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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The iPhone 5 debuted in September 2012, so rumors are ramping up about Apple’s next handset. Photo: Alex Washburn/Wired
Each week, there are dozens of Apple rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Cupertino next. Some are legit, but most are totally bogus. We parse the week’s rumors for you, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “Duh, of course.” First up…
DON’T COUNT ON IT: Leaked photos of the iPhone 5S shell, plus specs
A Chinese-language site called C Technology (reposted by BGR) published pictures of what could be the iPhone 5S shell. There’s no way to verify these photos as being accurate, as they look pretty much identical to the iPhone 5, and we’ve seen how easy it is for other manufacturers to ape the iPhone.
As for specs, a “4-inch IGZO display with the same Retina resolution as the iPhone 5, an A6 processor clocked a bit faster than the current model, quad-core SGX 554MP4 graphics, 2GB of RAM and an upgraded LTE radio,” they sound pretty reasonable, but simply can’t be verified at this point.
DON’T COUNT ON IT: Apple may delay the introduction of the iPhone 5S
Apple could be upgrading the next iPhone to a 4.3-inch Retina display screen, and that could delay the launch of the next handset until the end of the year, according to the Taiwanese newspaper the Commercial Times
(as reported by Bloomberg).
Apple just
upped the screen size of the iPhone last year, giving developers a new 4-inch screen size to accommodate. Apple is also revealing a revamped iOS 7 interface in the fall that will require a lot of app developers to redesign their apps so they fit in with the new look. So, another form factor for developers to have to wrangle? No. It’s too soon. Apple also traditionally iterates on the form factor every other generation, which would mean the next iPhone would share the same design cues and dimensions as the current iPhone 5.
VERY DOUBTFUL: Apple patent details in-display fingerprint technology — and it’s delaying the iPhone 5S
Apple patent filings are hit or miss. A patent could be an indicator of a technology the company is dedicating significant resources towards, or it could be a decoy to lead competitors (and the press) away from what it’s actually working on. One of the latest is that Apple is working on in-display fingerprint sensing technology. Apple’s been rumored to be including biometrics in upcoming iOS devices since it acquired fingerprint security firm Authentec in the fall of 2012. It’s possible that Apple could include this technology in an iOS device this year or next.
A related report suggests that iPhone 5S production is delayed because of poor fingerprint sensor yields, pushing the launch of the next iPhone into September. September, you say? The same month the iPhone was released in 2012? Wow, it really does sound delayed.
ASK AGAIN LATER: Apple pitching ad-skipping as part of its new TV service
This report lands in the middle of the list because well, Apple’s TV doesn’t exist yet, but the source is strong. Former WSJ
reporter Jessica Lessin writes on her own blog that Apple has been talking with cable companies and television networks about allowing users to skip the commercials, as long as those skipped ads are paid for.
Apple’s been coy about its endeavors in the TV space, and various rumors and reports have been swirling since 2011. It seems the major snags holding up the platform’s launch are in deals with TV and cable networks, if all the rumors and reports are to be trusted.
SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple is aggressively hiring for its smartwatch project
Apple is on a hiring spree to dedicate personnel and resources to its rumored smart watch project, says the Financial Times
(via MacRumors).
The smartwatch project itself is akin to Apple’s television project — a lot of signs are indicating there’s something in development, but there’s no hard proof yet. However, based on Apple’s recent hirings, it does seem the company is working on a wearable device of some kind. 9to5Mac detailed a number of sensor and fitness experts that have gone to work for Apple recently. Apple also snatched up former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve to work on “special projects.”
WITHOUT A DOUBT: Apple is ramping up next-gen iPhone production
According to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek and sources familiar to AllThingsD, Apple is kicking up production levels for its next iPhone. Considering the last iPhone was released in September 2012, and Apple seems to have moved to a fall release date for its flagship handset, this report is spot on with where we’d expect Apple to be at this point in the year. Or: Duh, of course Apple is ramping up iPhone production right now.
Related, Digitimes reports that Apple’s integrated chip orders are also ramping up. If Apple is ramping up overall iPhone production, then yeah, integrated chips are a part of that, too.

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How many phones do you want to use in two years? One? Two? Four? Photo: Arial Zambelich / Wired
The new upgrade and “no-contract” plans from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless are made for people who frequently feel the burning need to get the newest, greatest device on the market.
Unlike traditional smartphone plans, which require you to wait up to two years between purchases to get a new phone at a price fully subsidized by the carriers (usually $100 or $200), these new plans let subscribers acquire a brand new phone as often as twice per year. But when you switch to a newer phone, you’re either borrowing the handset from the carrier and handing it back when it’s time for your next upgrade, or you’re buying it at a higher, unsubsidized price and paying it off in monthly installments that get tacked onto your bill. That might sound like a sweet deal on the surface — there’s potentially no up-front payment for a phone and no need to wait out a two-year contract to get another shiny handset. However, these plans come with so many caveats and restrictions that they’re only worth it to people who are desperate to be super-trendy and must
own the latest gadgets. Also, the options to buy the phones are more costly, so these plans will only appear attractive to people with the extra money to spend.
The major carriers apparently think there are enough people beneath this umbrella, or at least enough customers who can be tricked into thinking these plans are a good buy. But if you’re switching carriers or starting off fresh and the advantages of these new upgrade plans do
suit you, at least be informed. Check the chart below to see which deal is best for you. But keep in mind that you’ll end up spending a whole lot more to own your device.T-Mobile JumpAT&T NextVerizon EdgeStandard Two-Year ContractAvailabilityNowJuly 26August 25NowCost of Phone (iPhone 5, 16GB)$21/month, $156 up front$32.50/month (total cost divided by 20 months)$27.08/month (total cost divided by 24 months)Typically $200 up frontAllowed UpgradesTwice a yearEvery 12 monthsEvery six monthsVerizon, Sprint (Google sells unlocked version for AT&T and T-Mobile)Total Phone Payments Required Before You Can UpgradeSix payments: $28212 payments: $39050-percent of phone cost: $325Up front of $200Cost of Service (Individual)$10/month to enroll in Jump, $50 to $70 for service$60 to $140$90 to $140Same as above, depending on carrierWhen You Can Leave CarrierAfter you've paid off your last handset in full or returned it.After you've paid off your last handset in full or returned it.After you've paid off your last handset in full or returned it.After two-year contract.Total Cost of Phones w/ Max Upgrades Over Two YearsFour phones: $1,128; own noneTwo phones: $780; own noneFour phones: $1,300; own noneOne phone: $200; own oneMain Drawbacks and CaveatsYou must pay the full unsubsidized price for a phone in order to own it, or else give it back when you upgrade. To leave the carrier, you must return the device or pay for it in full.You only get to upgrade once a year. You must pay the full unsubsidized price for a phone in order to own it, or else give it back when you upgrade. To leave the carrier, you must return the device or pay for it in full.You have to pay for half of the phone before you can upgrade. You must pay the full unsubsidized price for a phone in order to own it, or else give it back when you upgrade. To leave the carrier, you must return the device or pay for it in full.You have to wait two years to upgrade.

If you must go with one of these new-fangled upgrade plans, T-Mobile’s is the best deal. You can upgrade up to twice per year (though you don’t have to) and the cost per phone at minimum upgrade time is the least costly. You do still have to fork over a down payment up-front, and there’s a $10 monthly charge to enroll in Jump, but the less expensive data plans make up for that.
AT&T’s plan is the biggest rip-off. You have to complete 12 months worth of phone payments before you upgrade. Assuming you’re upgrading to the latest, most expensive smartphones, then you’ll end up paying for more than half of the phone, and well over the amount you’d have paid had you opted for a two-year contract. Verizon isn’t much better, considering you have to pay for half the cost of the phone to upgrade. Both carriers still charge their standard service plan rates.
Essentially, these plans are high-cost rental services that want to take advantage of your desire to be on top of the continuous, churning wheel of smartphone releases. The fact is: Most phones are still good after two years. They might not be the newest, fastest and shiniest, but they’re usually still working fine and capable of running the latest software. And of course, there’s the negative environmental impact of frequently upgrading your mobile devices to consider. Join these plans at your own risk and expense.

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