In case you haven’t heard, Apple’s annual September iOS event is going down tomorrow. As with just about every Apple event, the rumor mills are in high gear, all trying to predict what new items and features we’ll see on the new iPhones, iPads, and iPods this time around. Sometimes, it gets a little overwhelming.
To help (or is that hinder?) separation of the wheat from the chaff, we’ve collected a number of the more popular rumors around the event and assembled them out here for easy consumption.
So, what kinds of hardware are we likely to see after Apple’s standard “how we’re doing” intro? Well.. let’s take a look:
Rumor 1: The iPhone 5 will have a larger screen.
There’s been a lot circulating around this one. Several photos of various case designs (and degrees of blurriness) have been floating about the Web, most of which seem to show a taller, slightly thinner shape, featuring a 16:9 screen.
Likeliness: There’s a good chance this is true; several mockups from a leading case manufacturer appeared at the IFA trade show in Berlin, and they all seem to have the same features. This late in the game, it’s probably a good indicator.
Rumor 2: The iPhone 5 will just be called “iPhone.”
Remember when the iPad 3 came out and Apple just referred to it as “the new iPad” in all its marketing material? There’s a good chance that they’ll do the same thing with the iPhone. Sure, there may be a parenthetical name in Apple’s database, similar to how the latest Mac mini is “Mac mini (Mid 2011).” As far as the marketing materials, though, it’ll just be called “iPhone.”
Likeliness: While the compulsion is strong for Apple to follow the naming scheme it came up with to the bitter end, the “5” in the shadow of the iOS announcement seems to indicate that numeric (or alphanumeric) suffixes may still be a part of the iPhone brand for at least one more iteration. Gonna call a 50/50 on this.
Rumor 3: 4G LTE
The iPhone 4S only runs at 3G speeds. The new iPad has 4G connectivity. Draw your own conclusions there. The only thing that’s in question is which carrier(s) will get the full 4G and which ones will have to settle for slower speeds?
Likeliness: Almost a certainty. If you’re making a data-intensive device, you’d better be able to utilize the fastest connections. The new iPhone had darn well better have it, or a lot of users will be really upset.
Rumor 4: Total revamp of iTunes.
iTunes has been around since 2001. Every year or so it gets updated (mostly for compatibility with new iDevices), but it’s generally just adding on to what’s already there, including things like the iTMS and App Store, movie management and other functions, turning it into more of a Swiss Army Knife of different media types, none of which it was originally designed for.
However there have been a substantial number of rumors talking about how iTunes is being rebuilt from the ground up, with several stating that it’d happen by the end of the year. Among the changes are a much cleaner interface, comprehensive iCloud support, iTunes streaming, a new iTunes Store and possibly even a whole new HD audio format.
Likeliness: With iOS 6 arriving, a probable new iPhone, and possibly other new hardware, this would seem to be the perfect time to drop a brand new iTunes.
Rumor 5: A smaller Dock Connector.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. The 30-pin Dock Connector has been around since 2003, where it made its first appearance on the third-generation iPod. Since then, all the iDevices (save for a couple different Shuffle designs) have had the same connector, which is also featured in a myriad of iPod/iPhone/iPad peripherals.
However, rather than going to a more universal connector, such as USB, Apple would just replace it with a slightly-smaller version.
Likeliness: I’m going to give a 85% chance on this. According to leaked photos, we’ll be looking at an eight-pin connector that can be inserted either way, unlike the current connector. This corresponds to the smaller dock connector opening in the iPhone case mentioned above. What will that mean for those with older Dock Connector devices? It’s hard to say, but it wouldn’t surprise me any to see some sort of adapter similar to the one for converting MagSafe to MagSafe 2. Granted, this won’t work well for tight-fit applications, such as in-dash car mounts, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?
Rumor 6: Hello, iPad mini.
Another rumor that’s seen its share of recycling since the original iPad’s release is the introduction of a smaller-scale iPad, hovering somewhere around the 7-inch mark and sitting in the $200-$300 range, putting it up against the lower-end tablets/readers like the Kindle and the Nook.
More recent rumors put the size closer to 7.8 inches but with a same 1024 x768 resolution. Though not Retina, it would have greater pixel density than the iPad 2, which had the same number of pixels in a 9.7 inch screen. On the plus side, at least it wouldn’t be an all-new resolution for app developers to consider.
Likeliness: Oooh… this is a tough one. This one has been around a while without bearing any fruit. At the same time, there must be something behind the rumors to have them keep resurfacing. With the Retina display 3rd Generation iPad as its flagship, will Apple drop the iPad 2 and replace it with a smaller-sized model? And even moreso, would they announce it now and let it steal some of the iPhone 5’s thunder? It’s a tough call, but I’m going to give it a 60% likeliness, only because it’s been around so long… and I’d totally buy one.
Rumor 7: Bye-bye, iPod Classic.
Slowly, but surely, Apple is moving away from platter-based storage in its portable devices. Right now, the only “portable” devices Apple makes that have platter-based drives are the non-Retina display MacBook Pros and the iPod Classic.
While the possibility exists to just swap the storage from HDD to flash, it would then start to overlap with the iPod touch, which, if updated, will probably jump to 128GB.
It’d be the end of an era, but it was one heck of an era.
Likeliness: Very very remote; I totally made this one up. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen in a year or two, with very similar justifications.
Of course, there are a lot of other rumors floating around, but these seem to be the big ones. What kinds of things are you looking forward to seeing? What sort of completely-out-of-left-field “one more thing” would you love to have trotted out on stage? Let us know in the comments below.