MacRumors has questioned the veracity of this leak on two counts. First, they clarify that the date on the iPhone 5S calendar icon “corresponds to the date when iOS 7 debuted, Monday, June 10,” not the date of the phone announcement. This makes sense because it is the software that is acknowledging its own “birthday” not that of the hardware that contains it. Second, writer Juli Clover points out some style errors, “the design of the card also lacks slashes between the Ring/Silent switch and Home Button/Touch ID sensor, and the font of the time is not quite in line with Apple’s style.” I had noticed the missing slashes and, in the case of the Touch ID home button, thought that it might be an intentional change (going forward these are a single entity). But Apple is hyper-consistent and this would be sloppy even for a printer’s proof. As for the typeface, the font is correct but the weight is heavier than Apple’s current style. These are all good, if slight, observations. The real point about iPhone “leaks” is that some may come directly from a Chinese factory, others from the supply chain around it and still others from enthusiastic Apple fans, butseen in aggregate, big data style, all are “votes” for what we think we know . I look at the present Quick Start Guide from that perspective and allow it as a data point, provenance unknown.
Steve Hemmerstoffer, editor of the leading French Apple blog, nowhereelse.fr, has a long history of reliably covering iPhone launches, and this season is no exception. Today he posted an image that he claims was passed to him by his “most trusted and loyal Chinese sources,” (“l’une de mes plus fiables et fidèles sources chinoises”) that shows a proof of a Quick Start Guide insert destined for the packaging of the iPhone 6 itself. This same source passed Hemmerstoffer a similar document “just hours before the launch conference of the iPhone 5s,” on the basis of which he was able to confirm the name and the actual fact of the rumored Touch ID sensor in the home button.
This year’s guide is apparently in keeping with the very austere packaging of the new device which Hemmerstoffer’s source told him “a plain white box with [only] the word iPhone 6… printed on [the] lid. The smartphone will appear nowhere on the packaging…”
Hemmerstoffer points out a little detail I had previously missed. The calendar icon on the image of the iPhone 5S on its box lid, and in all promotional images of the phone, shows the date of the announcement event, Monday, the 10th. By this account he took it as significant that the date of this year’s announcement would appear on the insert guide because the image of the phone itself will be absent from the box lid.
As you can see in the image above, the details that would be confirmed if this document is genuine would be:
None of these are controversial facts, all of these points are expected, so there is no particular reason to doubt the veracity of this leak. At the same time, the amount of effort required to produce such a facsimile document is so negligible, and the Apple graphic design style is so consistent that, other than Hemmerstoffer’s reliable track record, there’s no reason give it much credence either. What is interesting is how the leaks in general have been accelerated this year compared to last. The equivalent document (see right side of image above) emerged, as Hemmerstoffer says, only hours before Tim Cook took the stage.
More telling is the unnamed Chinese source’s apparent confirmation that the iPhone 6 will indeed come in a 128 GB modle.
The bigger questions center on the exact design details of those infamous antennae cutouts. See Martin Hajek’s renderings of the two most likely alternatives above. Also of interest, the presence of an NFC chip and the exact capabilities of the new M8 motion sensor chip that is rumored to add significant functionality to Apple’s forthcoming health app. And what about that protruding camera that my colleague Gordon Kelly points to in a Foxconn leak? My favorite take on that is this cartoonish comparison of the iPhone 6 complaining about bumping its camera under the crushing weight of the 5S, found by Indian blogger Kshitiz Jaiswal at Gizmobic: