The iOSsphere was roiled and roused this week by the stunning news that the iPhone 5 will drive higher Apple sales. Unless Apple releases the iPhone 4S-S instead. See also iPhone 5 release date, specs and rumour round-up.
In other rumors, Apple will commemorate the anniversary of Steve Jobs' death in a very special way; maybe LTE isn't such a good idea for iPhone 5 after all; and insanely great flash technology.
You read it here second.
"We find these rumors to be very valid, for the simple fact that Steve Jobs gave utmost importance to the design of Apple products."
The Apple Biter's Blog at Iphone5Reviewed.com, on why the Next iPhone will be released on the anniversary of Jobs' death.
iPhone 5 will be released Oct. 5, 2012, to commemorate Steve Jobs' death
"Sensational News Or Just Rumor?" asks the candidly insincere headline at something called the Apple Biter's Blog at iPhone5Reviewed.com.
"It could very well be that the iPhone 5 will be released on October 5, 2012, if sources close to Apple are right about the rumors that the iPhone 5 will be released on the first anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, to pay homage to the inventor of the iPhone," the anonymous post proclaims, without even a hint as to who the sources might be. Not even "sources in Apple's Asian supply chain."
RUMOR TRACKER: iPhone rumor roll-up for week ending Dec. 16
The post is built on a solid foundation of other rumors, such as the rumor that Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs wasn't really interested in the iPhone 4S and instead devoted himself to the radically redesigned iPhone 5.
The iPhone 4S was announced Oct. 4, 2011; Jobs died the following day.
"We find these rumors to be very valid, for the simple fact that Steve Jobs gave utmost importance to the design of Apple products," the post announces, reassuringly. "Considering that Jobs put so much effort into the iPhone 5, it will only be befitting for Apple to release the iPhone 5 on the first anniversary of Jobs' death...."
In that case, it's probably only befitting to not expect a white iPhone 5.
Expect escalating buzz, really big sales for iPhone 5
We're not sure why this rumor, more technically known as "financial market analysis," is getting Web notice, given past history. It would be more noteworthy if a financial analyst predicted decreasing buzz and paltry sales for an Apple product.
In any case, MacObserver's John Martellaro was one of many who got their hands on a copy of the latest note to investors from Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster (described by the NY Post in its coverage as a "notorious Apple enthusiast"). Martellaro's headline: "Piper Jaffray: A Strong Apple Product Year in 2012."
From Munster's note: "We expect buzz around a redesigned iPhone 5 to escalate in early CY12 until Apple launches it midway through the year."
This must be why Wall Street analysts get paid the Big Bucks.
Munster is "expecting an iPhone 5 and an iPad 3 to drive revenue growth in 2012," MacObserver observed Munster observing. "Our bull case scenario reflects CY13 iPhone revenue growth of 35 percent vs. base case growth of 18 percent," Munster wrote.
He's also predicting that Apple's share price, now close to $400 will rise to $607 in 2012.
This is being bullish. But looking to the past, perhaps nowhere near bullish enough.
In a couple of recent posts, Asymco's Horace Dediu compared Apple's actual results in certain areas against analysts' projections. In his first post, "Why Apple is Cheap," Dediu created a fictional narrative in an attempt to explore the reasoning of analysts who then made specific projections for Apple's yearly earnings growth. He showed the results in yearly charts but summed them up on a final chart.
In every case, the projections "just reflecting common sense" assessments and assumptions showed great consistency: they hugely under-estimated each year's earnings growth.
In a followup post, "On Being Reasonable," Dediu wondered if analysts "don't project growth based on historic growth, but project earnings given historic earnings." His accompanying chart shows Apple's actual earnings per share, in blue, as something approaching the classic "hockey stick" - very fast, steep, consistent growth. But the projections of earnings, in grey, again consistently and until 2010 hugely underestimated that growth.
"Seen this way, we can imagine how the projections can be considered 'reasonable,'" Dediu wrote. "What none of them imply is exponential growth. But would forecasting exponential growth be considered reasonable? Clearly not, since it's never been consensus. But disruptive companies do follow non-linear growth.... The failure is therefore not of reason but of failing to use a model that assumes acceleration of sales. I believe that institutional financial advisors are conditioned (or coerced) into assuming that nothing unreasonable ever happens. That seems like a completely flawed foundation to stand on."
Especially, perhaps, with Apple.
Maybe we should hope that iPhone 5 will NOT have LTE
That iOSsphere heresy was put forth in the Houston Chronicle's TechBlog, by Dwight Silverman, an iPhone user who wrote about his experience testing Google's new Galaxy Nexus LTE smartphone, which has a dual-core processor and a 4.65-inch screen.
His post is headlined "Think you want an iPhone with LTE? Think again."
"It's assumed by those who pay attention to Apple rumors that the iPhone 5 will feature a new design with a bigger screen and the ability to access wireless carriers' new 4G networks, particularly AT&T's and Verizon's LTE service," Silverman writes, accurately summarizing the Gospel According to the iOSsphere. "After all, if the Android competition has these features, the iPhone should, too, right?"
"Well, not so fast. After spending some time the past few days with the Galaxy Nexus, Google's flagship Android device, I'm not so sure," he continues.
The reason: the Galaxy Nexus sucks up battery power the way an Abrams tank sucks up gasoline - that is, a lot and really fast.
Silverman recorded some astounding LTE data throughput speeds on his test phone, uplink and down: many multi-megabytes. (You can see his screenshot display here.) Speeds: 13 Mbps to 44 Mbps (down?) and 14.6 to 16.8 Mbps (up?).
"As an iPhone user, I drool at the possibility of having these speeds on the next-generation iOS device. But I also am wary of them, because they come at a price," Silverman writes. "The battery life on the Galaxy Nexus is abysmal when it's connected to the LTE network... It only takes a few minutes of using the Galaxy Nexus on LTE for the battery meter to noticeably deplete, and heaven forbid you should do any sustained access that involves lots of screen activity."
In one test, he started watching a Netflix video with the phone at full charge. "Thirty minutes later, it was down by 50 percent," he writes. By contrast, he says, "most iPhone owners can expect their phones to last at least a full day without having to reach for the charger with moderate use." [What would have been illuminating is if he had done the same thing with a 3G iPhone at full charge and made a direct comparison.]
Almost in passing, Silverman makes an especially apt observation: "The Galaxy Nexus has a dual, core, 1.2-GHz processor, which can be power-hungry. And as I mentioned earlier, the screen on the Galaxy Nexus is big, and it draws a lot of power, and in fact is the biggest user of the battery based on metrics included in the Android 4.0 settings."
IOSsphere rumors consistently predict or wish or demand a faster processor for iPhone 5 (including fantasies of a quadcore chip to replace the newest dual-core A5 in iPhone 4S), and bigger, higher-resolution screens. As Silverman points out, these are all features the Galaxy Nexus has, in addition to LTE, and all of them soak up battery power.
"Presumably, if the next iPhone comes with LTE, it will use newer-generation chipsets and Apple will have tuned iOS for battery longevity," Silverman concludes. "But I'm not optimistic."
He obviously is out-of-sync with the rumor zeitgeist.
iPhone 5 will have awesome flash technology
This rumor is based on the fact that another rumor circulating for several weeks actually turned out to be true: Apple apparently has forked over $500 million for an Israeli-based company, Anobit, which makes flash storage.
For many in the iOSsphere, the meaning of the acquisition is instantly clear: iPhone 5 will have some kind of insanely great flash storage.
"Anobit Acquisition Means More Storage, Battery Life, and Speed for iPhone 5" headlines the post at Invention and Technology News, by Nickolay Lamm. He's pretty enthusiastic, predicting Anobit will extend battery life, increase storage capacity, give faster access of music and video, thinner mobile devices, and perhaps lower prices.
A more measured analysis, as usual, comes from Anand Lal Shimpi, at AnandTech.com: "Apple Acquires Anobit: Bringing NAND Endurance Technology In-House"
NAND flash storage for mobile devices is a complex set of tradeoffs, which have to be juggled carefully to find an optimal balance of performance, durability and cost, he writes. Anobit is one of a number of firms addressing an area that will be increasingly important for Apple's mobile (and non-mobile) products.
'If all Apple gains from Anobit is bringing some smart NAND folks on staff, the cost won't really break the bank," Lal Shimpi writes. "The obvious fit is to integrate Anobit's technology into Apple's ARM based SoCs [system-on-chip]. These SoCs already talk to NAND directly and integrating better error correction/reliability processing into the SoC just makes sense. For all we know, Apple already uses this technology in its SoCs and is simply acquiring Anobit to make it more difficult for competing SoC makers to do the same. Integration and assimilating value are the cornerstones of building a good SoC, this move makes sense (assuming Anobit's technology is actually good)."
He doesn't speculate on whether iPhone 5 will feature this level of integration.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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