Rumor roundup: Will there be an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 4S?

As we close in on Apple’s big media day Tuesday morning in California, no one is still 100 percent sure what, exactly, Tim Cook will introduce to us on that stage.

The rumor mill is buzzing and recent news suggests there won’t be an iPhone 5.

Gizmodo says it has photos of the revised iPhone 4, which may be listed as N90A in Apple’s inventory. This phone is thought to be the revised iPhone 4,  produced at a cheaper cost with less on board storage. The current iPhone is listed as N90 in Apple’s inventory. This phone is expected to go for $99.99 or less on contract.

9to5Mac has posted this image showing the iPhone 4S name listed in the latest iTunes beta version released to developers Friday. It also has an image of the 4S looking the same as the Verizon iPhone 4. But the reference was apparently in previous versions of the beta, released several weeks ago.

Engadget got a tip from a reader this image from Cincinnati Bell’s prepaid service (called i-Wireless). The placeholder shows a 32 GB phone with a 4-inch screen and 4G speed. Oh, an 8-megapixel camera. There’s another screen shot from the same site running around the net, showing a $99.99 16 GB iPhone 4S with a 3.5 screen and an A5 processor.

 

 

 

 

Engadget also posted this Sprint screenshot, clearing showing an iPhone 5.

 

 

What’s it all mean? If nothing else, Apple has done a much better job of keeping this release a little more shrouded in mystery. Placeholders on sites are likely guesses from providers based on the same type rumors that we’re reading and writing about. I wouldn’t get my hopes up because of placeholders, or even those cases that have shown up in AT&T stores for a new iPhone, cases that are bigger than the current model.

Good news? We’re two days away from finding out exactly what Apple has up its sleeve. In our view, the company needs to release two versions, a cheaper version and one with a larger screen — in order to compete with Android phones, which are now much larger than iPhone in screen size and packing decent battery life even on 4G networks.

To go another year without 4G/LTE and a large screen might cost Apple some sales in the near future.

 

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