A Reuters article last week claimed the iPhone 5 would feature a 4.6 inch screen and be released in the second quarter of 2012. Now, MacRumors counters with a newly-sourced rumor that the iPhone 5 release date will be in the fall, and sport the same 3.5-inch screen as the iPhone 4/4S.
Dueling iPhone 5 release date and display size rumors take center stage this weekend, and it’s left to us, the iPhone 5′ers, to sort it all out. You’ll recall our article from last week, citing an intriguing Reuters article out of South Korea that claimed the iPhone 5 will sport a massive 4.6-inch screen and be released “sometime in the second quarter of 2012.” Considering that June (and the WWDC) fall into the second quarter, most assumed that June would be the target month.
The top tech blogs met the Reuters report with widespread skepticism, citing the piece’s erroneous mentioning that the GS2 uses a 4.6-inch display as proof positive that the rumor simply could not be true. MacRumors was one of the online publications that really led the charge against the rumor.
Conveniently, MacRumors championed a rumor counterpunch yesterday, citing an iMore rumor that claims almost the exact opposite of what we heard in the Reuters article. The original iMore piece explains that, after writing a piece where they stated that “Apple was planning to stick with the current 3.5-inch screen size for the new iPhone, but that it wasn’t set in stone and it could get a little bigger,” they received new information from their sources. The update to the story is that “We’ve mentioned October 2012 as the current release schedule for iPhone 5,1 before and that’s still the plan,” and the “iPhone 5,1 is on track for [a] similar if not same sized screen (currently 3.5-inch but not set in stone).”
This reiteration of the same-sized screen rumor from iMore was met with dismay by most iPhone users, especially after MacRumors seconded the notion: “their source also claims that contrary to 4-inch rumors, the new iPhone will retain the same 3.5-inch screen, or very close to it.”
If you are one of the people demoralized by the MacRumors article and its general acceptance of the iMore rumor as true, there is some good news: there is some misquoting in the MacRumors piece that is worth mentioning.
It’s true that iMore has become one of the best prognosticators of Apple release dates and features — we saw them accurately report the release date and features of the iPad 3, for example. But MacRumors is mischaracterizing what the iMore article said about the iPhone 5′s display size. If you read the iMore piece closely, you’ll note that, while their source updated information on the new iPhone being released with 4G LTE and its release date timeframe, the screen size rumor did not crystalize any further, and iMore is still adding in the caveat that a 3.5-inch screen “is not set in stone.”
That detail is completely scrubbed out of the MacRumors post, and I suspect that they purposely ignored it because they are choosing to refute the Reuters article.
For one, it is my opinion that the tech community doesn’t like it when news agencies like Reuters or the AP poach on the tech rumor mill turf; that segment of the news is controlled by the likes of MacRumors, iMore, BGR — you name it. Only the Wall Street Journal seems to be allowed to interlope into their world of breaking news about new Apple gear. When an agency like Reuters files a report like this, all of the major mainstream news agencies run with it, and funnel web traffic to all kinds of online news websites other than the tech blogs.
It is a pity that the Reuters reporter made the error of misstating the SG2 screen size, because as a rule, real journalists who work for the big news agencies have a much more rigorous process for reporting stories like these. Unlike glorified tech blogs (this one included) who can trade e-mails with one person and report their rumor or tip as “news,” the Reuters journalist would have had to make a compelling case to their editor about the veracity of this rumor.
That’s why I sense it to be much more truth than lie.
Second, it’s also worth noting that tech sites like MacRumors have largely staked their claim on the fall as the release date for the iPhone 5, sensing that it is the safer bet. Last year’s wacky iPhone 4S delay had many top tech blogs like BGR spinning in circles over prognosticating over when it would be released. This time around, the fall is the safe bet for the iPhone 5 release date.
Considering that both of these rumors remain unsubstantiated, it is certainly possible that neither of them are true, and Apple will reveal the iPhone 5 on a date and with a screen size that proves both of them to be false. But one thing is for sure: while both rumors can be wrong, they cannot both be right. And I for one am still more apt to believe that the screen size of the iPhone 5 will not remain at 3.5 inches, and that a June release date is highly possible.
By Michael Nace