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Weekend rumor roundup: Apple Retail event, new MacBook Airs, unlocked iPhones, more


Several rumors with varying degrees of credibility came up over the weekend. According to AppleInsider, Twitter user @chronicwire (reportedly a source of past Apple leaks) reports that Apple's retail stores are setting up to launch Apple's annual Back to School promotion on Wednesday.

The same source initially reported that the Back to School promo will coincide with the launch of new MacBook Airs, but he has since retracted that claim. Instead, Chronic claims the part numbers he initially thought represented new MacBook Airs indicate that Apple will start selling versions of the GSM iPhone 4 that are not carrier-locked to AT&T.

Although the MacBook Air is widely expected to have a refresh soon, this is the first we've heard of unlocked iPhones being offered for sale in the U.S., and it's something we'll file under "We'll believe it when we see it." The iPhone is already sold free and clear of carrier locks in several markets, but GSM model iPhones sold in the U.S. remain carrier-locked to AT&T unless you jailbreak.

Chronic has also released screenshots that supposedly come from an "internal build" of iOS 5. These screenshots show that Nuance voice recognition, expected to be integrated in iOS 5 but not discussed at WWDC, is still in development. Other sources have claimed these voice recognition features weren't ready to be shown off at WWDC but should be good to go by the time iOS 5 launches this fall.

Finally, a reader has informed us that New Zealand's online Apple Store is now showing shipping times of 5-7 business days for the 1 TB Time Capsule and 1-2 weeks for the 2 TB model. These extended shipping times are also showing up in Apple's Australian and UK stores, and the Canadian Apple Store is showing a 1-2 week delay for the 1 TB Time Capsule. The U.S. store and most international stores are not showing the same delay, but they're further indicative of the Time Capsule supply constraints we reported last week, which may mean a product refresh is imminent.

We'll be keeping a very close eye on Apple's online store on the Tuesday overnight shift, and we'll let you know if anything new comes up.

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