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For going on two years now, rumors of Apple's next iPhone – supposedly the iPhone 5 – have been flowing steadily in.

Last year, the rumors alleged that along with a larger display, there would be a radical redesign in the iPhone 5, that it would more closely favor the design of the most recent iPod Touch models and it would have a significantly slimmer, teardrop profile. We had ample "proof" that it was coming in September of last year and that the redesign was happening. A handful of case manufacturers posted renders of their upcoming cases for "the iPhone 5" and there was a mountain of rumors coinciding with one another that made most everyone believe it was definitely happening.

When it didn't, however, the overflow of rumors carried on into the 2012 iPhone and what it would entail. Since the last model wasn't graced with a larger display, this one must get one, right?

While rumors are still piling up pretty quickly, there has been a noticeable change in pace with iPhone rumors this year. Compared to last year, the rumors and leaks seem more … tame. People aren't begging for a complete redesign, which, in hindsight, did seem a bit far-fetched for the iPhone 4S considering the sheer amount of time and labor spent on the iPhone 4 design. But people still expect a larger display this time around, and now that a plethora of suspected part leaks insist the design will stay the same, rumors of a redesign have all but come to a stop.

The vast number of "leaked parts" and the fact that they all fit together like a puzzle to very nearly make an entire phone is pretty damning evidence for those who still have a sliver of hope for a radically redesigned iPhone. If all of this was one big, elaborate hoax, the amount of work and cash flow required would be rather extensive. It would run the bill into the tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars. And for what? A few laughs?

A Forbes story from yesterday evening, however, is a very real reminder that every last bit of this alleged taller iPhone 5 could be the work of a very dedicated (and wealthy) prankster. Remember the asymmetrical screw that made the rounds last week? You know, the one that didn't at all look practical and put Apple in negative light for any and all iDevice repair services? After letting the rumor run rampant and spread to the four corners of the Web, the Swedish designer, Lukasz Lindell, came forward and admitted that the screw was part of an experiment on the spread of "disinformation", specifically in the tech blogosphere that closely follows Apple news. Lukasz told Forbes:

"We rendered the image, put it in an email, sent it to ourselves, took a picture of the screen with the mail and anonymously uploaded the image to the forum Reddit with the text 'A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws'.

Then we waited …"

When I stumbled upon this story yesterday evening, it wasn't all that surprising to me. The "asymmetrical screw" didn't seem all that realistic when I first saw the story run last Wednesday and I brushed it off. But it just goes to show how utterly easy it is for someone to falsify something and run it as a rumor … just for kicks.

Everyone is so set and determined to be the first to uncover what the next iPhone will entail that they seem to throw caution and logic to the wind and believe (almost) anything thrown their way. I, for one, have a hard time believing any of these leaked parts are real. Yesterday, on my personal Twitter account, I tweeted some speculation on this issue.

"Think about it … since when has upcoming Apple info and hardware been so easy to nab?"

Never. And I'm not willing to believe that Apple security has fallen to the wayside after the passing of Steve Jobs. Apple is known for its Fort Knox-like security. And I have a terribly hard time believing that the blueprints and almost every single part are easily obtainable to a handful of people on the Internet.

Not to mention, do you remember the great lengths Apple went to in order to get the lost iPhone 4 prototype back? Why would they simply let other leaks slide if they weren't controlled or completely off track?

It just doesn't add up … at all. That said, I don't believe any particular person has fronted the money to prank the entire online tech industry. But there is one company that comes to mind when I think of how far they might go to keep their upcoming hardware under wraps.

I am still convinced that this could be a distraction created by Apple, an old iPhone prototype they decided not to run with. Think about how many early prototypes they discarded before finally deciding on the original iPhone. Why should we be so naive to believe they didn't simply spend a fraction of a percentage of their enormous cash flow to keep their iPhone secret and build hype for just a little while longer? I'm more prone to believe Apple is throwing us off their scent over growing soft.

With all of that said, there is still hope for a redesigned iPhone. And this is where I'm placing my bet. I may end up being wrong. And I'm okay with that. I've been wrong before and I'm certain I'll be wrong many more times before I throw in the towel. But I would rather be wrong in hoping for something disruptive, innovative and … new over believing some sketchy leaks that don't make any sense just because they seem believable and somewhat conservative.

What say you, folks?

Image via 9to5 Mac


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