April is the cruelest month, breeding iPhone 5 rumors out of the (temporarily) dead gadget realm, mixing memories of gee-whiz product launches with desire for some competition, and stirring inventory issues with overseas rumor. Let’s get into it.
Apple’s next iPhone is shaping up, testing in Cupertino
Details: There are so many! First, testers at Apple are being given iPhones that have the iPhone 4S body, but with an upgraded “A5X” chipset, including a doubled ram capacity. Next, the actual body of the phone is likely to be entirely new, or at least new enough to require new cases and peripherals--likely larger, like 4 inches. Adding 4G service is almost assumed at this point. And finally, the launch date is said to be, variously, the third quarter of 2012, October of 2012, or June of 2012.
Likelihood: I should really create an automatic text script that adds this line to any Apple-related rumor: “It’s entirely possible that they’re testing (X), or building prototypes of (X), but Apple makes many tests and prototypes that get discarded with ruthless discern.” That said, there does seem to be consensus around a new form factor, and the June date is the standard for iPhone launches.
Get excited?: At least about the doubled memory amount! Otherwise, sure, get amped about the device Apple has you wondering about the other six months of the year, now that the iPad is long since past.
Google pushing back its co-branded tablet to July, cutting price and tweaking design
Source: The Verge
Details: It was all but confirmed that Google would launch a 7-inch tablet at their Google I/O conference in late June, at a low, probably subsidized price. That price was rumored around $149-$199, but the last word out was $250. So now, according to The Verge’s “sources close to the project,” Google is pushing back to July, and trying to get the price lower, as well as tweak the design.
Likelihood: Google has “launched” a product at Google I/O before and not had it actually available to hand out as a goodie, as they did last year with Samsung Chromebooks. So entirely possible, but … what does a company do with extra time to lower a price? Beg, cajole, and mow Asus’ lawn for a month?
Get excited?: I’m really intrigued by the idea of a very slimmed-down, Kindle-Fire-esque tablet that might have a bit more oomph behind it.
Android device due out this year that’s out of Google’s hands
Source: Technology Review, which is inferring from a discussion with CEO Ted Morgan of Skyhook Wireless, provider of geolocation services to many devices.
Details: Many manufacturers are looking at how Amazon pulled together their own version of Android with Google’s apps and input almost entirely removed and crafted it into the Kindle Fire. At least one big firm is looking at doing the same. Facebook? Or Amazon again, but this time with a phone, or that bigger tablet that was supposed to ship with the Fire?
Likelihood: Hard to say. Technically, cheap-o tablets have been made without Google’s blessing for a while now, with manufacturers adding their own (awful) email apps and app markets. But for a big player to step in? Maybe Amazon again.
Get excited?: It’s an interesting move, unless it’s a last-ditch move by Best Buy. Then it’s just kind of funny.