The rumor mill starts to churn.
Back at the start of 2011, all anyone musing about the iPhone 5 could talk about were the rumors of an NFC chip. They seemed credible at the time, and there was even suspicion that Apple would brute-force their way to mainstream adoption of the technology. Rumors of the NFC iPhone 5 have flittered in and out for the last few months.
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It looks as if NFC was just another example of the Apple rumor mill running with a story until it almost seemed valid. In a note today, Bernstein stated that the iPhone 5 will not debut with this new technology. This seems to confirm rumors that the next iPhone won't bring uis anything new.
We'll see the new A5 processor, sure, and the camera will likely be upgraded to 8 MP, but no improvements that are more than iterative. Considering the rather primitive state of NFC adoption in this country, it makes sense that Apple would want to wait. The dual-core processor gives them an opportunity to focus even more on gaming, a proven revenue stream with a ton of potential.
Apple may also use the iPhone 5 to expand their offerings to Sprint and T-Mobile. We don't have any more evidence than analyst speculation on this one. But the recent addition of the iPhone to Verizon's network has many speculating Apple's plans to push the iPhone even further. I'd put long odds on a Sprint or T-Mo iPhone launching in the immediate future. But stranger things have happened.
And speaking of stranger things, one new rumor has the iPhone 5 launching with an edge-to-edge touchscreen display. This rumor is based around a leaked Chinese iPhone 5 case. Which might be more authoritative than some analyst's speculation, but is far from conclusive. We see leaked cases every year before an iPhone launch. Few of them have anything useful to tell us.
The iPhone 5 is still expected by most to be unveiled this June. There has been continuing speculation that the handset will be delayed, though. The most recent of these rumors puts the launch date at some point in September. Reuters has word from three people with "Direct knowledge" of Apple's supply chain. These sources also claim the iPhone 5 will have a faster processor and a better camera, but a similar design to the iPhone 4. This rumor is also bullish on the iPhone 5 having NFC capabilities.
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At this stage of the game, every single iPhone rumor should be viewed as highly dubious. The Apple rumor mill is always prolific and seldom reliable. The vast majority of these 'rumors' should be viewed as nothing more concrete than educated speculation. Apple has excellent security, and tangible leaks are few and far between. They happen but, so far, none of these iPhone 5 rumors have the scent of undeniable truth to them.