David Zax

A View from David Zax

The iPhone 5 Rumor Mill Whirs

And whirs, and whirs. Frankensteining together the new phone.

  • August 14, 2012

 iPhone rumors! iPhone rumors! Step right up and get your iPhone rumors!

The tech blogosphere has been playing “CSI: Apple” again with its forensic, obsessive analysis of leaked, or supposedly leaked, iPhone 5 photos, and who am I to pass on the fun? Here’s what we know, or think we know, or think we think we know.

Exhibit A: the iPhone 5’s dock connector. Rumors are swirling that Apple will ditch the 30-pin connector we’re familiar with (it’s the same connector Apple’s used since the early days of the iPod) and instead will opt for a a USB-style connector with fewer pins, though perhaps as many as 16. The French blog nowhereelse has what they say are photos. Then again, maybe there’s an extra pin, if we count the metal frame as a “grounding pin,” per MacRumors.  A line of code had led 9to5Mac to speculate that the connector would have nine pins, something AppleInsider agrees with. Meanwhile, I have been able to confirm that a bowling lane has 10 pins.

I jest, but the design of the dock connector is pretty relevant, since it may render useless all your existing iPhone accessories. It might also make the dock connector “orientation independent”–no worries about plugging it in upside-down. It could also improve transfer rates, all while taking up just about half the space of the previous connector.

The phone itself should be slimmer, 18% slimmer than the iPhone 4S, says AppleInsider. This was achieved by lengthening the design of the device to accommodate a rumored 4-inch screen, by moving the headphone jack from the top to the bottom of the phone, by the replacement of a micro-SIM tray with a nano-SIM tray, and by the shrinking of several other components (including that dock connector).

Various photos have also leaked professing to represent the forthcoming phone’s motherboard. Those pics suggest a new battery and new antennas. The site iFixYouri rounded up images of all the leaked parts and mapped them onto the leaked motherboard, finding they fit together like a nice jigsaw puzzle.

Among the other rumors for the new device: that 4-inch screen might have 640x1136 resolution, and the phone is hoped to feature LTE, NFC, and a better processor, per 9to5Mac, which has done yeoman’s work diving into the beta version of iOS 6 to suss out some of these features.

This video (via the Verge) purports to show the iPhone 5 housing.

Now, it is one of the absurdities of covering Apple that I can’t vouch for any of the above. Come September 12, each and every rumor may be proven false. And of course, Apple’s not commenting. And something’s got to fill the void of that silence, after all. I hear it now, in fact. Whirring…

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.