As sources get ever more shadowy and mooted specs more spurious, iRumours find new ways to stretch our credulity every day. Here’s our veracity-free countdown of the least-likely ever.
1 BBM is coming to iPhone
Amid profit warnings, slowing handset sales and swingeing job cuts, the business pages haven’t made pretty reading for Research In Motion (RIM) in recent months. But we’re sure things never got so bad that this story about how BBM was about to cross the OS divide didn’t raise at least a smile down at RIM HQ.
According to reports surfacing in late-March, RIM was planning to offer iKit owners a stripped-down version of the messaging tool for a monthly fee. And so advanced were their BBM plans, we were told, that an update was even on the way later this year.
As it was, the due date of April 26th came and went – not with a bang, but with a whimper. And to the surprise of not too many, BBM remained tethered exclusively to BlackBerry phones.
We certainly weren’t among them. After all, the one thing the phone maker has been able to rely on through its travails is its popularity with BBM-obsessed tweens. So much so, that it often feels like it’s this demographic and the quality of its IM app that’s keeping them in the game.
Why then at this crucial time then would it ever consider giving folk one less reason to buy a BlackBerry phone? Why indeed?
2 iPhone 5 to pack QWERTY keyboard
Back in 2006, research conducted by Nokia indicated that there was no market for touchscreen phones. With this at the forefront of its mind, Espoo doggedly retained physical QWERTY keyboards for its high-end Nseries kits. It was, to paraphrase Henry Ford, Nokia’s “faster horse” moment.
In the years that followed Nokia’s NSeries phones ended up looking clunkier and more outmoded with each passing release. The result was its share at the top of the smartphone tree atrophied. Meanwhile the design-led, touchscreen-toting iPhone cleaned up and turned into the titan we know today.
All of which makes suggestions that the next-gen iPhone would pack a physical QWERTY keyboard. Never mind that such a move would be counter-intuitive and retrogressive in the extreme. There’s the also the fact that there’s no way on God’s earth that design doyenne Jonathan Ive would ever allow his beautiful device to be sullied with anything so fugly as a vast, slide-out keyboard.
3 Fireproof iPhone
Patent filings suggested Apple really has investigated this. But we’re none the wiser why. We can understand why you might want a waterproof smartphone if you're the outdoors-y type. Or a dust-proof one. Or a shockproof one. But unless you’re an action hero or make a habit of rescuing kids from fires in orphanages, why would you need a fireproof handset?
4 iPhone Nano
The iPhone Nano is the unofficial name given to the cut-price, slimmed down smartphone Apple is said to have been prepping for years now, but which is apparently landing in August.
Except it won’t, of course. For one thing, Apple doesn’t need to compete with Android at the lower end of the market right now. It’s the biggest tech company by market cap as it is. And besides, abandoning its ethos of premium products at premium prices for a cheapie kit would actually damage its reputation in the long term.
5 And it’ll be priced around £125 and sell contract free
Mooted price points for the iPhone Nano are in the region of £250 to £125. The former isn't viable, we'd say. But the latter is positively bonkers. £125 barely gets you a network branded Android phone these days. At that price, even if Apple recycled parts it’d had lying around since 2007, it’d be making a loss on every unit sold, surely?
6 Nintendo games coming to iPhone
We’d love to see Nintendo games on Apple smartphones. Not only do we think it would make good commercial sense, but with its nous in handheld gaming, it could take mobile phone games to a whole other level. But even before the company earlier this month issued a denial of stories linking it to the iOS platform, the odds of it happening were non-existent.
Nintendo, which has been famously protectionist and insular in the past, would simply never allow it. That’s because, like Apple, Nintendo wants complete control over the user experiences it offers customers. And while the 3DS isn’t selling in the same quantities as the DS, Ninty would have to be in deep trouble before it even contemplated bringing its characters to another platform.
7 Thinner and lighter than the previous one
This does the rounds every year – most recently and prominently from a French Orange exec. But, even though it’s dutifully reported by sites across the web, his hedging-his-bets forecast isn’t exactly earth-shattering news is it?
Of course, smartphones almost always get smaller and slimmer with each iteration. That’s just the way of things. Think of it like the mobile equivalent of Moore’s Law.
8 Phones4u guy spills the beans
Whenever we’ve had cause to shop in Phones4u, we’ve found their staff uncommonly nice. Not only is their personal hygiene beyond reproach, they’re proper clued up mobile mavens too.
But even we were taken aback when reports appeared citing a Phones4u worker from sleepy St Albans who claimed that the iPhone 5 was landing in November due to supply chain problems.
Whether it turns out to be true or not is by the by. The real problem here? Merely that said worker’s knowledge of matters down in Cupertino is no more informed than you or me. So much so that the reports read more like sharp satire on the ever more ridiculous nature of iRumours than credible news stories.
9 3D support for iPhone 5
LG’s Optimus 3D, the first-ever glasses-free 3D smartphone has just landed in the UK. The second (the HTC Evo 3D) is dropping next month. And whatever the third turns out to be, it won’t be the iPhone 5.
3D is a nascent mobile technology. And Apple simply doesn’t get involved with those, until it thinks it can perfect and refine what’s already there. What’s more, devs have torn the back out of iOS 5 in the last few months and there’s scant indication so far that the OS can even support 3D.
10 Expandable memory
MicroSD card support was strongly rumoured for iPhone 4. And if you spent your days on tech sites reading comments from users desperate to expand their phone’s storage space, you’d think it might be a shoo-in at some stage.
It won’t happen, though. As it stands, Apple is able to charge top dollar for device variants with masses of storage and make a handsome margin on top of its retail price as a result. It would also disincentivise buying new iterations of its products when Apple inevitably doubles the storage they offer.