It's official: Apple has announced a news conference for Sept. 12. The company isn't saying what next week's event is about, but I would be extremely surprised if it's not a new iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 5.
Rumors as to what we can expect in the new phone have been floating around for months. Although we don't know for sure, I'm reasonably convinced that the new phone will be a bit taller than the iPhone 4s, will connect to cellular carriers' faster 4G networks and will sport a new smaller connector than the one used on current iPhones, iPads and iPods. And without a doubt, the phone will run Apple's new iOS 6 operating system, which will also work on older iPhones.
I was at the All Things Digital Conference in May when Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company would "double down on secrecy" about its products. Despite that pledge, plenty of rumors abound from Apple and its suppliers and partners around the world. As a longtime Apple watcher, I've noticed that early rumors tend to be false, and the rumor mill generally becomes more accurate as the announcement dates draws closer. Apple also manages to have surprises up its sleeves regardless of what the newest rumor is.
I'm also pretty convinced that the executives in Cupertino love the speculation because it keeps people talking and writing about the company and its products, and creates a sense of anticipation. It also keeps customers from buying from the competition if they
If this were any other company, I wouldn't even be writing about a rumored product. The occasional speculation on the next steps of Microsoft, Google or Amazon is nowhere near as pervasive as those on Apple. There isn't a cottage industry devoted to upcoming Amazon Kindle tablets, for example. There are plenty of rumors on a possible October conference on an iPad Mini (likely with a 7.85-inch screen), however, as well as an Apple TV set.
In writing this article, I guess I'm now part of the rumor mill, but please don't take this too seriously. Aside from the possibility that everything I've said could be wrong, it's important to remember that we're talking about gadgets that will be old tech in two years. While most of you will get through the next week without losing sleep over the upcoming event, some will seek out every rumor and watch the live blogs to be the first to know what Apple is releasing. I'd tell those people to get a life, but that would be hypocritical -- since I'm usually tweeting away at those Apple announcements, feeding people's insatiable appetite for all things Apple.
Larry Magid's technology column appears Wednesdays in The Daily News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.