Alright readers, put on your wild rumor hats and get ready for the craziest bit of speculation I've seen in months. Gizmodo ran a story today about the latest set of iPhone rumors from China Ontrade. In case you don't recall, China Ontrade is a parts wholesaler who posted up images of parts to the iPhone 3GS a month before that device was announced. Today, China Ontrade has images of parts for a fourth generation iPhone on their site.
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Since their 3GS images were proved to be legit last time, we have no reason to distrust them on this. Still, it makes no sense for the images to come out now. Parts for the fourth generation iPhone shouldn't even exist until a month or two before the official announcement. No manufacturer, especially one as paranoid about information security as Apple, wants to put their hardware out six months ahead of a release. This could mean that a surprise iPhone launch is around the corner.
Obviously, that rumor must be taken with a gigantic grain of salt. Another iPhone release half a year after the last one would be a major change of pace for Apple. That said, it also makes good business sense. Considering the increased competition from high-end Android smartphones like the Droid, Cupertino may have decided to step up their game. At this point, it's far too early to draw any hard conclusions about what this might mean.
While a new iPhone is one possibility, Gizmodo points out that these leaks could also be parts of an upcoming Apple Tablet. That would mean China Ontrade mislabeled their image (or was asked to by Apple) but in some ways that's a much more believable story than two iPhone launches in one year. Whatever the truth, we're sure to learn more over the coming weeks. I've got my fingers crossed that something cool is coming from Apple soon...