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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending August 31

John Cox | Sept. 3, 2012
As September edged nearer, with all its trembling magical promise, the iOSphere seized on rumors that any sane person would dismiss out of hand, such as the Next iPhone having a new AirPlay version that won't work with Wi-Fi.

But none of these Web sites have offered more than a cursory source for these alleged components. For example, Killian Bell, at CultOfMac, says the answer to what processor the Next iPhone will have "Thanks to the latest leak, that has become a little clearer." And then goes on to say that "However, it appears this image may not be as genuine as it seems."

An unsourced image makes clearer what the next iPhone will have; but the image may not be genuine, which can't make anything clearer, after all. Unless you just believe.

Despite the flood of images, we still know nothing more than we did a week ago, which was little enough, and little more than we knew a year ago. And we're weary. Very, very, very weary.

iPhone 5 will not have an NFC chip after all

More precisely, it's "unlikely" according to Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi, who author the technically sophisticated and well-written AnandTech blog.

In a post this week, they take on the newest set of NFC-expectant rumors, sparked by yet another purported component in iPhone 5. (It's part of a longer, and excellent, technical analysis of what is technically feasible and likely for iPhone 5 in several areas.

The component in question is a square chip, shielded by an EMI can, shown here outlined in red on what is claimed to be the iPhone 5 back assembly: its rumored to be "an NFC combo controller and antenna, based purely on its square dimensions."

But such speculation is technically deficient, according to AnandTech. "Given the primarily metal backside of the new iPhone, it's highly unlikely that NFC is in the cards for this generation," they write. "In fact, given the very little space at top and bottom dedicated to those glass RF windows, you can almost entirely rule it out."

The main reasons derive from that fact that NFC "operates on the 13.56MHz ISM band, which has a relatively large wavelength, at 22.1 m." Their basic point is that NFC needs a big antenna, which is typically a metal coil wrapped in a square or circle and centered in the back of relatively small mobile phones. That's a technical challenge all of its own. And, if the "leaked" photos showing iPhone 5 as having a metal backplate, with small glass "strips" or windows at top and bottom for RF pass-through, then Apple would be complicating the NFC RF even more.

"Getting a good inductor into the device is important because how much inductance your antenna has will determine maximum coupling distance and ease of alignment [between the NFC-equipped iPhone and a reader]. It shouldn't need saying, but having a huge ground plane (the unibody metal back case) in the way of your NFC antenna will seriously degrade performance, thus only the top or bottom windows are logical places to put it."


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