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New iPhone and mini iPad coming soon? What we expect from Apple

Moscone Center
The Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif., on the day of Apple's keynote during the Worldwide Developers Conference 2012.Wilson Rothman / NBC News

Rumor is that Apple will hold a very special event on Sept. 12. Naturally, this means that we are compelled to gossip endlessly about what the Cupertino-based company might announce on that day. Here's what we expect from Apple this fall.

The new iPhone
The main focus during Apple's rumored Sept. 12 event will most likely be the next-generation iPhone — one that likely will not be called the "iPhone 5." 

According to the folks at 9to5 Mac, someone at Apple repair shop iLab accumulated factory parts and assembled them, producing the equivalent of a next-generation iPhone. Additionally, the staff of iResq has rounded up its own collection of allegedly leaked iPhone parts and found that they fit perfectly inside a body which has been floating around.

While these images, allegedly of new iPhones, are floating around, some of their specs are more likely than others, based on additional reports — from anonymous sources, naturally — coming through reputable channels.

The next-generation iPhone may likely look pretty darn similar to the iPhone 4S, but it will probably have a slightly thinner and larger screen and a two-tone body. It sounds like the device's display will be 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches in diagonal, and that it will be more elongated (so that its aspect ratio is wider).

As far as the guts go, 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). iMore's Rene Ritchie adds that the device will be 4G LTE compatible — just like the new iPad.

Both prior reports as well as more recent part leaks suggest that the next iPhone will 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.)

iMore's Rene Ritchie — who has a credible track record when it comes to nailing down Apple event dates and topics — suggests that the new smartphone will ship nine days after it is announced, on Sept. 21. This date does line up with what we've been hearing for a while, so we're keeping it circled on our calendars for the time being.

The smaller iPad
As if all the iPhone gossip isn't enough, there's also been much talk about a smaller iPad making an appearance during Apple's September event.

Based on the most reliable reports, this tablet should be close to eight inches diagonally (rather than 9.7 inches like the current models), offer a plain (non-Retina) display, and be priced in the $250 range (to compete with Google's Nexus 7).

Leaked parts suggest that the device will use a 19-pin connector like the next-generation iPhone and be offered 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.

The important thing to keep in mind
Apple rumors — or tech rumors in general, for that matter — are frustrating beasts. They tend to come from anonymous sources who may or may not be familiar with matters, briefed on plans or even fully coherent. 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.

We try our best to assess rumors by using a magical formula which relies on the track record of a source or reporter, the habits of the folks in Cupertino, plain ol' logic, and experience.

We frequently reach out to the folks at Apple and ask them if they're feeling crazy enough to chit-chat about their upcoming products, but it's their policy not to address such rumors.

So when all else fails, we often lean on this reporter's favorite movie quote: "A rumor's not a rumor that doesn't die."

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 executives come to the Moscone Center.

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