By Jim Karpen updated on 08/29/2013
The rumors contradict one another, but eventually they merge. And often there are no big surprises on the day of Apple's announcement. Yesterday, I was convinced we'd see a low-cost iPhone first and then the iPhone 5S later this year. Now the latest rumors suggest that the "iPhone lite" is indeed in production and will come in two different flavors. However, today's rumors also say the iPhone 5S is still on track, with leaked photos and details about the specs. And if that's not enough, various posts are suggesting that no, there won't be a delay on an iPad mini with retina display and that we can expect it this fall.
If I were to bet, I'd say the most solid rumor so far is of the iPhone lite. But the iPhone 5S and iPad mini rumors also have a certain ring of authenticity. Ultimately, Apple itself may not know. It likely depends on how well prototypes work, the availability of components, and how well test production runs go. My impression is that it's a messy business with glitches and uncertainties, and that the timing and features may not be settled until late in the game. Apple's desire for perfection contributes to the uncertainties, because if a product isn't working as well as it thinks it should, it won't come out with it.
The latest round of iPhone lite rumors comes courtesy of some leaked documents and photos that PhoneArena says it discovered in a Chinese online forum. Apparently, the documents are training documents meant to acquaint employees with the forthcoming technology. PhoneArena says the iPhone lite is already in production and that it will come in two different flavors, code-named Zenvo and Zagato/Bertone. Seriously. Zenvo is said to have 1 GB of memory, an H5P 1.2 gigahertz dual core processor, and Bluetooth 4.0.
The more expensive Zagato/Bertone is expected to have the H6P processor, 1GB of memory, and a more advanced version of 4G LTE. The two different code names may suggest that there are slightly different versions of the same device for different markets. The Zenvo is supposedly already going into mass production, while the Zagato/Bertone is said to be in the prototyping stage.
Also leaked were purported photos of the casing, one of which accompanies this post, and which are in line with previous rumors regarding size, color, and shape.
Regarding the iPhone 5S, BGR has posted some photos of the casing and given some of the specs. Citing a Chinese source, it says the new phone will feature an IGZO display, 2GB of RAM, an A6 processor, an upgraded version of LTE 4G connectivity, a 12-megapixel camera, a dual-LED flash, a near-field communication chip (NFC), and a fingerprint scanner.
The biggest news is the IGZO display, which stands for Indium, Gallium, Zinc, Oxide, and which is advanced display technology that uses up to 90 percent less energy. That means the battery can be smaller (hence a thinner device) yet will last even longer.
And contradicting earlier rumors (which I have diligently passed along to you), DigiTimes says display manufacturer LG says it's resolved issues with a retina display on the iPad mini and that it's on track for an October launch. I hope they're right.