iPhone 6 rumour rollup for the week ending August 16

Only 25 days to go until the next iPhone?

As the days shorten, so does the iOSphere's patience. But we may only have to wait 25 days before our agony is over and the Next iPhone(s) is revealed.

Also this week: speculation about Apple's A7 processor powering the iPhone 5S or 6, whatever. In brief: it's better; Jimmy Lin's revelation; and how to understand flex cables when you don't really understand them.

You read it here second. ___________

"This [photo of an iPhone home button flex cable] features a much longer [flex] connector to the motherboard than before that could mean that the button is being used to transmit data. With that in mind, it's not a massive stretch to imagine that the home button could indeed house the fingerprint scanner that tech-site rumours suggest will be on board the handset."

~ Jonathan Leggett, USwitch, demonstrating that in the absence of any real technical knowledge about smartphone components, all you need is a stretchable imagination to know what's happening.


iPhone 5S, 5C, or 6 or some combination, to be announced September 10

Tuesday, September 10 is the latest, and most specific, date embraced by the iOSphere for Apple's announcement of the Next iPhone, or iPhones. Depending on...well, your overall mental condition, you might be expecting the iPhone 5S, the lower-priced 5C, or both, or even the iPhone 6.

The September 10 date was first revealed by Ina Fried, in a blog post at AllThingsD.

It could have been a one-sentence post: "Apple is expected to unveil its next iPhone at a special event on Sept. 10, sources told AllThingsD." The rest is basically filler. Fried didn't say how many sources or identify them in any way.

Veteran Apple watcher Jim Dalrymple, at his blog, The Loop, had a typically laconic response to Fried's claim: "Yep."

In the past, the iPhone has been released one to two weeks after its announcement.

Henceforth, the New iPhone will probably overshadow other historical events that took place on September 10, including: 422 - St Celestine I begins his reign as Catholic Pope; 1608 - John Smith elected president of Jamestown Virginia colony council; 1776 - George Washington asks for a spy volunteer, Nathan Hale volunteers; 1924 - Leopold & Loeb found guilty of murder; 2008 the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.

Researching the iOSphere reveals a range of analyses that shed light on how and why Apple might price a lower-cost iPhone "5C." See "Pricing a low-cost iPhone: How 'cheap' is cheap?"

iPhone 5S will have an improved processor, the A7

This rumor has been kicking around since Apple announced the iPhone 5 last year with the A6 chip. This time, a stock analyst is adding expectations and speculation about what an "A7" chip will actually be like.

The analyst is Ming-Chi Kuo, of KGI, who predicts that the upcoming iPhone 5S will have a new system-on-chip that will use ARM Ltd.'s latest instruction set, faster memory, and be 20% more "efficient" than the A6.

Kuo's note to investors this week was picked by a range of tech sites, including AppleInsider.The A6 was the first Apple SOC to have Apple-designed custom cores, an architecture dubbed Swift, rather than using cores designed by ARM. From AppleInsider: "Kuo believes Apple's upcoming A-series silicon to be based on the latest ARMv8 architecture. In comparison, the A6 was built on a custom ARMv7 setup that doubled number crunching and graphics speeds, while shrinking die size by 22 percent."

He expects that the new SOC will include faster memory, LPDDR3 RAM, compared to the LPDDR2 in the A6. "The increased bandwidth will allow Apple to maintain a relatively small amount of dedicated memory" though "Kuo expects the A7 to carry the same 1GB of on-die RAM" as the A6.

Currently Apple's chips are 32-bit. "Kuo notes that there is no clear evidence indicating whether the A7 will support 32-bit or 64-bit processes, but says he would not be surprised' to see 64-bit support this year."

Which is what stock analysts say instead of "I have no clue."

iPhone 5S revealed by Jimmy Lin

Unless you're a fan of 90's Taiwanese pop music or international car racing, or have a short memory, your reaction is probably the same as The Rollup's: who the heck is Jimmy Lin?

He is, according to both CNET and the rather gushing Wikipedia entry, a Taiwanese singer, actor, professional race crr driver, and entrepreneur. But his real claim to fame for the iOSphere is that he gets his hands on Apple products before they're announced. Last September, shortly before the iPhone 5 announcement, he posted pictures of himself using the phone, and listed a range of its features.

This week, CNET Asia found Lin's Weibo post that shows two photos of what appear to be a plastic "iPhone 5C."

"If you have any doubts about the veracity of the iPhone 5C, well, put those doubts to rest," CNET's Aloysius Low confidently assured readers. "Former teen Mandopop idol and current race car driver Jimmy Lin has leaked it on the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo.

One photo has Lin holding up the phone, showing the back. Another compares the white plastic 5C with a white iPhone 5.

The latter picture shows the plastic phone having, overall, the same size as the iPhone 5, possibly a bit thicker. The body has rounded edges rather than the flat metal banded sides of the most recent high-end phone models.

There you have it: straight from a Taiwanese singer, actor, professional race car driver, and entrepreneur. And you can check one of his music videos.

iPhone 5S/6 flex cables "hint at fingerprint scanner"

As is often the case in the iOSphere, the headline promises more than the blogpost actually delivers.

The headline at USwitch: "Exclusive: iPhone 5S / iPhone 6 flex cables leak, hint at fingerprint scanner."

According to USwitch's Jonathan Leggett, the UK-based device repair service meandmyi.com sent a set of low-resolutions images of parts purportedly from the iPhone 5S or 6.

There's no significant or at least noticeable changes in most of the parts compared to their corresponding parts in the iPhone 5, according to Leggett, though there's no indication that he has the technical background to actually understand what he's looking at.

The one that does show a difference is the "flex cable for the home button."

"This features a much longer connector to the motherboard than before that could mean that the button is being used to transmit data," Leggett says. Here's the picture of the "new" flex cable for the iPhone home button. Sure enough, there's a long cable.

And that could indeed mean Something.

"With that in mind, it's not a massive stretch to imagine that the home button could indeed house the fingerprint scanner that tech-site rumours suggest will be on board the handset," Leggett concludes. "And that's also tipped to feature on future iPads and Apple's debut smartwatch. "

This reminds the rollup of the year-ago iOSphere thrill that "leaked" components showed that Apple was adding an NFC chip to the upcoming iPhone 5, until someone who actually knew something about components, and smartphones, pointed out that the component in question could in no way be a NFC chip and was probably the "new touch and display controller combination" to support the iPhone 5's expected new in-cell display technology. [See "iPhone 5 will not have an NFC chip after all" in the August 31 Rollup.]

The Rollup isn't a component expert either. But if you're expecting to see a fingerprint sensor integrated with the home button, then any change to any related component becomes "proof" of your expectation. Leggett would be on stronger ground if he could actually explain why the longer cable is needed to "carry data" and why it has to be longer to do so.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for "Network World."Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: john_cox@nww.com

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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