Silly iPhone and iPad Rumors

There they go again: speculative rumors masquerading as news stories. I'm surprised to keep seeing them, but every week it seems, there's another unrealistic set of "insider" claims for the iPhone or iPad, as well as other mobile devices. In the belief that news should be based on some kernel of fact, here's my take on the latest rumors.

The iPad 2 will have front- and rear-facing cameras. This one comes up every few weeks, and last week CNBC decided that it was time to "report" it again. As I noted a few weeks ago in my iPad 2 mythbusting attempt, of course the iPad will have these cameras. It's the last mobile Apple product without them. Though Apple won't confirm it, this rumor is old news and an obvious development.

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The iPad 2 will have a smaller sibling. The always truthful (!) Fox News reports that Apple will release a smaller version of the iPad -- never mind that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has made no bones publicly that he thinks smaller tablets are stupid and unusable.

The Verizon iPhone will ship right after Christmas. The Wall Street Journal recently ran this rumor, which has been surfacing regularly since 2007. The august newspaper should've known better. Apple could plausibly announce such a deal after the holidays -- most likely after the Consumer Electronics Show in early January as a way of grabbing attention from its competitors' announcements in Las Vegas. But there's no way Apple would have missed the holiday season for what would be a really hot product. What's likely is that any Verizon-compatible iPhone will come when the next iPhone is released, which is traditionally in July.

Verizon will get a different iPhone than everyone else. Well, any Verizon iPhone would have to use different radios to be compatible with its CDMA network, and Apple will have to decide whether to also include GSM 3G technology so that world travelers could use it outside the United States and Canada. In that sense, it would be a different iPhone. But Apple keeps its product portfolio to a small number of distinct models, and it has done so for more than a decade. It doesn't have minor variations among products or special versions of its mobile products for specific carriers or regions (another silly rumor that periodically gets reported). I see no reason for that strategy to change.

The Verizon iPhone will run on LTE networks. Here's another case of raw speculation based only on someone's desires. First, Apple and Verizon Wireless have not admitted that there will be an iPhone available for that carrier's CDMA network. But assuming there will be a Verizon iPhone announced this winter or spring (it's inevitable and highly desired), the chances of it running on a new network that Verizon is just starting to roll out is iffy. It will take years before LTE networks -- an almost-4G technology that will be faster than today's 3G networks -- are widely deployed, so there's no rush. Even Verizon is limiting its LTE network to laptop users in the first cities to get it. But that hasn't stopped MacDaily News from exclusively "reporting" that a new LTE Verizon iPhone will ship right after Christmas. Computerworld has a good story explaining why that's nonsense.

A massive OS upgrade is coming for Windows Phone 7 in January. TechRadar helped spread the nonsensical claim that a major new version of the Windows Phone 7 OS -- one that would fix the OS's many deficiencies -- would ship in early 2011, citing a source who claimed it should be called Windows Phone 8 because it was so massive. Microsoft felt obligated to debunk this one, saying that copy and paste would be added in January, but other enhancements were still scheduled for "later."

Well, I guess when you don't have facts or insight, rumors fill the space!

This article, "More silly iPhone and iPad rumors," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.

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