Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:47 PM ET
Apple rumors can spring from anonymous sources familiar with matters, or briefed on plans or just making stuff up. The only consistent thing about them is that a new wave of them arrives before we really get the chance to enjoy whatever product was finally, officially released.
Case in point: iPhone 5S rumors. The iPhone 5 hits shelves on Sept. 21. We get a couple of months' reprieve from iPhone rumors then ... bam! Someone allegedly leaks photos of what may be the rear shell of the next iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 5S" by some presumptuous (but probably correct) news outlets.
It doesn't matter if the photos are real, fake, or a combination of the two — this early, we could be looking at a genuine Apple part that never makes it into mass production, after all. What matters is that there's something for folks to speculate about.
Will the next iPhone look almost identical to the current one? (Odds are good that it will.) Is Apple seriously only moving a couple of screws? (That might make some fanboys cry.) If parts are leaking already, the next iPhone must obviously be scheduled to hit shelves on some arbitrary date determined by a blind-folded analyst throwing a dart at a calendar, right? (April! No, June! No, October!) It doesn't take much for the rumor mill to get out of control.
So what do our instincts tell us about this so-called iPhone 5S? Given Apple's tendency to make comparatively small changes every other generation (and, for iPhones, a tendency to tack an "S" on the end of the product name to denote a minor spec bump), it's fairly reasonable to assume that we'll have a case of deja vu when we do see the first official photos of the next iPhone. But it's also likely that the first look is still most of a year away.
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