S. carriers," he writes.

For BlackBerry users bowing to their fate, Palmer has a primer on how to use the iPhone 5 whenever it finally arrives and whatever it actually looks like.

His helpful tips include accepting the fact that iPhone's "virtual keyboard actually becomes an asset eventually." As in "eventually our solar system's sun will go super-nova and incinerate the Earth." But it's a well-intended tip, because BlackBerry users "do tend to take longer to get used to typing on an iPhone than even someone who's never previously used a smartphone," Palmer writes. Your BlackBerry is actually rendering you unfit for multi-gesture screen interfaces.

"Stick with it, however, and you'll find that not only does it become fully normal, there are also bonuses ..." Palmer writes reassuringly. Like auto-correction of frequent typos and the "magically" added ".com" button for typing Web addresses.

Another tip: The new iPhone will have "even more screen real estate" than the current 3.5-inch model. So make the most of it with "some high quality games, and some HD video content." But, another tip: "Don't go crazy, however, with paid apps right out of the gate," Palmer advises, sensibly. "Until you figure out how you want to put your new iPhone 5 toy to use, no need to overspend on 'cool' apps you may have no use for. There are plenty of free apps in the App Store to tide you over while you figure out what you really want to do with your new toy."

'Will AT&T Launch The iPhone 5 On LTE?'

That's the headline of a post by Desire Athow at ITProPortal.com, who proves he knows how to rumor, or in English English, "rumour," with the best of them.

Such headlines are rarely if ever "real" questions. They tend to be either purely rhetorical or excuse for recycling rumors, or both.

Nowhere in his post does Athow actually cite any evidence that even hints that the iPhone 5 will be available as an LTE device capable of using AT&T's just-launched LTE network.

"AT&T has three 4G devices already on the market but there are rumours that the iPhone 5 may turn out to be one of them in a near future," Athow writes. "Interestingly enough, AT&T has yet to reveal the price of its LTE smartphone data pricing." The second sentence is clearly intended to somehow substantiate the first, even though there is simply no connection between them whatsoever. Except by the logic of the iOSsphere: If "B" has not happened, that indicates "A" can happen.

"Rumour has it that the next iPhone 5 may come with an LTE-compatible chipset which would allow it to compete with the likes of the HTC Evo 4G and the slew of 4G compatible handsets likely to be launched by the end of the year," Athow writes.

It's true that there have been many rumors, or more accurately wishful thinking or unalloyed hope, that iPhone 5 will have LTE. But the rumors so far are unfounded. Which makes them perfect as foundations for rumors like this one.

New phone cases show iPhone 5 has radical new design.

Case-Mate, which makes smartphone cases, posted a photo of new cases along with a marketing blurb that suggested they are designed for the upcoming iPhone 5. The photo, subsequently yanked off the site, showed a flock of colorful cases, with the provocative words, "We'll have your cases when you have your new iPhone."

Boy Genius Report picked up on the post, which is considered to be either a mistake or a PR stunt, and concludes, based on an in-depth analysis, that the phone that would fit into this case has a "radical new body."

To the uninitiated, that may not be obvious, since the photo of the cases shows a smartphone that's still ... um, a rectangle.

But Todd Haselton, of BGR-the-three-biggest-letters-in-tech, sees far more. He sees an iPhone 5 that's "thinner and lighter than the current model and these cases suggest it will have tapered edges and a slim profile as well." And looking carefully, you can see an "aluminum back" instead of the current glass casing.

Nick Bilton, of the Bits blog at The New York Times, is definitively cautious. "From descriptions I've heard of the new iPhone from Apple employees, the images seemed potentially authentic," he declares. It's unclear what the words "seemed potentially" actually mean. Perhaps what Bilton is saying is, "I don't know if these are authentic or not but I want you to think I am saying that they might be. Potentially."

He's also definitively cautious about Case-Mate's motives. "But it seems that Case-Mate might be sneakily trying to take advantage of the excitement over the phone by posting and then unposting the images," he writes. Which, if it might seemingly potentially be true, would be shocking indeed. "These things rarely happen accidentally, especially when it comes to new Apple products."

As we have repeatedly said: There. Are. No. Accidents. In. The. iOSsphere.

Contrary to previous rumor, Sprint will not get the iPhone 5. Yet.

This is the sun-moon dynamic of iOSsphere rumors: The sun rises on one rumor, and then the moon rises on the opposite rumor. Recently, the rumor was that the iPhone 5 will also launch on Sprint, which of course doesn't yet offer any iPhone.

This week, the rumor is that Sprint will begin offering the iPhone 4, and in 2012 will offer iPhone 5. TUAW.com's Erica Sadun blogs that a "Sprint Nextel sales associate told TUAW that the carrier has started briefing its employees on an imminent Sprint iPhone 4 launch."

The source said the sales team was told that Sprint will have iPhone 4 available in October with standard Sprint data plans. "If the associate's information is accurate, Sprint will not get the iPhone 5 until 2012, most likely by early spring," Sadun writes.

Interestingly, the source also told TUAW that Sprint "will carry a 4G iPad, though launch dates and pricing were still unknown." Obviously, there is not a "4G iPad" product currently. But before you get your hopes up, Sadun notes: "Sprint already sells 4G access for the iPad via its external mobile 4G WiFi product; maybe that's what the briefing referenced." It's an intriguing example of the inner dynamics of iOSsphere "information."

Get ready for the dramatic elongated home button.

A Hong Kong website posted a picture of what it says is an iPhone 5 screen protector, with a cut-out that shows a lozenge-shaped home button, instead of the circular one that's been standard from the first iPhone.

There's been speculation about the Elongated Home Button, or EHB, for some time.

MacRumors noticed the original Chinese-language post at Unwire.hk, with the somewhat provocative headline (according to Google Translate) of "[Fengjixuchui] rumors of the iPhone 5 screen protector body design that exposure?"

Body exposures notwithstanding, the actual photo is Safe For Work.

In his post about the EHB at MacRumors, Arnold Kim, without a trace of irony, notes, "There's been some doubts raised recently about what shape the iPhone 5 might actually take."

Commenting on this latest EHB manifestation, Ubergizmo's Tyler Lee remarks, "When it comes to the iPhone 5, the rumors just can't seem to stop." Probably because blogs can't seem to stop posting them.

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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