Lamest and most bizarre iPhone 5 rumors of 2011

The iOSsphere as the tech entertainment center of the world

The imagination is the petri dish of rumors, and nothing proved quite so imaginative, and entertaining, as 2011's rumors about the Apple iPhone 5.

Herewith, with assistance from the increasingly indispensable (STAR) website, and its founder, Shawn King, is our list of the most stupid, bizarre, lame or just plain dumbass iPhone 5 rumors of the year. Feel free to add, or make up, your own.

MORE SCUTTLEBUTT: iPhone 5 rumor roundup for week ending Nov. 11

And be sure to check out STAR's "Rumor Accounting" post, which proposes a formula for evaluating the accuracy of the rumors fomented by the various Internet sites. Not for the fainthearted.

And remember: With the "delay" of iPhone 5, we have months more of stupid, bizarre, lame and just plain dumbass rumoring ahead.

iPhone 5 proximity light sensor flex cable unveiled

You might not know what the proximity light sensor flex cable is, but if it's part of the iPhone 5, you know it's special. Technically, according to, a.k.a. Cellphonezone, a China-based wholesaler of direct-from-manufacturer mobile phone accessories and stuff, it's the "part responsible for making the screen go dark when you bring your face up to your phone to talk."

SW-Box announced in early August that it was offering its own proximity light sensor flex cable as a replacement part for a phone that you couldn't buy. In the website's weirdly second-person posting: "You have to hand it to, the iPhone accessories king, for bringing you iPhone 5 replacement parts when the official iPhone 5 isn't even launched yet. LOL!"

Almost at once, the iOSsphere began obsessively analyzing what this new third-party replacement part might reveal about a not-yet-announced product. MacPost, for example, concluded the flex cable "points [to] a major design revamp in the upcoming model."

"We spend a lot of resources on research and intel," according to the SW-Box post. "Did you know that the Apple factory is just a stone's throw from our offices? No? Well it is. And this iPhone 5 Proximity Light Sensor Flex Cable is the real deal."

Alas, neither the real deal nor the original Web post is available on the SW-Box website, though you can find it via Google cache and if you need a proximity light sensor flex cable for an older iPhone model, SW-Box still has the real deal.

iPhone 5 will be a tool of tyranny

"Apple may be integrating more technology behind its camera in the next-generation iPhone." That's the ominous start to a June post by Christopher Hudson at GizmoCrunch. He originally said this development is more likely for iPhone 6 than for iPhone 5, but with the "delay" of iPhone 5 until next year, the specter of tyranny has been raised anew.

The technology in question is an infrared sensor and transmitter, plus code, that will make the "beloved" iPhone camera more self-aware, Hudson says. The technology was disclosed in a recently revealed Apple patent, but Hudson didn't link to it. "In this way Apple can for example allow the camera to be disabled if the user walks into a cinema or other venues where photography and video recording is forbidden," Hudson writes.

"The possibilities are endless but at the same time it would make Apple feel a lot more like Big Brother, seeing everything you see and capture," Hudson concludes, referring to the dictator of George Orwell's novel "1984," where the population is under constant surveillance through large telescreens.

Perhaps Apple will rename it EyePhone 5.

iPhone 5 is already built! It's only waiting for a decent LTE chipset

Lito Carasig, at AppleSlut, has convinced himself that the iPhone 5 already exists. It only waits for some LTE chips that will rise to its standard of excellence.

"We all want the LTE iPhone," he writes, ignoring those millions of idiots who are happily buying the non-LTE iPhone 4S (See: "First Look at iPhone 4S") and the nearly antique iPhone 3GS.

According to Carasig, "to put it mildly, people were slightly irked by [the announcement of the iPhone 4S] because we were so stoked that finally, we'll be seeing another magical offering from our favorite company." Carasig himself was more than slightly irked. "When that didn't happen and with no explanation whatsoever as to why there was no iPhone 5, well, I myself was stunned and just thought 'WTF?'"

But, through faith, he discovered the answer. "You see, folks, it just dawned on me that Apple did not have any problem with the iPhone 5," he writes. And why not? "[B]ecause the iPhone 5 is already finished," he announces.

"But Apple felt that the technology which it needed for the iPhone 5 was not ready yet. In this particular instance, the LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology needed by Apple to successfully launch its iPhone 5."

A rumor about what caused all the iPhone redesign rumors

Many of the rumors about the iPhone 5 being radically redesigned -- wide screen, teardrop design, super thin -- were based on analyzing prototypes or production models of iPhone cases made by third-party accessory companies.

In late September, the tech website M.I.C. Gadget reported that someone working for an "iPhone accessories supplier" told its crew that "an iPhone 5 prototype had gone missing from the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen Futian district. This should explain why we are seeing a whole lot of iPhone 5 cases in China today."

The website was told by yet another source that the person who "stole" the prototype was paid to do so and to make sure it fell into the hands of case-makers.

First the derring-do, as recounted by M.I.C. Gadgeteer Chris Chang: "The missing prototype is said to have been enclosed in a case to disguise it as a current-generation iPhone 4 -- which brings to mind the iPhone 4 prototype acquired by Gizmodo that was camouflaged as an iPhone 3GS."

But Chang was puzzled. "How Apple applied that with the iPhone 5 supposedly wider and longer than the current iPhone 4 is a point to ponder." There wasn't a lot of pondering by the iOSsphere on this point, nor apparently by the case-makers who invested a chunk of money in producing cases for the un-announced iPhone 5.

As M.I.C. Gadget noted in an update to its original post: There is no iPhone 5. iPhone 5 cases are USELESS.

"We were told that Foxconn was aware of the loss and had penalized internal management for the incident. [Yet] we also heard from another source that the person who 'lost' it was paid to do so," Wang wrote in the original post.

Apple was afraid to launch iPhone 5

This is an example of the psychoanalytical rumor. This one was put forward at Forbes by Louis Bedigan, a staff writer for Benzinga, which describes itself as an "online news and analysis site."

His post is titled, "Four reasons Apple is making us wait for iPhone 5," with the reasons ranked in ascending order. None of them make much sense; the first two read like non sequiturs and the last two seem to contradict each other. For example, reason No. 3 is "Innovation is a Slow Process" and reason No. 4 is "fear."

Innovation is certainly a complex process, which is not the same thing as a slow one, but in any case that's not what Bedigan really means. "There is the strong possibility that the company [this would be Apple] is incapable of the level of innovation we expect," he asserts. But in No. 4, he suggests that Apple is "afraid to make any drastic changes" -- to innovate -- "knowing that it may ultimately make or break a product people already love."

"Consequently, Apple might believe that it is better to risk alienating [the class of] consumers with high expectations [those wanting a radically redesigned iPhone 5] than it is to risk alienating the mainstream market, which still believes that the iPhone is the best and most groundbreaking product in its class."

So Apple can't innovate, and should just 'fess up and stop "raising expectations" for its lackluster products; or Apple is afraid to innovate, because it might "break" the iPhone and alienate all those mainstream boobs who still believe it's a great product.

iPhone 5 was "delayed" because of some kind of screw-up(s)

According to this meme, the iPhone is intended to arrive with the regularity and precision of the yearly summer solstice. When it doesn't, it must have been "delayed" and the delays are caused by ... all kinds of things, but they're always "problems" or "difficulties."

Beatweek has been beating this drum for much of 2011, without ever presenting any evidence or citing a source, not even an Asian supply chain source, to support it. As recently as October, Beatweek's Bill Palmer repeated this theme when he told readers they won't have to wait another "whopping sixteen months" to get the iPhone 5.


"[U]nless Apple runs into the kind of unexpected troubles which caused the iPhone 5 to be repeatedly delayed behind the scenes and the iPhone 4S to be pushed out as an interstitial gasp so Apple wouldn't have to go into the holidays without a new-ish iPhone on the market," he wrote.

The same kind of solipsistic reasoning led Palmer to assert just after Steve Jobs resigned on Aug. 24 as CEO that Apple would reveal the date of the iPhone 5 announcement on Monday, Aug. 29, or later that week. [Palmer's post no longer seems to be available on Beatweek; we commented on it here.]

Jobs' resignation "is the strongest evidence yet that Apple will send out invites for an iPhone 5 event as soon as next week [the week of Aug. 29]." Because Apple wants to counter the "bad news" of the resignation with the "good news" of the next iPhone. In fact, it was on Sept. 27 that Apple sent out invitations to journalists, inviting them to "Let's talk iPhone" on Oct. 4 at Apple's Cupertino headquarters.

iPhone 5 will be bendable and change the nature of gaming

We thought it was a bit farfetched ourselves, despite the fact that inEntertainment, a U.K. gaming website, had a picture. Or at any rate, something in PhotoShop.

"If Apple launched a bendable display on the iPhone 5 or 6, and parked this with iOS 5/6, then we could have something very special for mobile gaming, thanks to the amount of games on the App Store and a larger screen that could easily fit in your pocket, unlike the iPad," gushed Mark Chubb, who apparently began fantasizing about this after seeing a Nokia prototype demonstration of a flexible touchscreen.

"The bendable iPhone 5 would change mobile gaming," Chubb insisted. Because we could, you know, bend the device, which we can't do now.

StupidAppleRumors doesn't consider this a "rumor per se," but posted it anyway "because it's BATS**T CRAZY STUPID ..."

It's hard to improve on that assessment.

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



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