The expected debut of Apple's sixth-generation smartphone -- and likely a
smaller iPad -- is less than a month away. With the usual swirl of rumors and
leaks surrounding the anticipated Sept. 12 unveiling, I thought it high time
that we dissect the claims.
First up, how do we know that Apple is planning a big launch at all? Answer: The company's June SEC filing holds the key. It shows a giant increase in prepayments for inventory components to the highest level in four years, up $1.15 billion from the previous quarter. Conclusion: Apple is stocking up on parts for ... something.
As for what, decide for yourself.
-- Claim: The new iPhone will feature super-fast 4G LTE data speeds. Evidence: None needed. The phone will be dead on arrival if it doesn't connect to 4G networks.
-- Claim: The new iPhone will feature a larger screen, a metal unibody, expanded speaker grills, a small microphone for the rear-facing video camera and a front-facing camera that has moved from the side of the earpiece to the center, just above the earpiece. Evidence: Numerous photos and videos have cropped up, especially in the Asian blogosphere, where access to Apple hardware makers is more feasible. The same person who posted photos of the iPhone 4S on the Chinese forum Weiphone prior to the product launch last year now has (what are claimed to be) photos of the iPhone 5 circuit board that reflect these upgrades.
-- Claim: The new phone and tablet will be available in white as well as the baseline black. Evidence: A Kansas-based Apple repair shop, IResQ, posted pictures on its blog of purported iPhone 5 and iPad Mini repair parts showing both come in white.
-- Claim: The new iPhone will hit store shelves Sept. 21. Evidence: This date has been mentioned by news outlets ranging from Reuters to CNN.
-- Claim: The new iPad Mini won't reach stores until Oct. 5. Evidence: There's no way Apple Stores can handle a dual iPhone/iPad mini release: A survey by ChangeWave, with offices in Boston, shows demand for the next iPhone is at "unprecedented levels," with a whopping 30 percent of consumers in North America saying they are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to buy the phone. That's about 10 percent more interest than when the iPhone 4S had its record-breaking debut in Fall 2011, when Apple sold 4 million phones in three days.
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