Now that the iPhone 5 launch event has come and gone, it's time for a thoroughly unscientific and begrudging look back at several months worth of rumors.
Predictably, the farther from the path of physically-based evidence the rumors strayed, the more inaccurate they became. But the overarching theme this rumor cycle was parts leaks -- physical evidence is usually the best kind when it comes to rumors, and we had plenty of it this year when it came to the iPhone 5. In fact, anyone who paid even a modest amount of attention to the rumors these past few months probably wasn't the least bit surprised by the iPhone 5's features. I have to wonder how much of that is fuelling the rabid "disappointment" amongst anti-Apple blowhards this week.
It's been widely remarked that despite a fully functional iPhone 4 being poached from a bar two years ago, the agglomerated parts leaks this year gave us a much more complete picture of the iPhone 5. Tim Cook insisted that Apple was going to "double down" on secrecy; assuming he was telling the truth, it's safe to say Apple failed in that endeavor. Perhaps next time.
I won't declare any "winners" or "losers" in this game. Despite serving their purpose within the Apple news community, I think the rumor blogs are kind of like having your older brother peek under the wrapping of your Christmas gifts and tell you what you're getting weeks in advance, which means we all wind up losing. Maybe that's just me.
iPhone 5 preorders sold more quickly than any iPhone to date.
Incompatibilities between LTE networks make a "true world phone" a pipe dream as far as 4G is concerned. And there's nothing I can find in the tech specs that indicates the CDMA model iPhone 5 will be compatible with China Mobile's 3G network. The same source for this story also didn't expect the iPhone 5 to show up until October, so there's that.
The iPhone 5 doesn't have fingerprint scanners or NFC technology of any kind.
Confirmed: The new Lightning connector has 8 pins.
Whether the prototypes had it or not -- and until they show up on eBay, who knows? -- shipping iPhone 5 handsets don't have NFC.
This may or may not have been true, but either way the iPhone launched a month earlier than most analysts expected.
The new nano does indeed look kind of like the "iPhone nano" that keeps never showing up, but the "dedicated iTunes service" didn't happen.
Spot on as far as the connector goes, but 100 percent wrong on Bluetooth 4 linking Apple devices together.
Right on most of the details, except this one: "We can also confirm that NFC hardware is present in the phones as well." Nope.
Once you ignore the iPad mini speculation, iLounge's record on the iPhone/iPod event in this post is only 50/50. They were right about the new iPhone and iPod touch showing up in September at the same event, but wrong about new iPhone cases and the lack of a new iPod nano.
Although this leaked case accurately foreshadowed the iPod touch redesign, 9to5 Mac's speculation that the "mystery hole" was for a speaker was incorrect; it was for the device's loop feature. Meanwhile, the iPod nano doesn't have WiFi.
The iPhone 5 definitely showed up on September 12. Still waiting on that other device, though.
Still too early to tell, especially considering how "disappointing" the thing apparently is.
Inside Apple's Go-Slow Approach to Mobile Payments (Wall Street Journal)
The WSJ's suggestion that iOS 6's Passbook was the extent of Apple's ambitions in mobile payments was exactly right.
To the surprise of absolutely no one.
iPhone 5 case image leaks confirm final design? (MobileFun)
I like to poke fun at case makers because of how often they get it wrong, but they got it right this time.
And that adapter's cost, at US$29, launched a hundred frothingly hyperbolic posts from pundits exclaiming that "in these tough times" people who can afford a $199 phone plus two-year cell phone contract and hundreds of dollars in accessories are somehow going to be bankrupted by the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo probably has a source inside Apple.
They certainly do.
I didn't put much credence in this, but it turns out I struck out on this one when I predicted an October unveiling instead.
And thus did Apple's longest-lived iPhone shuffles off the retail coil.
Digitimes' reports of launch delays due to component shortages turned out to be bogus. Surprise!
There were parts leaks galore this year, enough that weeks before the iPhone's launch you could practically send proof of purchase from your breakfast cereal off to China and have parts shipped back so you could assemble your very own iPhone.
Now that the iPhone 5 is well and truly out from beneath the shroud of rumor and barely maintained secrecy, we can undoubtedly look forward to weeks or months of fevered speculation about the iPad mini. Until or unless parts for that device leak on the same scale as the iPhone 5, I suggest not getting your hopes up. If those leaks do start showing up though, it may be enough to convince even a skeptical curmudgeon like me.