Although there was a surprising (and refreshing) lack of stories sourced from "analysts" this week, that doesn't mean the rumors were any less rotten than usual. In fact, a few of the rumor blogs decided to dabble in their own version of analysis this week, which just goes to show you don't need an Economics degree to be completely off-base about Apple's future plans.
[Update: Shortly after this post went live iOS 7 Beta 2 appeared, with iPad support and a return of the Voice Memo app]
From the article: "A shot of a logic board claimed to be from Apple's next-generation iPhone shows a design largely the same as the iPhone 5, though the screw hole has been placed in a new location."
Let's consult expert analyst Butt-Head to get his take on this startling development.
"Huhuhuhuh. Uhhh, huhuhuh. You said 'screw hole'."
AppleInsider speculates that "the next iPhone will sport largely the same design as the iPhone 5." Translated into Internet Catspeak: "Pattern recognition, I haz it." The iPhone 3GS was externally almost identical to the iPhone 3G. Same with the iPhone 4S versus iPhone 4. Apple has seemingly adopted a "tick-tock" pattern with regard to its iPhone designs, so an "iPhone 5S" seems almost a given at this point. Of course, the fact that this is so fundamentally predictable means that if this is really all that Apple produces at its September (October?) launch event for the next iPhone, the pundits won't be able to type "DISAPPOINTED, APPLE = DOOMED" fast enough.
These screenshots look a little bit too good to be Photoshopped fakes. I'm confident the first iOS 7 beta for the iPad will at least look similar to these shots. I for one am looking forward to seeing what iOS 7 has in store for the iPad version of Music.app, because that app has been a completely unusable mess since iOS 5.
It's pretty amusing to watch rumor blogs get all CSI on these leaked parts photos. "Zoom. Enhance. Enhance. There. You see? The flex cables are slightly different on this new part, and the connectors are oriented differently, which proves the killer knew the victim. Wait, what was I talking about again?"
Case makers have started making cases for the supposed low-cost iPhone. Well, that's it. This proves the low-cost iPhone is totally a thing, because case makers have never been wrong before. (By which I mean they have been repeatedly wrong on many occasions and are a completely vapid "source" for forthcoming Apple designs.)
From the article: "With the first-party voice memo app apparently gone, at least in iOS 7 beta, users upgrading to Apple's next-generation mobile OS may find themselves short of a much needed resource."
Someone at AppleInsider doesn't fully understand what the word "beta" means when applied to Apple software. Here's a hint: the fact that the Voice Memo app isn't present in this first beta is utterly meaningless. Don't let that stop you from suggesting alternatives, especially if they're superior to Apple's offering, but don't pretend that the default Voice Memo app's exclusion from the first iOS 7 beta means anything more than -- get this -- it isn't ready for public consumption yet.
In other words, BETA IS BETA.
See? Told you so.
I'll say this: the OS crashes and reboots the iPad halfway through, which is pretty consistent with my own experience of iOS 7 so far. If this is a fake, it's cleverly done.
From the article: "it is not clear whether the display assembly is a production model, a prototype, or merely a well-crafted mock-up." It could also be Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, or aliens from Zeta Reticuli II, or swamp gas reflecting off of Venus. The point is, we have no idea, but here are some photos and a few associated paragraphs anyway.
From the article: "It should be noted that case makers have bet - and lost - on unofficial schematic designs in the past." Yes, it certainly should be noted. But maybe it should be noted within the first couple of paragraphs and not buried several hundred words deep into the article and below several allegedly convincing diagrams.
Just when I was starting to worry that we wouldn't have any "news" from "analysts" this week, this story comes in claiming the next iPad mini won't have a Retina display. Of course, as BGR notes, this same analyst has claimed several times in the past that the next iPad mini will have a Retina display, so it's tough to give the guy any credence. Maybe some Skynyrd, possibly some Eagles, but definitely not any Creedence.
Pegatron CEO: Apple's 'low-cost iPhone' will not be cheap (AppleInsider)
Even assuming this guy said these things in the first place -- which is doubtful, considering A) the source is an Asian publication (notoriously inaccurate when it comes to Apple), and B) he'd be jeopardizing a multi-million dollar manufacturing contract flapping his gums about unreleased Apple products -- even if you accept that he said these things, the question still remains: how the hell does he know? It's not like Tim Cook is going to tell his manufacturers, "Yeah, we can build this new iPhone pretty cheaply, but we're still going to charge, like, $500 for the low-end model. Because we can." *raises pinky to lip*
From the article: "Let's just be honest... we are at the absolute end of the road for gaming consoles. There is no reason that you are going to need a dedicated gaming machine in the next year or two - you probably don't even need one now." That's a bold statement. What's your evidence?
"Apple is now allowing third-party manufacturers to make game controllers for iOS devices."
Oh my god, seriously? The fact that I can potentially play Infinity Blade 2 with physical buttons instead of a touchscreen somehow means that consoles designed to deliver titles like Grand Theft Auto V are on death's door?
"Tell me why these high-powered devices, ones that are updated and upgraded every single year, can't actually be the console?" Maybe Rockstar and Square-Enix don't want to give Apple 30 percent of a $60 sale for a game. Maybe App Store customers don't want to shell out $60 for a game in the first place, no matter how good it is. Maybe downloading a 10 GB game to a portable device with a 16 GB capacity isn't particularly tenable. Maybe the processors in an iPad or iPhone still can't handle the kinds of ultra-hi-def graphics that consoles can churn out.
Look, I'll admit that my iOS devices are my primary gaming platforms now and have been for a long time. My Wii has been gathering dust for years, and my PS3 is literally sitting on a closet shelf after it suffered its third "yellow light of death" failure in a year. I have no motivation to get a Wii U or Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 doesn't exactly thrill me either. But that all aside, I don't pretend that any of this means the traditional video game console market is dead in the water. It's going to be at least another generation (in terms of consoles) before portable devices like the iPhone and iPad represent a serious threat to the Big Three console makers.
Apple's iPhone 5S Revealed in New Photos (MacRumors)
Most of the identifying numbers on the internal parts are either placeholders or indicative of a prototype, so definitively stating that this device is the iPhone 5S seems like a premature call. On the other hand... sure, why not.