The iOSphere discovered a heretofore buried love for all things blue collar with the release of "real" machinist drawings that show, in precise lines and millimeter measurements, the shape of iPad 5.
Also this week, a thorough analysis of iPad announcement and release dates, one that as is often the case in the iOSphere leaves us bereft of knowing anything for sure; the disappearance of iPad discounts at big retailers like Walmart and BestBuy and, for some iOSpherians, the disappearance of hope that the Next iPads would be announced at all in 2013; and Apple contemplates a magical bezel with "endless possibilities." That's what it's all about.
You read it here second.
"Considering how we expect Apple to release iOS 7 on Sept. 18, followed shortly by the release date of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, respectively, we believe Apple will introduce the iPad 5 at a separate event in October, just like last year, and push the release date of the iPad 5, as well as the sequel to last year's iPad Mini, to late October 2013."
~ Dave Smith, International Business Times, whose facility with Apple's product plans and timing is as precise as it is unwarranted.
iPad 5 case design revealed by machinist drawings
For months, the iOSsphere has speculated, without much hard evidence, that iPad 5 will be physically redesigned to resemble the outward appearance of iPad mini.
And now, we have a "disclosure" purported machine shop drawings -- that proves it.
[APPLE IPHONEYS:The iPhone 6 & 5S edition]
"This hypothesis holds that the road has finally, in case you still have any doubt, to be confirmed by the disclosure of schematic plans hull iPad 5 printed on an internal document for reference in the machining this item," according to the charmingly garbled Google translation of the French language post by Steve Hemmerstoffer, who runs the French techsite, NowhereElse.fr.
This time he reveals something about his source. In fact, he reveals more about the source and his anonymous employer than he does about what the documents show of the Next iPad.
"Note that our source says that the author of this photo, which would undoubtedly have proved reliable in the past, worked in a machining company working for several years with Apple..."
A close-up of part of the drawing shows what is presumed to be an iPad case in profile with a rounded corner similar to the iPad mini, and labeled at 7.9 mm thick or 0.31 inches.
This apparently is astounding news. According to Sahil Bones Gupta, at BoyGeniusReport, this means that iPad 5 "is much thinner than the iPad 4."
But the current fourth-generation iPad, which has noticeably more sloping corners, is 0.37 inches thick; and the iPad mini is 0.28 inches. So the iPad 5 will be 0.05 inches thinner than the current tablet.
Based on the measurements in the drawing, Hemmerstoffer created a comparison of iPad 5 with current the iPad and the iPad mini, and sure enough, the over-all dimensions for the Next iPad's body reveal a device that's slightly smaller and very slightly thinner than the current model.
Some in the iOSphere were dazzled. If These Leaked iPad 5 Blueprints Are Real, Apple's Upcoming Tablet Will Look Great," proclaims the headline to a post by Dylan Love. He apparently means that iPad 5 will look great because it will looks just like the iPad mini.
The drawings, and all they portend, are so much more satisfying than those "vulgar fakes," as Hemmerstoffer describes them, which have so often been foisted on the trusting iOSphere.
iPad 5, iPad mini 2 will be released after new iPhones, if not before...or at the same time as
In one of those faux-informed analyses typical of the iOSphere, Dave Smith of International Business Times, assures his readers that "we expect" Apple to release iOS 7, then iPhone 5S and iPhone 6, and then iPad 5 and iPad mini 2, all starting Sept. 18.
In his post, Smith lays out specific dates with the precision of a Swiss railway schedule. And then somewhat confuses everything by skipping blithely between "introducing" the new products and "releasing" them.
"Considering how we expect Apple to release iOS 7 on Sept. 18, followed shortly by the release date of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, respectively, we believe Apple will introduce the iPad 5 at a separate event in October, just like last year, and push the release date of the iPad 5, as well as the sequel to last year's iPad Mini, to late October 2013," he writes.
Then he goes into a detailed analysis of the October dates for the iPad release, without really clarifying when it would be announced.
"Looking at the various Fridays in October 2013 -- the release date for iPad will always fall on Fridays, even when the unveiling oscillates between Tuesdays and Wednesdays -- Apple could choose to release the iPad 5 on Oct. 4, which would be the two-year anniversary of Steve Jobs' death," he writes. Perhaps the Death Anniversary Models will be available only in black.
"However, if Apple chooses two separate [September] weekends to release its iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 to avoid massive crowds at its retail stores, the company would essentially be rushing the iPad 5 unveiling just so it can release on time," he continues, without explaining why the iPad but not either of the iPhones would be "rushed" under this schedule.
But then Smith says the October 4 release date for iPad 5 "would make sense" if the tablet was announced at the same September 10 event as the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. "[B]ut it's possible Apple will wait until later in the month to release the iPad 5 to give more breathing room for Apple to properly market its newest iPhones, but also to market the iPad 5 and the next-gen iPad mini at the same time," he concludes.
It's not clear why Apple needs "more breathing room" to "properly market" the new iPhones before the new iPads are announced, nor how that breathing room would make it easier for Apple to market the new iPads "at the same time," especially when both classes of iOS devices practically market themselves.
The entire post seems to be a long way of saying "I think Apple most likely probably will announce and release several new mobile products in the Fall sometime.
iPad 5, iPad mini 2 delayed because Walmart and Best Buy not offering discounts
It seems as if only last month...in fact it was last month...that the iOSphere was agog that the iPad and iPad mini discounts offered by Walmart and Best Buy were harbingers of the imminent release of the Next iPads.
Phil Moore at StableyTimes, a New Kind of News, explained that "the combination of slashing prices on a popular product while simultaneously running out of that product is a powerful piece of evidence pointing to its impending replacement with a new version."
And Clare Hopping, at TheFullSignal, assured her readers that "The iPad Mini 2 could launch in a couple of months following a price cut at Walmart." That would be July. "Price cuts and no replenished store supplies usually mean a retailer is readying the replacement of a device," she explained, channeling Moore's deep insight into inventory management.
But now, Hopping has hopped into a slough of despond. The headline to her post: "iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 2013 release date rumors quashed."
Rhymes with squashed; similar to crushed; analogous to ground into dust.
"Best Buy has replenished its supply of the iPad mini and iPad 4, which is something that normally doesn't happen if a device is soon to be replaced by another device," she writes, sounding almost plaintive. "Normally, a retailer will let supplies of the device completely run dry before a new one is announced, sometimes slashing the price dramatically."
But. Gosh darn. Both Walmart and BestBuy are now selling (as of July 3) the iPad and iPad mini at their regular starting prices, of $499 and $329 respectively.
"However, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5's prices have been slashed, suggesting the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 is on its way," Hopping adds. One has to admire the quashed/slashed internal alliteration.
You can see the reasoning. Clearly. Slashing prices means you're clearing out one product to make way for a new product. Except when it doesn't mean that. Probably because of some unknown and unknowable glitch in the Apple supply chain; or because of some Machiavellian marketing machination hatched by Apple. In any case, it didn't work with the iPad price cuts. But! It will work with the iPhone price cuts, because these suggest the next iPhone is on its way. Therefore, the Next iPads are not on their way, at least for 2013, so we'll see them in 2014.
Just watch for those price cuts and don't let your hopes get quashed.
iPad 5 will have a bezel that doubles as a secondary touch input
AppleInsider's Mikey Campbell was among the first to take note of a newly published Apple patent application for a "smart bezel," so-called because it apparently can function as part of the display, at least for additional touch inputs.
The patent itself, of course, nor Campbell's post, actually mention "iPad 5" but the iOSphere's fill-in-the-blanks mindset abhors a vacuum even more than Mother Nature. Or, these days, Father Nature.
Campbell describes the patent document as describing a "touch-sensitive bezel that can serve as a secondary mode of input for devices with small screens, as well as change from transparent to opaque upon sensing a user's finger."
"The patent describes a system in which a portable device's display is partly overlapped by a touch-enabled bezel that is either partially, or entirely, light-transmissive," he endeavors to explain. "In the patent, the screen is split into two sections, the uncovered active viewing area' and the covered second portion' of the display.
TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington claims that "could not only add touch controls to a bezel on a small device screen (like one for an iWatch), but that would also make it possible for that bezel to fade in and out of view, providing maximum screen real estate when required, and then coming back into view when it would work better to have a bordered screen."
This is useful, he claims, it lets Apple maximize screen real estate, but minimize the overall size of the device (by shrinking the bezel), which in the iPad mini "necessitated building new [Apple] tech to discount accidental touches around the edge of the screen."
Ian Kar, at Heavy.com, can hardly restrain himself. "Will the iPad Mini 2 Have A Touch-Screen Border?" his headline asks.
"There are a ton of possibilities with this new development," he assures his readers. "Game developers can turn the bezel into another input method, which can drastically change the way we play games on our tablets. Rewinding video could be as easy as running your finger down the side of the screen. Or, Apple could just make the bezel a second screen -- with a permanent status bar and a dock, just like OS X. The possibilities are endless, as cliche as that sounds."
"Drastically changing" the way one does anything on the World's Most Popular tablet line doesn't seem like a major design goal for Apple, given the disruption such changes can cause in the user experience. But having an "active" bezel responsive to touches and gestures would give Apple more options to evolve, eventually, that user experience.
But the patent application was filed in September 2012. We're not holding our breath that it will be "embodied" in September 2013.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for "Network World."
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