iPhone 5 rumour rollup for the week ending February 24

Who needs a credit card when you've got an iP5...
  • John Cox (Network World)
  • 25 February, 2012 10:43

Beguiled by curvaceous images of yet another iPhone 5 “concept,” the iOSsphere contemplated a future where iPhone 5 has a smaller dock connector and a 3D screen, and replaces your credit card.

Even though you’d be replacing it with something much larger and way heavier.

You read it here second.


“Sometimes all you want to carry is your iPhone (or any other smartphone) without having to worry about a wallet as well. It’d be much easier to just pay for anything you want with the phone.”

~ Shawn Ingram, GottaBeMobile, on why “worrying about a wallet” is, or should be, a design focus for the iPhone 5


iPhone 5 will have a smaller dock connector

“Apple is fearless when it comes to driving the future,” writes Rene Ritchie in a ringing post at “And the dock connector might be next on their list.”

To be honest, Rollup doesn’t immediately associate Fearless Futurity with the iDevice dock connector. We usually associate that with LTE+ or High-High Definition screens or six-core processors.

“We’ve heard that Apple is getting ready to ditch the dock connector as it’s currently sized and implemented on iPods, iPhones, and iPads,” says Ritchie, without even hinting from whom he might be hearing this. “The reason isn’t anything political, like a new desire to conform to an outdated micro-USB standard, but typically Apple: to save space inside the iPhone 5 for what are now more important components.”

His basic argument is that Apple has been ruthlessly imaginative in packing and repacking the iPhone’s innards to optimize the use of the highly limited volume for components. “The dock connector as it exists now is a relatively big component that takes up, while not a lot of space compared to the entire assembly, a lot of space compared to the difference between mini and micro SIM.”

Given that the iCloud synchronization and storage is now available, Ritchie notes, the use of that relatively big component is less important than it used to be. And more important are components like the long-expected LTE radio, and more space for a bigger battery to run it and higher resolution screens and a four-core processor.

“Apple probably won’t go micro-USB either, because it’s not faster and not Apple’s style,” Ritchie predicts. “A smaller dock connector — a ‘micro dock’ if you will — makes a lot more sense.”

Such a decision would be a cause for rejoicing for many but for just as many a cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth because “not all current accessories would be compatible, of course, even if Apple offered an adapter dongle.”

As with any Apple decision, the rule is: Get over it.

iPhone 5 3D display “a possibility”

Over at the aptly named, Delaon has finally picked up on recent reports that Apple has been granted another patent for 3D technology and spun this gossamer filament of fact into gold. “3D Display a Possibility for iPhone 5”, reads the headline.

As they say, anything is possible. It’s possible that President Obama will decide to forego the next election and retire to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s possible that the alternative energy industry will figure out to way to make money without taxpayer handouts.

Delaon apparently is convinced that Apple is filing 3D patents left and right in a frenzy of innovation because Android smartphones have been leading the way in 3D, stealing a march, getting the upper hand, and so on. “The attempts of Android to offer a 3D smartphone have challenged Apple to file various bold patents for 3D displays in the previous years,” he intones.

But as PC World’s Ginny Mies concluded in her June 2011 review of the HTC EVO 3D, “Well, let's just say it is a very good thing that there's more to this phone than just a 3D display.”

Reviewing the same phone for Wired’s U.K. Website, Dave Oliver wrote “Your eyes may start to cross after a while, but it's certainly a fun party piece when you're showing off your pics and vids taken with the stereoscopic cameras -- though you've got to look at it straight on, and it doesn't take much of an angle to lose the effect.” The technical term for this is “damning with faint praise.”

Someone is being challenged, alright. But we don’t think it’s Apple.

iPhone 5 will have mobile payment feature to shut up clamoring consumers

“Consumers Clamoring For iPhone 5 With Credit Card Capabilities” screams the headline for Shawn Ingram’s post at GottaBeMobile.

Frankly, this came as a surprise to Rollup, who goes days, even weeks and sometimes months without hearing a single clamor for the Right to Pay With an iPhone.

“Mobile payments isn’t an entirely new concept, but it’s a concept that many hope would become a reality much sooner,” Ingram declares. The “many” probably refers to the venture fund backers who’ve poured money for years into various mobile payment software and hardware vendors, including near field communications (NFC) radios.

“Sometimes all you want to carry is your iPhone (or any other smartphone) without having to worry about a wallet as well. It’d be much easier to just pay for anything you want with the phone,” writes Ingram, veering dangerously close to whining.

But he’s got facts: specifically a “new Nielsen report,” which shows that “71 percent of people who download apps to their smartphones want to use their phones to pay at store registers.” And iPhone users are even more enthusiastic: 75% of them “said they would like to use their phones as a credit card.”

Apple needs to wake up and hear clamoring. “The Nielsen numbers are one of the more compelling reasons why Apple should build NFC into the new iPhone,” Ingram declares. “If Apple can make some sort of deal with credit card companies an iPhone 5 with NFC could make mobile payments much bigger than they are now.”

If they build it, people will buy with it.

Ingram doesn’t appear to have actually read the Nielsen report, instead linking to a VentureBeat story, by Jennifer Van Grove, who does link to it. Van Grove leads with a different Nielsen fact: “New data from Nielsen shows that nearly one-third of U.S. smartphone owners (29 percent) now turn to their devices for shopping dos and don’ts.” Mobile Web, browser, social networking: we get that.

Then she continues: “And our new-found love affair with our phones is so promising, most of us are ready to close the deal — 71 percent of app downloaders said they’d like to use their phone to pay at the register.”

The problem is that the 71 percent did not actually say that, according to Nielsen’s own post. That post doesn’t give the exact question the respondents were asked but a chart labels the topic as “Interest in using mobile phone as a credit card.”

The possible answers are: not at all interested, slightly interested, somewhat interested, very interested, and extremely interested. We can assume the verys and extremelys are the aforementioined venture investors and people like Sean Ingram.

But “slightly” and “somewhat” are, let’s face it, hardly “clamoring.” The actual number for the iPhone app downloaders in the survey were: 18% extremely interested, 21% very interested (totalling 39% of the sample), 23% somewhat interested, 13% slightly interested, and 25% or one in four, not at all interested.

So one can say that 75% of these people selected one of four answers that all contained the word “interested” and therefore expressed some level of “interest” in using iPhone as a credit card.

But you can also say that 61% expressed little or no interest. Because, sensibly, they have many other, much more compelling things in which to be interested. So the Nielsen numbers actually become a compelling reason for Apple not to bother with NFC anytime soon in the iPhone.

iPhone 5 release ahead of schedule because iPhone 4S “losing steam”

That’s the theory of Michale Cadiz, in a post at DailyMobile. It’s based, very loosely, on some Gartner projections gleaned not from Gartner but from another story at International Business Times.

Gartner notes that the record-setting quarter benefitted by an extra calendar week, the holidays, and decisions by some number of buyers to delay iPhone 4 purchases in early Fall in anticipation of the new iPhone’s unveiling. Essentially, the idea is that Apple’s record-setting pace of iPhone 4S sales at the close of calendar 2011 will not continue.

But in his post, Cadiz writes that “Gartner expects Apple’s market share to decline for a couple of quarters as holiday demands are sated and iPhone 4S’ availability widens.” But a decline in market share isn’t at all the same thing as “losing steam” -- either through declining sales or a slower rate in the growth of sales. Not to mention the fact that widening the availability of the phone seems much more likely to increase sales than decrease them.

Cadiz says the improvements and changes in iPhone 4S – camera improvements, A5 chip, Siri voice assistant - “may not be sufficient to ensure a long-lasting success as the iPhone 4.”

And why’s that? “It’s ‘smallish’ screen (3.5″ as against 4″ from its Android competitor), lack of 4G-LTE support, short battery life plus it looks no different than its predecessor factors greatly against iPhone 4S novelty,” he writes. It’s a bit confusing because Cadiz actually seems to be arguing that the iPhone 4S is in fact only a novelty compared to the “long-lasting success” of its predecessor.

In any case, the failing 4S is likely to cause panic in Cupterino, Cadiz suggests. “This [losing steam] may ultimately lead to Apple pushing through with their original plans of releasing iPhone 5 ahead of schedule (June or earlier) instead of waiting for October, exactly a year after iPhone 4S was released.”

Another confusing comment, because it suggests Apple’s original plan was to release iPhone 5 in June 2012, just eight months after the 4S, but then it decided inexplicably to wait until October but now, faced with the coming collapse of iPhone 4S sales, will go back to June.

Cadiz describes himself in his online profile as “a corporate slave by day, a full-time partyphile at night.” It’s not clear when in that 24-hour period he posted his analysis.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter: john_cox@nww.comBlog RSS feed:

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