iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending Nov. 18

Steve Jobs cancelled the iPhone 5; LTE is so near

Delirium reigns in the iOSsphere on learning that the iPhone 5 is, or was, real. Until Steve Jobs, its Creator, also became its Destroyer.

Ranking rumors: Lamest and most bizarre iPhone 5 rumors of 2011

How could he do it?

It helps that a just released Qualcomm chipset means LTE is coming soon on the iPhone 5, even though Qualcomm didn't mention smartphones as a target for the new product.

You read it here second.

"[W]hat makes the iPhone 5 rumor-mill so incredibly captivating is the suggestion that the fabled device has in fact existed for quite some time...."

- Dannie Heffron, DailyNewsCorner.com

Blame Steve Jobs: he cancelled, trashed, scrapped, killed iPhone 5 "at the last second"

Or pretty nearly the last second. This week, the iOSsphere is ablaze with the claims made Nov. 11 by Business Insider: a larger-screened, thinner, iPhone 5 was just "months" away from being announced, and Steve Jobs pulled the plug on it.

Or, as other sites are reporting, killed, binned, scrapped, yanked, trashed.

The new spate of speculation comes just a month after the last one, over how the "next-generation iPhone [i.e. iPhone 5] 'was the last project that Steve Jobs was intimately involved with from concept to final design," according to a CNET post by Brooke Crothers, quoting a Wall Street analyst.

Put the two spates together and you get: "Steve Jobs was intimately involved from concept to final design of the iPhone 5, which he then abruptly cancelled 12 weeks before it was going to be announced, and came up with the iPhone 4S instead."

Business Insider's headline: "The iPhone 5 Was Real, Says A Source Who Played With A Prototype". And as re-interpreted by DailyNewsCorner.com: "iPhone 5 Release Date Postponed Last Second by Steve Jobs"

That's how it goes in the iOSsphere: rumor embroidering. Dannie Heffron, a member of the site's crack "team of experienced writers who are dedicated to bring you the hottest news articles and media insights from all around the world," is happy to embroider because "what makes the iPhone 5 rumor-mill so incredibly captivating is the suggestion that the fabled device has in fact existed for quite some time, but for one reason or another has yet to be unleashed upon the world."

The Business Insider post was written by Nicholas Carlson, who assures us that "it turns out the 'iPhone 5' - or at least, a fully redesigned iPhone - was real and it was scrapped only three months before the iPhone 4S was announced" instead. This reality is based on "an industry source who has been right about future Apple products in the past." The idea of "future products...in the past" makes our eyes cross, but we get the idea: this guy guessed right before.

The industry source says his claims are based on talks he had with Apple engineers. "Our source said that Apple engineers he knows thought until about three months before the iPhone 4S was released, that a new fully re-designed iPhone was going to be Apple's next big announcement."

But the obvious question here is who were these engineers, and were they in a position actually to know Apple's real plans for the iPhone?

So what happened to iPhone 5, asks Carlson. "Our source doesn't claim to know." But the source does know of a rumor that claims to know. "He says the rumor among Apple employees is that Steve Jobs was unhappy with the bigger screen because it 'fragmented' iPhones. Apple's big argument against Android is the way all the different phones from different manufacturers fragment that operating system."

Even Heffron doesn't seem fully convinced: "Apparently, Jobs was not happy with the way the new, larger screen somewhat fragmented the iPhone line."

This strikes us as a bit odd. Jobs oversees for 12 to 18 months the design and development of a new iPhone with "truly staggering" specs, including a bigger screen, and then - 12 weeks before the phone is to be announced -- realizes he doesn't like the fact that the bigger screen is, you know, bigger.

Heffron: "If the reports are to be believed, the iPhone 4S should never have actually been brought into existence, but was used as a stopgap solution to keep the masses busy until the iPhone 5 was perfected - which of course could take some considerable time." (Based on what Heffron has already said, this could only mean that Apple was redesigning the phone Jobs designed so it will be released with a smaller screen, which to put it mildly, seems absurd.)

Bill Palmer, at BeatWeek, has been beating this drum for much of 2011: there were one or more "problems" with iPhone 5, so Apple shoved it on the backburner, and rushed to complete and release the stopgap iPhone 4S.

Palmer doesn't bother to present any evidence for this. Carlson at Business Insider says his source claimed to have used a prototype of this Real True iPhone 5. Even if the source did have a prototype, there's always less to this kind of claim than first appears. The question is: was it a prototype for the Real-True-iPhone-5-that-was-12-weeks-from-being-released or was it, like you know, a prototype - a unit testing a range of features as part of long-term product developer, features that could indeed appear in a 2012, or later, iPhone model.

If Carlson's source is to be believed, you believe that Apple abruptly cancelled a product on the verge of being launched and then, in the space of 12 weeks, designed and developed a replacement and ramped up manufacturing to millions of units.

It's this kind of embroidered absurdity that really makes the "iPhone 5 rumor-mill so incredibly captivating."

LTE looms not just for iPad 3 but also iPhone 5, via Qualcomm's Gobi 4000 chip

Qualcomm this week announced that its Gobi 4000 chip, with integrated LTE, is now shipping.

And the iOSsphere lit up like a solar flare. This could only mean one thing: finally, finally, LTE is coming to the long-suffering, yearning iPhone masses.

Gobi combines Qualcomm's multimode 3G/4G modems, so OEMs can offer both LTE/HSPA+ and LTE/EV-DO designs, according to the chip vendor. Modules using the new silicon are already available from Novatel Wireless and Sierra Wireless.

The iOSsphere instantly overflowed with speculation that iPad 3 will go Gobi, and ditto iPhone 5. The chip "could very well ship in a next-generation LTE-capable iPad," announced Jordan Kahn at 9to5mac.

It "could be used in the 4G LTE iPhone," speculated iPhoneHacks. "Is This The Next-Gen LTE Chipset That The iPad 3 And iPhone 5 Have Been Waiting For?" asked the breathless headline at CultOfMac

Looks like it, according to Todd Haselton at BoyGeniusReport. "Apple uses older Gobi technology in its CDMA iPad 2 and iPhone 4, which means it's very possible that we'll see Qualcomm's Gobi 4000 platform used in a 4G iPhone and iPad," he posted. 

Benny Har-Even, at Telecoms.com is even more optimistic: 

Apple's use of Qualcomm silicon is "making it likely that the new chips will provide a straight upgrade path to an LTE capable iPhone 5 and iPad 3."

That's a nice touch: the phrase "straight upgrade path" makes it sound sort of like swapping your old PC hard disk for a newer, bigger, faster one.

CNET's Joe Aimonetti raised a quibble or two, noting that "Apple was not specifically mentioned in the press release as a partner for the new chip." And in fact, the Qualcomm didn't even mention smartphones: Gobi is great for "many commonly used personal computing, tablet and e-reader operating systems, including Windows® and Android, and hardware architectures, such as our powerful Snapdragon™ dual-core and quad-core processors."

And Aimonetti pointed out that "Of course, Apple has not released any official specs or plans for the iPad 3" not to mention the iPhone 5.

Don't worry though: the iOSsphere will fill in all the blanks.

iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display from LG

Or maybe not.

AppleInsider was one of a few sites that picked up a short-lived story, published by Korea Times, that Apple was talking with LG about displays for next generation iPads and iPhones.

One would be a 7.3-inch display for an "iPad mini" or a smaller version of the iPad, and a 4-inch screen for the next iPhone. The current iPad has 9.7-inch display; the current iPhone 4S has a 3.5-inch one.

AppleInsider says the original story, based on a single unnamed source who was variously identified as an industry insider, a LG Executive, or just anonymous source, was "quickly pulled" from the Korea Times Website.

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

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