Rumors of new iPad swirl as iPhone 5 owners air their gripes

October 1, 2012

Apple may be preparing another surprise event ahead of the holidays, according to a report from Fortune.

The nugget of a rumor comes from an unnamed source identified only as a “major Apple investor” who told Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt that Apple will send out invitations to a press event for a new iPad on Oct. 10.

Rumors about a mini iPad have been swirling for a long time — even before Apple released its newest iPad.

The announcement would follow hot on the heels of Apple’s iPhone 5, which came out Sept. 21 to rave reviews followed by a fair share of complaints.

Apple has addressed a couple of these gripes, most notably the Maps errors and WiFi bug the company addressed over the weekend. But there also have been numerous reports of scratches on the case and purple flare through the camera lens when shooting into the sun, to name a couple of issues. Those using Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, have also complained that the new software adversely affects the battery life of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S — which echo complaints users made about iOS 5 before Apple released an update.

When it comes to the inside of the phone, however, the new iPhone may be the most durable phone Apple has ever released, said Kyle Wiens of iFixit.

According to Wiens, who runs the do-it-yourself guide Web site, there are a lot of little things Apple has done to keep the iPhone 5 in tip-top shape. For example, nearly all of the components are screwed down to keep them in place.

“That’s optimizing durability for this phone,” Wiens said. “Probably 99.999 percent of users won’t need that. They’re learning from past designs, examining warranty failures and how to create design improvements to improve reliability.”

And, if you need something repaired, he said that Apple’s also made the phone more modular — meaning that it’s easier for professionals to take the phone apart and swap out the necessary parts.

The first iPhone, Wiens said, required technicians to essentially break the phone to replace the battery or screen. On the iPhone 3G, it was easy to replace the glass and screen, but almost impossible to get to the battery; the iPhone 4 was just the opposite.

But even with the iPhone 5’s advanced screen, he said, it is much easier to get at either commonly replaced part.

“It’s finally easy to remove the battery and get to the screen,” Wiens said. “That will make repairs easier and quicker.

Wiens, also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said that he would like to see Apple ditch the custom screws on the outside of the case to standard screws to make the phone even easier to repair.

Repairs aside, Wiens said he’s also impressed with the A6 chip in the phone, which he said “pushes the envelope, technologically” and the work that Apple put into bumping up the phone’s specs without losing battery life.

“The primary thing that all these new components give you is power efficiency,” Wiens said. “They packed a lot more performance [into the phone]. Doing that and being able to keep the power the same is really, really hard.”

Related stories:

Fix the iPhone 5 WiFi bug

Apple’s iPhone 5: Five observations

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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