Take this report with the requisite grains of salt, but here’s what we’ve heard about the upcoming late 2010/early 2011 iPod, iPhone, and iPad lineups from a highly reliable source. If you remember our exclusive first details on the iPad, iPod nano 4G and 5G, you’ll know that our sources’ accuracy level is very high but not perfect, which is about as good as can be expected given the nature of Apple-related leaks. (Except for ones posted by the always impressive John Gruber, who appears to be getting pre-release information directly from Apple.)
1. New iPods. Apple apparently has three new iPods ready to go as early as this month, or as late as September. One is the new iPod nano, one is the new iPod touch, and the third one is a question mark, but may be a small (1.7”) touchscreen replacement for the iPod shuffle. There’s also continued chatter about a three-inch touchscreen that could make its way into an iPod, shaving half an inch off the diagonal of the current iPod touch.
2. New iPad. A seven-inch-screened version of the iPad is substantially finished and will be ready for announcement either later this year or early in 2011. Apple has been prototyping devices with screens of this size for a long time—quite possibly predating the original iPhone.
3. New iPhone. According to our source—and we have to say that we find this part hard to believe—Apple is pushing up the release date of the fifth-generation iPhone to early 2011 (as soon as January) because of the antenna issues with the iPhone 4. It’s unknown whether this will be a repackaging of iPhone 4 components in a different shell or something more substantial. We reiterate: it’s hard to believe. But as with so many seemingly far-fetched early reports, it’s not impossible.
4. iPhone 4 Bumpers, Generations 0 and 2. To reduce the cost of the current iPhone 4 Case Program, the company is currently working on a less expensive all-silicone version of the Bumper to give away after September. Our source says that the original, unreleased version of Bumper had more hard plastic than the final version, and claims that Apple was considering giving Bumpers away with every iPhone 4 before deciding to take its chances with the bare device. The question is whether the Bumpers were originally intended for glass protection or antenna coverage, and why Apple developed them in the first place.
The comments section below is ready for your speculation and inevitable debates. For giggles, go back and take a look at the comments on the iPad, iPod nano 4G and 5G to see what people said before they were announced.