Sep. 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM ET
Today at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, Apple is holding a special media event in San Francisco, and we'll be there to report live on all the latest news. For now, we're mulling over all the rumors and gossip to figure out what we can expect to hear from Apple.
A new iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 5
While there's no doubt that Apple will show off the next generation of its popular smartphone on Wednesday, we are a bit confused about the device's expected name.
Reason suggests that the folks at Apple would be itching to drop any numbers or letters from the iPhone naming scheme and just dub it "the new iPhone," just as they dubbed the third-generation iPad "the new iPad."
Nevertheless, a clear shadow on the illustration for the event invite (shown above) suggests otherwise. "It's almost here" can only refer to an iPhone, and though it will in fact be the sixth-generation one, that numeral 5 is too clear to be ignored, or written off in some conspiracy theory. As much as it chagrins us to say it out loud, we will predict that the phone will be called the iPhone 5.
What'll it be like?
Name confusion aside, the latest rumors suggest that the next-generation iPhone will look pretty darn similar to the iPhone 4S, but with a slightly thinner and larger screen and a two-tone body with a metal backside.
The device's display is expected to measure 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches in diagonal, and it will be elongated, so that the screen assumes a video-friendly 16x9 aspect ratio. Pixel counters make note: Instead of 960 x 640, it is rumored to be 1136 x 640.
As far as the iPhone 5's guts go, 9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman says that prototype version of the next-generation iPhone is rocking 1GB of RAM (which likely would double the amount). iMore's Rene Ritchie adds that the device will be 4G LTE compatible. This is an easy one to believe in: Not only is the iPhone 4S the only major smartphone without a 4G LTE cellular data option, the latest iPad already has the technology.
Several reports and recent part leaks suggest that the next iPhone will use a smaller 19-pin port rather than the wider 30-pin port found on current iPhones, iPads and iPods. The 30-pin connector has been a mainstay since 2003, and perhaps it's time for a new standard to replace it. Nevertheless, your current accessories may suddenly be obsolete, and you might need to pick up an awkward adapter if you plan to continue using your old chargers.
iMore's Rene Ritchie — who nailed the date for the upcoming press event — suggests that the new smartphone will ship nine days after it is announced, on Sept. 21. This date lines up with what we've been hearing for a while.
iPad Mini? iPad Nano? iPad Air?
One of the other big rumors of the season has been the launch of a smaller iPad. There's no confirmation, of course, just reports from anonymous sources and leaked parts which are allegedly intended for this tablet. But where there's this much smoke, there's likely a fire.
Still, it's a fire that probably won't blaze until next month.
Apple blogger John Gruber has previously dubbed the device the "iPad Air" in passing, while suggesting that it will be announced in October, instead of sharing the spotlight with the next-generation iPhone in September.
"I don’t think Apple would want reviews of both a new iPhone and new-size iPad appearing at the same time," Gruber writes. "The iPhone is too big, too cool, and garners too much attention — and it’s in Apple’s interest to keep that attention undiluted."
AllThingsD's John Paczkowski went with the label "so-called 'iPad Mini'" while explaining that he has "several sources" who confirm that Apple will indeed show off the device in October.
Based on the most reliable reports, this tablet should be close to eight inches diagonally (rather than the current model's 9.7 inches), offer a plain (non-Retina) display, and be priced in the $250 range (to compete with Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD tablets).
Leaked parts suggest that the device would also use the new smaller 19-pin connector, and that it would come in your choice of black or white. Both 9to5 Mac's Seth Weintraub and Apple watcher John Gruber agree that chances are high that this smaller tablet will look a lot like a large iPod Touch, with a smaller bezel, but Gruber also says it will probably run the full-fledged iPad version of iOS.
Apple rumors — or tech rumors in general, for that matter — are frustrating beasts. They tend to come from anonymous sources, and they can sometimes spin out of control. Apple never ever ever confirms any of them, so in most cases we don't bother asking.
We share them because it's a fun discussion to have, and because many of the rumors do indeed come true. Also, we feel you have the right to learn about it all, provided you use the information responsibly. Instead of telling your friends, "The iPhone 5's gonna be longer, and have 4G," start with, "I wouldn't be surprised if..."
So just pick your favorites and place your bets, and come Wednesday, the truth will out. At least for the iPhone. Seems like Apple is graciously allowing us to rant about tiny iPad rumors for another month or so.
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