If there’s one lesson the technology blogosphere should have learned from last year’s near-complete failure in reporting details about the iPhone 4S, it’s that cases mean absolutely nothing. Turns out, we haven’t learned a thing.
Leading the pack this year is CydiaBlog, which has discovered an iPhone case on the website of TVC-Mall, a China-based iPhone parts supplier, that would fit an iPhone with a taller, but not wider, display — a design detail reported by the Wall Street Journal and other reputable publications. This TVC-Mall tidbit was then re-reported by MacRumors. At the time of this writing, the MacRumors story currently appears as a top link on Techmeme, a technology news aggregator that is a go-to source for technology reporters to find out which stories are trending right now, and thus a leading source of fuel for the Apple rumor mill. A number of other publications, including CNet and TechCrunch, have their own iterations of the TVC-Mall case story, as do a few other publications.
But don’t be fooled: Cases are in no way a confirmation of what Apple has in store. They aren’t even a hint. Rather, these early-production accessories are a reaction to the next iPhone’s rumored design.
The case makers do not know something we don’t.
Evidence of this fact appears all over. Last year, no fewer than nine different “iPhone 5″ case designs meant for a device with a larger screen and differently shapped body appeared on the Web, and served as more “evidence” of Apple’s handset plans. Accessories maker Hard Candy even dropped $10,000 on molds for a case made to fit a wider, thinner iPhone. And the great irony of it all is that the phone Apple actually released had exactly the same design as the iPhone before it — no new case needed, whatsoever.
The fact is, until someone pulls a Gizmodo and has an actual, working Apple handset in their posession, there is little reason to believe any of the ‘iPhone 5′ rumors that are only sure to increase in number as fall draws near. None of this is to say that the reports are wrong, or that the cases won’t fit. Nor am I saying that I am without guilt in this debacle — I reported the same case stories last year, as well. Instead, all I’m saying is that the next time somone points to the existence of a case as evidence of what Apple has in the pipeline, the best course of action is to laugh at them and walk away.