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 MULTIFORMAT FEATURE

iPhone turns 5 years old - Top 5 outrageous (and untrue) Apple rumours

Read too much about it!
Product: iPhone 4S | Publisher: Apple
 
iPhone 4S Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Apple rumours, eh. They're big business for websites that rely on (lovely, handsome, intelligent) readers in order to indirectly pay the bills.

That's because they are, effectively, the coal of any tech-related website's engine. That is to say, they fuel page views - rather than act as a polluting and relatively inefficient source of energy.

Unfortunately, this fact hasn't escaped the attention of ne'er-do-wells and those desperate for a few extra clicks to feed their family, and thus we are faced with an unrelenting cycle of iOS half-truths, iPhone hearsay, and sort-of-sounds-believable Apple rumours.

Some rumours, like those suggesting that the next iPhone will have a larger screen, are believable and confirmed by multiple sites independently. Others, however, are - shall we say - less credible.

Here's our pick of the latter ones over the last five years. To tie in with the iPhone's fifth birthday today. You see?

The iSlate / iPhone 4G / iPhone 5 [2009-]

iphone-rumour-islate

We'll start with one that we were guilty of believing / disseminating, too. Back in 2009, it appeared inevitable that Apple was going to release a touchscreen 'tablet PC' - a then-doomed device that no one in his right mind would produce, let alone buy.

Of course, Apple did produce one. It designed a device that would change the face of consumer electronics in the 21st century, and result in every other tech manufacturer rushing out a tablet of its own.

You know what I'm talking about: the one, the only, the Apple iSlate!

No, wait, that's not it, at all. Problem was that most sites had all but decided on the iSlate name. They just didn't bother telling Apple. So, Steve Jobs got up on stage in January 2010 and unveiled the 'iPad', sending SEO specialists into a wild tailspin from which they are only just recovering.

This inability to guess the name of a next-generation Apple device extends far beyond the iPad, though, of course. Both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 were incorrectly referred to by the press as the '5' and '4G', respectively, right up until their release. Tsk.

The iPad mini will be released next spring / summer / autumn / winter [every year]

iphone-rumour-minipad

DigitTimes is probably best known in the West not as a B2B site reporting on Eastern electronics manufacturers, but rather as the home of every bad Apple rumour under the sun (thanks, Techland).

One of its most popular and repeated claims is that Apple will launch an iPad mini - a 7-inch version of its ultra-successful tablet. This particular rumour has surfaced every year since the original iPad launched back in 2010.

This is despite the fact that the late Steve Jobs stressed that tablets of this size were "dead on arrival". Although Tim Cook isn't Steve Jobs, there has been no suggestion from Apple that it would ever release such a model.

Still, expect this old chestnut to be discussed, repeated, discussed again across sites that haven't banned all DigiTimes rumours yet in the run-up to the iPad 4 / new new iPad / fourth-generation iSlate launch next year.

The iPhone 4S / 5 will have a teardrop screen [2011-12]

iphone-rumour-teardrop

Here's another golden one from iPhones gone by: the teardrop screen.

Although DigiTimes was, once again, involved in this particular rumour, claiming Apple would adopt a curved glass display for the iPhone 5 (actually named the 4S), it was actually This Is My Next that originally started chins wagging by suggesting the iPhone 5 (actually named the 4S) would have a "teardrop" shape back in June 2011.

Needless to say, this turned out to be false, with Apple's iPhone manufacturer Foxconn recently debunking the rumour for the actual iPhone 5 as soon as the rumour started doing the rounds once again this year.

While the idea Jony Ive has a prototype teardrop-shaped iPhone locked away in his workshop isn't entirely fanciful - the Galaxy S III's 'pebble' design is somewhat similar, for instance - it's highly unlikely Apple will be making such radical changes to its best-selling smartphone's form factor in the foreseeable future.

The iPhone 4 will be powered by the sun [2010]

iphone-rumour-solar

Solar panels are one of those annoying bits of technology. In theory, they should be the Best Thing Ever in this resource-starved world, but they are currently too inefficient and expensive to replace more traditional forms of energy.

So, it wasn't really much of a surprise to both hear a rumour that Apple was to put said sun-powered cells into the iPhone 4, and to subsequently have it proven to be the rantings of a madman (albeit one with an appreciation for ecological balance).

The main source of this particularly far-fetched rumour was, ironically, Apple itself. The company has a tendency to aggressively file patent applications - no matter how odd - which invariably means silly stuff like this popping up on Google Reader when you least expect it.

No Home button on iPad 2 and iPhone 5/4S [2011]

iphone-rumour-buttonless

Just after Google announced in February 2011 that Android was to go buttonless with Honeycomb (a.k.a. Android 3.0), one of the top rumours doing the rounds about the House of Apple was that The Big A was also going to remove all physical buttons from its flagship touchscreen devices, leaving users to - well - struggle, I guess.

Problem with this rumour, despite it coming from some trustworthy sources, was that eliminating the Home button would render quite a few existing features rather tricky to access without your having to resort to manoeuvres that would make a contortionist blush.

Using five-finger gestures to replicate the Home button's functionality isn't impossible on iPad - even if it is completely unintuitive. Using five fingers, however, on the iPhone's smaller screen is frankly ridiculous.

As it happened, the rumour appears to have originated from a misunderstanding. In this case, someone misinterpreted a new feature that was added in iOS 4.3 - the ability to assign multi-touch gestures as shortcuts.

This included, yes, the ability to open the Home screen with four or five fingers.
 

Reviewer photo
Will Wilson 29 June 2012
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