The new iPad's great contribution to the iOSsphere is how it's already fueling new rumors about the iPhone 5.
This week, existential angst about The Name, new iPad's revelations about the new iPhone, being unclear on Clearwire, and a formula for creating your own conclusion about The Date for iPhone 5.
You read it here second.
"iPhone 5 May Now Be Able to Operate on Clearwire"
~ Delaon, PlaneteInsane, summarizing how a phone that hasn't been released may run on a network that hasn't been built
iPhone 5 will have LTE/4G because the new iPad has it
"If the new iPad can make use of AT&T and Verizon's growing next-generation cellular networks, it's a fair bet the next iPhone will include that technology as well," writes Phil Hornshaw at Appolicious, summing up the Conventional Wisdom.
If one product has some New Thing, it's clear that a subsequent, completely different product will also have the New Thing. As Hornshaw says, "a transition to 4G for one Apple device pretty well signals that the company is on board with its capabilities, even as carriers continue to work on building their networks."
Because otherwise, it would be rather strange.
"It would seem rather strange that Apple would add 4G LTE technology to the iPad without bringing it to the iPhone as well," Hornshaw writes.
The LTE iPhone 5 "will be a significant step forward for Apple users, and a big boost in cellular data speeds when doing all kinds of mobile tasks and actions," he adds. Those would be mobile tasks and actions like sending a tweet, or updating your Facebook status, or checking the American Idol website. More bandwidth definitely means gaming, and web surfing and a "host of other things will be significantly improved," he gushes.
How have we managed without LTE all these years in the 3G wilderness?
There are a range of issues in bringing LTE to the iPhone, given Apple's emphasis on user experience and battery life. LTE networks in the U.S. are still pretty much in their infancy, with the number of subscribers only a fraction of 3G users. Apple recognized this in the new iPad, which perhaps more importantly than LTE support, also included support for still-faster 3G links, which is what most people will be using for the next several years.
The big question is whether Apple can get LTE/3G silicon that will be small enough and power-efficient enough to make it viable in 2012 for the next iPhone as compared to the just-announced new tablet.
iPhone 5 will not have the new A5X chip because the iPad already has it
This is actually a real news story, by Agam Shaw, of our sister group, IDG News Service. Shaw dug up some speculative analysis by a couple of industry boffins. Their consensus: Apple developed the new A5X CPU specifically for the new iPad, not as a general component that can also be included in the iPhone 5.
The analysts noted that they're still sorting through the not-very-many details known about the new CPU.
"The chips used in the first two iPads, the A4 and A5, both made their way into a new iPhone soon after," Shaw writes. "But the A5X, with its heavy focus on graphics, may not be ideal for smartphone use, and Apple may wait for a more power-efficient chip built with a new manufacturing process."
"I think that this new chip is probably just for the iPad," says Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst of The Linley Group. "It looks like they planned ahead for this."
Apple's earlier A4 and A5 chips, and the new A5X are all based on an ARM processor core, typically the Cortex-A9, which is widely used in many other phones. "Many current ARM-based chips are manufactured with a 40-nanometer process, but a shift to 28 nanometers is expected later this year," with the release of silicon based on the faster, more power-efficient Cortext-A15.
For the next iPhone, Apple may focus more on battery life than graphics, Gwennap suggests. "In that case, it may wait for a chip manufactured on a 28-nanometer manufacturing process, which should make the chip more power-efficient and cheaper to produce," he said.
iPhone 5 will run on Clearwire's LTE network...when it gets built
Over at the aptly-URL'ed PlanetInsane.com, a headline declares "iPhone 5 May Now Be Able to Operate on Clearwire."
The really confusing, if not insane, part is the use of the word "now" since neither the iPhone 5 nor Clearwire's wholesale LTE network (of which Sprint will be the main carrier customer) actually exist. Fierce Wireless reported recently that Clearwire says "its first wave of TD-LTE 5,000 cell sites up and running by June 2013."
"According to Eric Prusch, Clearwire's CEO, their strategy to shift to LTE will make it very easy for any iPhone to use their Network and it could prove to be a big benefit for the fruit company," Delaon writes.
Somehow we doubt Prusch actually said that, since the only phones that could use an LTE network are phones equipped with an LTE radio. Right now, that would mean no iPhones. And the idea that the "fruit company" would reap a "big benefit" from a network that won't exist in any meaningful sense for at least a year strikes us as far-fetched.
Delaon notes that Clearwire is building a TD-LTE (for "Time Division" network, a standard which emerged from China and uses a different duplexing scheme than the main standard being deployed in the U.S., FD (for Frequency Division) LTE.
"This [TD-LTE] network is somehow different compared to FD-LTE variant which seems to have been favored by Sprint, Verizon and AT&T networks," Delaon writes, apparently without having a browser handy to Google "what's the difference between FD and TD LTE networks?"
Robert Anderson, writing at Capacity Magazine, drew on a recent Goldman Sachs report to briefly describe those differences, which include TD being more efficient in its use of spectrum, and able to dynamically adjust capacity, but FD covering wider distances, and not having to make use of guard intervals to keep uplinks and downlinks separate.
Eventually, the difference will be resolved by chip manufacturers: already Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson have announced plans to introduce chips that will work on either network. But even if iPhone 5 does have an LTE chip it's not clear it will run on Clearwire's network. Apple is selling separate FD-LTE versions of the new iPad, one for AT&T and one for Verizon. Where Clearwire fits into Apple's LTE plans, or schedule, isn't clear.
Everybody-and-his-brother's LTE network is seen as supporting the next iPhone. Adam Mills at GottaBeMobile reports that regional carrier C-Spire, which currently has the iPhone 4S, announced that it will start rolling out its LTE network in some parts of Mississippi in September.
"It didn't, however, announce any sort of devices that would accompany the carrier entry into the world of 4G LTE," Mills noted, significantly. "However, we can think of at least one. Apple's next iPhone which is presumed to be 4G LTE in nature."
iPhone 5 will be actually be called "The New iPhone"
"Nicole" at InRumor starts her post, headlined "Will the iPhone 5 be released as 'The New iPhone'?" with a quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook, concluding this week's new iPad announcement: "Across the year, you're going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation."
Apparently, calling the Next iPhone the new iPhone is the height of this kind of innovation, in Nicole's eyes.
Not just some people, but "many people" are confused by Apple's name game with the new iPad, Nicole declares.
"Taking all these into account, do you believe the company will release the iPhone 5 under the name of The New iPhone?" she asks. "Everything is possible, especially when it comes to Apple, a company renowned for its unpredictability."
Surely we knew that before the announcement of the new iPad.
If Nicole is confused, Michael Nace at iPhone5NewsBlog seems to be enduring an existential crisis brought on by the name of the new iPad and its implications for the name of the new iPhone.
"Apple Enthusiasts Confused Over 'New iPad' Name," his headline declares.
Instead of some name with a qualifier like "3" or "HD" we're stuck with this "nondescript" and "minimalist" moniker "New iPad."
Nace and Nicole are among those who truly believe the product name is either "The New iPad" or "New iPad." Yet clearly it's not. Apple's Website product tab simply says "iPad." The text refers variously to "third-generation" and "new" but both terms clearly are, to use Nace's own term, "qualifiers," not the proper name of the product.
Nace is disconcerted. "[I]t is Apple's marketing department that has ginned up its own customers by establishing reasonable naming conventions for its devices — and then wantonly breaking them in disconcerting fashion," he complains. We've always wondered where Apple's wanton naming-convention breakers were lurking.
"With the 'New iPad,'we don't really know what we have here," Nace continues, the angst clearly deepening. "Is this a refresh of the iPad 2, or an overhauled design? According to the preponderance of evidence from the mainstream tech media, the New iPad has not impressed enough to warrant calling it an overhaul. Thus, even though the New iPad is the third-generation iPad, will there be an 'iPad 3' next year?"
Our head is going to explode. Why, oh why is Apple causing us now to wonder if the fourth-generation iPad will actually be called iPad 3?
There are lessons here for the next iPhone. "Many analysts believe that Apple should technically name the 2012 iPhone "iPhone 6," skipping over the long-awaited "iPhone 5″ moniker in order to bring the sixth-generation iPhone's name in line with its iteration," Nace writes, without citing any of these many analysts, and leading to the suspicion that "many analysts" actually means "I."
"And for all we know, [Apple] may call it the "New iPhone," Nace writes, the HTML code almost quivering with indignation.
"One thing is for sure, Apple's new name for New iPad has once again made it impossible to know for sure what brand name they will stamp on their next device, making it increasingly difficult to divine what Cupertino is up to in their R&D department," Nace concludes.
When you put it like that, it's so obvious: If you can't know what they're going to call the darn thing, how can you know what they'll put in it?
The iPhone 5 will be announced at some point
That's the conclusion of an anonymous post at an anonymous blog, headlined "2012 iPhone 5 Release Date - When Exactly?"
"[W]e have managed to gather up a few points that might help you deduce the 2012 iPhone 5 release date on your own," writes the author, causing us to wonder if the few points help readers deduce when the phone will be announced, why doesn't he deduce it and just tell us?
Instead the post does the faux-analysis that's a hallmark of iOSphere sites like Beatweek. The writer claims there are three variables which are all revealed to the One who can plumb the secretive depths of Apple.
"If the iPad 3 is released in the next few months, it would automatically mean that Apple will have to give a buffer period before the release of the iPhone 5," the writer declares. "It would be incredibly silly for Apple to release the next generation iPhone and the next generation iPad, within just a few months of each other."
And why would it be silly? "It would be silly because Apple would essentially be cannibalizing their own sales," Anonoauthor writes. "In other words, they might get their loyal customer to buy an iPad 3 or an iPhone 5 although it would be very unlikely that the average Apple customer will purchase both high profile products at the same time."
This "reasoning" apparently means that the average Apple customer wants to buy both, but won't if the two purchases are made "within just a few months of each other."
"This logically means that the 2012 iPhone 5 release date will not fall in the summer months of 2012. It would invariably get postponed to the fall months of 2012," the author concludes.
But there's a catch: "The only exception to this scenario is if Apple releases the iPad 3 this month (March) and then released the iPhone 5 after about 3 months from now, in June." In other words, it would be incredibly silly for Apple to release iPhone 5 three months from now in June, unless...that's what actually happens.
Then there's the LTE thing. "Since second generation 4G LTE chips will be production ready only in the second half of 2012, the release of the next iPhone might also be correspondingly delayed."
Finally, there's the iPhone 4S thing. "Though Apple might not give the iPhone 4S a 16 month prime shelf space period, we also think that they would certainly not make it an outdated iPhone by releasing the iPhone 5, within a year of the iPhone 4S' launch."
So, the conclusion is that iPhone 5 will certainly be announced anytime from June through December 2012.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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