Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:30 PM ET
Apple rumors — or tech rumors in general, for that matter — are frustrating. They tend to come from anonymous sources who may or may not be familiar with matters, briefed on plans or even awake. They can sometimes spin out of control and lead people to believe that the next iPhone will cost $800 or be made of a material that's not quite ready for primetime.
In an attempt to throw some sanity into the world, we're going to review the latest iPhone rumors — and tell you which are likely to be true.
Ready? Let's go!
What will it be called?
It would be shocking if the next-generation iPhone is announced as anything other than the "new iPhone" when it is finally revealed to the world.
Calling it the "iPhone 5" not only clashes with what appears to be Apple's current naming strategy — think "new iPad," new iMac," "new Apple TV," "new MacBook Pro," and so on — but it would also be awkwardly inaccurate. As we've said in the past, the next-generation iPhone will be the sixth-generation device in the line, following the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.
And of course, skipping right to "iPhone 6" would be inelegant, not to mention bear a faint whiff of Microsoft's naming schemes.
When will it arrive?
Both iMore's Rene Ritchie and All Things D's John Paczkowski — people with credible track records when it comes to nailing the dates of Apple events — say that Apple will be holding a very special event on Sept. 12. Ritchie additionally suggests that the new smartphone will ship nine days after it is announced, on Sept. 21.
These dates do line up with what we've been hearing for a while — that the next-generation iPhone will hit shelves in the fall — so we're circling them on our calendars for now.
How will it look?
We suspect that the next-generation iPhone will be pretty darn similar to the iPhone 4S, but with a slightly thinner and larger screen. It sounds like its display will be 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches and more elongated, so that the aspect ratio is wider.
The folks at 9to5Mac recently posted some photos showing what is supposedly the equivalent of a fully-assembled next-generation iPhone — and judging by those, our guesses might be right on the money.
Some reports have suggested that the next iPhone may be made out of "Liquidmetal," a strong, durable and versatile material. But Dr. Atakan Peker, the creator of the material says that this rumor likely won't pan out. He explains that the material is most certainly good enough for the iPhone, but that the manufacturing techniques and infrastructure to implement it properly, and on a large scale, do not exist just yet.
What sort of guts will it have?
9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman says that prototype versions of the next-generation iPhone are rocking 1GB of RAM (which would double what is believed to be the current device's amount of RAM).
When it comes to cameras, TechRadar's John McCann offers that Sony's new back-illuminated stacked CMOS image sensors would be perfect for the next-generation iPhone as they are ideal for super-duper-slim phones. (And slim it will be, if you believe the Wall Street Journal's sources.)
iMore's Rene Ritchie suggests that the device will be 4G LTE compatible — just like the new iPad.
The new smartphone will also likely use a smaller 19-pin port rather than the wider 30-in port found on current iPhones, iPads and iPods. (Say goodbye to your old chargers — or hello to some awkward adapter — if that turns out to be the case.)
What did we learn?
We always say this, but it's true: "A rumor's not a rumor that doesn't die."
The particularly persistent rumors tend to pan out ... except when they don't. So just pick your favorites and let's keep speculating until the cows come home — or until the Apple execs come to the Moscone Center.
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