iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending August 30

The iOSphere was brightened by a gray beam of light this week: new photos showing a new color. Though a better name, a more Appleish name, is "graphite."

That's a fourth color for the soon-expected iPhone 5S or 6, along with the jazzy champagne and traditional slate and eggshell.

Also this week, a resurrected rumor fingers Labor Day as The Day, for the announcing of the Next iPhone(s), even though Apple seems to be running late with the invites; the future of plastic bodies for more iPhones and iPads; and the Human Fly on the Wall explains what Steve said to Tim.

[MORE:12 crazy good iOS photography apps

RELATED:Network World First Look: Apple's iOS 7

You read it here second.

iPhone 6 or 5S will be a rainbow of colors...a muted rainbow

In addition to the wildly exciting gold, or "champagne" iPhone, we now look forward to the sleek gray, or "graphite," iPhone, based on still more photos posted by the world famous Sonny Dickson, of Australia. The photos purport to show a grey-bodied iPhone "5S", some with a variety of internal components also displayed.

If true, buyers of the rumored iPhone 5S will be able to choose the high-end iPhone in traditional slate and white, plus champagne and graphite. That much choice could overwhelm the iOSphere.

Some of the photos reveal the front and back of the graphite phone along with an array of internal but unidentified components. In this photo, the third from left is apparently a home button assembly, which may or may not have an integrated fingerprint scanner somewhere.

iPhone 6 to be released on Labor Day, September 2

Just in time for the holiday, a recycled rumor claims that Apple will announce the iPhone 6 or whatever it's called on Labor Day, Tuesday, Sept. 2. Or possibly today or tomorrow.

"Word is going around that Apple may announce the Apple iPhone 6 before the end of August or early September," writes Mike Johnson at Auto-O-Mobile, without bothering to give any evidence regarding just where the word is going around.

He makes a passing reference, but no link, to "IBT" which apparently means International Business Times, a hotbed of rumor mongering.  

The only problem with this idea is that 1) Apple hasn't invited anyone to a Sept. 2 announcement event; 2) issuing an invite today would miss a lot of people who are already zipping off on one of the most heavily traveled U.S. holidays; and 3) it's just...dumb.

Auto-O-Mobile's bio of "Mike" is this: "Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren't mainstream or products that can't exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It's always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don't get as much publicity as they warrant."

This best kind of parody is the unintentional, self-induced kind.

iPhone 6 will be the next Plastic Wonder of the Techworld

"Can you imagine the iPhone 6 encased in a unibody plastic material on its release date?" asks Erik Pineda, in an International Business Times post. "This possibility is hinted in Apple's new job listing that specifically hunts for engineers with years of expertise in plastic moulding."

Pineda picked this up from 9to5Mac, which picked it up from MacRumors, which saw several Apple job listings that mentioned the word "plastic." Decoding and demystifying Apple job listings is an iOSpherian skill rivaled only by the Sight, practiced by Sybill Trelawney, professor of Divination at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Pineda figures that since the plastic-bodied iPhone 5C is already, like, done, then Something Else is afoot for these positions. "With the 5C eliminated, the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 come to mind though leaked specs of the two tablets so far suggest they are draped in metal case just like the previous builds," he writes.

What could be left? We're glad you asked.

"It is the phablet-size iPhone 6 then that emerges as the likely recipient of Apple's growing interest in developing plastic-based materials for its gadgets," Pineda triumphantly concludes.

QED, baby.

9to5Mac's Jordan Kahn isn't quite so triumphantly certain but he clearly thinks the job openings show or suggest or hint or indicate that Apple wants plastic for more than internal parts that no iGadget owner is every going to see.

"While we know the current iPhone and iPads do use some internal plastic parts, the job listing also makes mentions of aesthetic requirements as well as experience in plastic materials and design for manufacturing in terms of geometry and cosmetic quality,'" he writes. "That could be a hint the position will involve more than just the design of internal plastic parts."

As of this posting, there are three job openings that "could be a hint," including "Sr. Materials Engineer - Plastics," "Plastic Tooling Engineer," and "MDE Adv. Plastic Tooling and Process." There's no indication whether these are brand new jobs that didn't exist before, or additional positions related to plastics, or replacements for existing jobs that have become open.

iPhone 6 and iOS 7 will be the "start of Tim Cook's CEO legacy"

"A year and a half in, and the Tim Cook-era Apple has finally pulled back the curtain on a product which wouldn't have been if the late Steve Jobs were still running the company," writes Will Stabley, of the eponymous StableyTimes, a "new kind of news."

"iOS 7 is a left turn, a change in software design philosophy which follows a corresponding change in software design architects and accompanies a similarly new fangled iPhone 6," Stabley declares. "If Jobs had remained in charge at Apple he'd have continued finding a way to keep the peace between the widely hated Scott Forstall, whom he valued greatly, and the rest of Apple's leadership team. Forstall would have remained in charge of iOS design. And the product we now know as iOS 7 would have had the same name but been an entirely different product. Actually iOS 7 would have looked pretty much like the last six versions."

Why iOS 7 is a "left" instead of "right" turn isn't made clear. For all anyone really knows, it could still represent a direction that Jobs was involved in setting before he died.

"Jobs told Tim Cook to do whatever he thought was right, rather than trying to guess what Jobs would have done," Stabley assures us. Stabley may be the Human Fly of the iOSphere, since most of his observations about what Jobs told Cook could only have been made by the proverbial fly on the wall.

"Cook did what he felt he had to do, and as a result, Apple has made one of its biggest left turns in years with iOS 7 and the iPhone 6, more so out of personnel reasons than strategic ones," Stabley writes. "Its success or failure, still dependent on the public's fondness for or rejection of the new interface, is the first move Cook has made which defines his tenure."

The success or failure of Cook's decisions is separate from the decisions, or moves, themselves. And Cook has made plenty of them since becoming Apple's president and CEO. What seems to define his tenure above anything else is his appreciation of kind of company that Jobs created: a company that's perfectly capable of taking left, or right, turns on its own.

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

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This story, "iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending August 30" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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